I’ve had my stoma for over two years now and this is a timeline from the moment I came round from the operation, to today! Here are a few milestone moments from my recovery.
My recovery will be lifelong. I’m always learning new things about my body and how to manage my stoma. It never stops when you live it everyday.
3rd January 2018
I started recovery in intensive care. It’s normal to be under close surveillance post op. I spent 2 days in the ICU.
5th January 2018
Back on the ward, my physiotherapist got me walking for the first time. This was actually the first time in 3 months I’d walked unassisted. My anaemia was so bad and my body so weak, I walked further three days after an operation that I did with my colon.
8th January 2018
I finally went home after two weeks in hospital!
15th January 2018
I had been at home for a week and was starting to find my feet. I saw my stoma nurse for the first time out of hospital. For the first time in almost two years I had a full eight hours sleep, was eating more than toast and tea and even though the simplest things were a struggle, I wasn’t in constant pain anymore.
2nd February 2018
I started to introduce food with colour and taste! For the first month my diet was beige. This gives your new body and new plumbing a chance to digest easy foods. I started introducing fruit and veg around 1 month after the operation.
I started with soft fruit like bananas and very well cooked carrots.
2nd March 2018
I started going on walks. To build up strength I started by walking to the end of my road. As I got stronger, I started to introduce exercises provided by the stoma nurses.
29th March 2018
I did my first ever photoshoot for stoma awareness! I jumped on a train to Southampton for a photoshoot in aid of stoma awareness. This was my first trip and night away from home. I felt confident enough to leave the house and stay somewhere other than home.
28th April 2018
I danced the night away in aid of Crohn’s and Colitis UK. AND this was the day I took my last ever steroid. The doctors couldn’t stop my medication pre-op in fear of what it would do to me, so I was on IV steroids while in hospital. I was weaning myself off them for 4 months post op.
You can still see my moon-like face below.
I was having some struggles with sore peristomal skin and took a step backwards. I wasn’t cutting my bag properly and this ended up with waste eroding the skin under my stoma.
This threw me because everything had been so positive up until this point. It reminded me, the surgery was HUGE!
I gave myself some time to repair the skin with help from my nurse and after two weeks of close monitoring, I was fine.
I went on my first holiday! I went on holiday to Ibiza and spent a week partying. It was so much fun and my bag didn’t get in the way at all.
I went back to university
I started dating! I found and (have now) fallen in love with someone who has only known me with my bag!
I marched for International Women’s Day 2019
I was interviewed by ITV News for stoma awareness!
I was featured on the front of a magazine!
I graduated from university!
I got my bag out on a public beach for the first time!
I started my career and joined the commuting world.
I had a little bump in the road. Just as I started work, I noticed I was out of breath really easily and always tired. At the time, I put it down to starting work but it turns out I had an iron deficiency.
I had 5 iron infusions in the space of 4 months; as well as a gastroscopy and flexi-sigmoidoscopy of my remaining bowel.
I was invited to speak at the annual Ladies Lunch for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. Im here with speaker MP Daisy Cooper and Annie Swanston – organiser of the event.
I modelled for Boots Health and Beauty Magazine!