J-Pouch Recovery

Who would of thought that at 27 years old I would be potty training again? It’s been almost 3 weeks since my surgery and although I would say it’s going probably better than I expected, potty training is hard. Kudos to my toddlers cause you guys are all-stars.

The first thing I needed to tackle was my sleep. Reminded of how sleeping was when I was sick, I was getting up between 8-10 times a night. One night between 12:00 and 7:00am (because your number can reset at midnight), I was up 9 times. And like I’ve mentioned before, how can you possibly prepare yourself to have a good, positive day, waking up with a number like 9? This immediately set the tone for the day. I was exhausted, my ass was burning, my incision was aching and I felt like I was spending my days, recovering from my nights.

Luckily I’ve had quite a few visitors who’ve brought me food, kept me company and encouraged me to leave the little bubble that is my house, and see the world. My days go by quickly when there are visitors and they’ve done an excellent job keeping me occupied. I haven’t quite gone stir crazy yet.

Eventually I started taking Imodium right before bed, to which I ended up only having to get up between 2-3 times. By morning I felt refreshed, and rested. For the first time I felt like my body had a break, and I was on a mend.

Careful not to become dependent on Imodium, I ensure that I don’t take it during the day. During the day is when I continue my “training.” I work on holding it and building up my tolerance to the urgency. And very gradually, I have noticed my frequency come down.

Only within the last few days have I noticed that my abdominal muscles don’t seem to hurt so much. Right under my incision is where my stomach would ache, especially during every bowel movement and when it felt like I was straining. But now I feel them healing and becoming stronger. There was one particular incident with a friend and my sister where we were laughing and laughing that I could feel the pain aching, but couldn’t stop myself. And the next time I went to the bathroom it somehow didn’t hurt so much. It must be true that laughter is the best medicine.

I get a lot of questions about my diet and the truth is that I haven’t quite mastered it yet. I was told to stick to low fiber foods for now, and if I have a lot of diarrhea eat those starchy foods like rice and potatoes (or marshmallows). I take a liquid vitamin in order to ensure I’m still getting those nutrients, and again only within the last few days have started to eat raw fruits and vegetables again. Given my known sensitivity to wheat, dairy and eggs I find I’m in a constant battle trying to balance what I can eat and what is really upsetting, with also what’s good for recovery, what’s good for a J-Pouch and what’s good for a normal healthy diet. It’s all still very confusing and I’m still working on it, so don’t look to me for expertise quite yet.

In the mean time I went back to the gym for the first time today. I started my HR course again last week. I’m drinking an excessive amount of water. I managed to go downtown twice over the past weekend (which is a story in itself in terms of accessibility, stay tuned) and even had a sleepover. I plan on continuing to rest, write, work and most importantly laugh

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Growth

First of all: Look. At. My. Hair!

It’s taken a whole year to grow out this fro and I treat every strand like a piece of hard earned property.

(See:  Losing My Hair )

As devastating as it was to loose it all, how many women get the opportunity to regrow their hair? To let those dead, fried and dyed hairs go and welcome healthy, thick and curly new ones? Not many. So I treat them as kindly as possible with minimal heat, product and strain. And they’re coming back with a vengeance full of volume, curl and life.

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Authenticity: The Nitty-gritty

I’ve noticed recently that one of the blogs I follow has really turned into a series of various product endorsements. And although I can appreciate the effort in earning some money from a blog, I have lost respect for this writer, as quickly as she has lost her authenticity. I know this person personally and believe she has real, interesting content. Yet through the excessive advertisements it’s become very unclear what her intention is with this outlet.

Which lead me to reflect on my own writing. I believe I’ve stayed true to my goal in providing a glimpse into what life looks like with an ostomy. But I wonder if I’ve been as raw and authentic as possible. Have I slightly glamourized being an ostomate though positivity and pretty pictures? Or have I reflected too much on emotions rather than focusing on the logistics? In an attempt to give a full perspective I’ve been inspired to write a post about the nitty-gritty. The dirty details. The TMI. The borderline “I didn’t need to know that…” So here ya go.

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Watch Me

I often write in practice of reflection from my past events. I examine my circumstances and try to analyze and decipher what the universe has thrown my way, and how it has shaped me. And I often get caught in this rut of how robbed I feel of the past two years. Of how my goals and ambition were stripped from me as I was forced to take a step back and solely focus on my health.

But as my next (and hopefully final) surgery draws closer, I feel excited! I feel that motivation creeping back into my life and that drive to make and meet goals is lingering inside of me. And not just goals, but celebrations, new beginnings and health all persistent in that light at the end of the tunnel. Career, independence, travel, education. It’s near.

I feel like the universe has kicked me down so many times and somehow I’ve gotten up thus far. And I’m about to kick its ass. Oh you’re going to give me infection, after surgery, after malnutrition, after blood loss, after inflammation? Oh you’re going to take my hair, my energy, my school, my confidence, my COLON? Well I’m coming back. Watch me.

#2017 (LOL)

The Cost of Having an Ostomy

(I wrote this post a few months ago and forgot to share. But here it is anyways): 

What many people don’t realize is that having an ostomy is financially expensive. Since my benefit package was too overwhelming to look at I’ve spent months paying out of pocket only for my Mom to tell me that a portion of my products are covered. But until I submit a claim, I don’t know exactly how much will be taken care of. In the mean time, my bank account dwindles and my decision to have a J-Pouch is reconfirmed with every swipe of the debit card.

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#Summer 2016

I wish I could say that this was without a doubt the best summer ever. I’m feeling better, no longer ridden with having to know where every washroom is, normal face, energetic.

Yet this summer I think takes the cake as one of my worst. My anxiety monster has taken over most of my days, and with a looming second surgery around the corner, I found myself more often than not, staying home. Hiding in my room. I look back and think….what did I really do this summer? (And please don’t discount my love for celebrating all the weddings and marriages and engagements of my best friends, because that really was unforgettable) But what did I do for me?

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My HATE for Social Media: And Why I Still Use It

I’m afraid this blog has the potential to come across as an outlet for self-pity. And I really don’t want to come across as a martyr. That’s not what I’m trying to do. Social media is filled with the happiest moments of people’s lives, which is great. But I’m trying to show the other side of things. I’m trying to share the real side of life. Initially I though this might be a good medium to advocate for IBD patients. But I’ve come to learn that it really is about advocating for everyone. We ALL come with a story of pain, or struggle or heartache. And I want to share mine in an attempt to be genuine and sincere.

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A Pouch and a Pooch: Life with Finley

Finley is 1!

On September 23rd 2015 I had the best surprise of my life. In an effort to help with my upcoming recovery, and as a present for my 26th birthday, my family surprised me with a little fluffly marshmallow only 9 weeks old. In probably one of the happiest moments of my life, this little button was handed over to me and she would be by my side for what has arguably been the second most difficult year I’ve ever experienced.

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My New Monster

Every time I begin to write this post, I close the laptop, and with a churning stomach I promise to tackle it later. I find therapy and comfort in writing and articulating my emotions yet for some reason this post, this particular post, I haven’t been able to bring myself to. I don’t know how to articulate what this new monster is, because I have yet to understand it. I have yet to get a hold on it and fully grasp it. Although my ulcerative colitis slipped through my hands, I always felt I had an understanding of what was going on. But this new little pest does not live in my gut. It lives in my head and my hands can’t reach it.

But I’m going to try and lay out a road map of what’s going on. Because, like IBD, I know others struggle with this monster too. I’m going to try and put it into words for my own comfort because every post I write brings some sort of relief in the form of connectivity between myself and readers. And if anyone has some sort of relatable tale, I welcome it with open arms. I warn you though, I have no guidelines for this post and I’m letting my fingers lead the way. I don’t know where it’s going to go so I can’t promise my best work, but I can promise you honesty and hopefully some sort of positivity in a dark cloudy mind.

Anxiety. My new monster.

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My Gutsy Dad

Being a Gutsy Dad brings parenting to a whole new level. How a Dad can possible relate to a 26 year old daughter who shits her pants every day is way beyond me. But somehow I got lucky enough to have the most understanding, empathetic and caring Dad who teaches me grace and shows pride in me everyday. He puts up with way more than an average stay at home child and deserves a medal for showing complete understanding.

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