I missed my stomaversary last month. For those not of the ostomy world, that basically means the anniversary of my stoma surgery. I have always been rubbish at remembering dates, so I only realised in the evening on October 17th because Facebook reminded me. I never celebrated a stomaversary with my last 2 either, so why change the habit of a lifetime?!
I’ve been busy with work and life, which in itself is a major improvement because 13 months ago I was just working and sleeping. Cooking had ceased, and I only showered when it was strictly necessary. I was flaring and exhausted, and I had lost my will to fight after many years of constant poor health.
This is the reason I thought it was worth writing a little celebratory post. I have had a great year, and it passed so quickly! To put this into perspective, I took a picture of my fridge magnet collection, from 2013 – 2019. I separated this last year to give a visual representation.
I often said it felt like someone had pressed pause on my life, and I can wholeheartedly say that I feel like it was un-paused a couple of months after surgery. I have done things in the last ten months that I haven’t been able to do for years! I have been to a spa, swimming, a theme park, the zoo, and to Extreme Scream (never repeating that). Plus, I climbed 199 steps to Whitby Abbey!
I also got back to doing what I love; being online and supporting people with IBD and/or a stoma via social media and the #IBDSuperHeroes Facebook group. That led to opportunities I couldn’t even imagine! I was recruited by merakoi as an IBD Patient Expert, which has been super exciting and has meant I have been able to represent the patient voice to Healthcare and Pharmaceutical companies. I also started writing for InflammatoryBowelDisease.net! Plus, I am still enjoying my Trustee role at Cure Crohn’s Colitis, providing digital marketing and comms support.
It’s been a great year, so I am feeling positive about what the future has in store! As for my stoma, I genuinely feel like this “normal” is how it should be. It’s what works for me and it allows me to keep my life UN-paused. Yes, I am still taking medication on a daily basis and dehydration is a constant battle, but when I look at my life before, it’s a small price to pay.
So, happy belated stomaversary to me!