Sunday, 24 November 2013

Alcohol, a Spa Day and My Dodgy Knee

Hi guys,

So recently I have been having a very strange reaction to alcohol. I don't drink often and when I do I tend to have a glass or two and leave it there. Every now and again I will go out with the girls, really let my hair down and enjoy more than a few but I can equally go months without any alcohol at all.
Since having Margaret I have had a very weird reaction after drinking. It doesn't happen every time and has happened after drinking a variety of drinks (white wine, cider & malibu). About half an hour after drinking my face flushes bright red and becomes very hot, my cheeks feel almost puffy and tight, like they are swollen. To look at me I just look very red but it also makes me feel a bit weird and almost agitated. Like I said, it's not every time and the reaction goes down over the course of a few hours but it is very strange indeed. My medication has not changed and I am not drinking anything new. The only difference is Maragret. I have had various suggestions over Twitter from fellow Crohnies/Ostomates, with many others experiencing different or odd reactions. Some suggest it may be down to dehydration.; this would make sense due to my dehydration since Margie.
If anyone out there has any ideas I would really appreciate it. Having a reaction not only makes me feel a bit wobbly and concerned but is not at all attractive!

Me, three hours after initial reaction. 

This week has been pretty tough, for lots of reasons.
I have however been very busy. I decided to stop my childminding work; it was five days a week for around five hours a day & I could no longer keep on top of it all as well as Uni. It's a shame, but I really do need to concentrate on my degree - that's the most important thing right now.
I have a deadline coming up in the next week or so, so Uni work is keeping me extremely busy. I have been driving in quite a lot in the past week for tutorials and for full use of the library. I think I am on top of everything... for now at least.
I have been seeing a lot of my friends recently including seeing The Hunger Games: Catching fire - which was amazing! I am in fact, going back to see it again, I loved it that much.

As I said my life is very stressful at the moment and my wonderful Dad booked me and Mum a spa day to try and ease away all the stresses and worries. When I was very poorly, Mum and I spoke about all the nice things we would do once I was better and a spa day was our main idea. Since Margie I have been incredibly busy and we haven't had a chance to book it until now. I woke up bright and early Saturday and headed to an amazing 4* Spa only 10 minutes down the road. I have been various times before and have always had an amazing time. When we arrived we had to fill out a lengthy health questionnaire; of course it took me a horribly long time to fill it out, writting down surgeries, medication, allergies and health conditions.
We lounged around for a few hours, round the pool, in the sauna and in the jacuzzi. It felt amazing to just relax and not have to think. It was so restful I can't tell you! I even got in a few lengths, which I really enjoyed. We had a welcome fruit smoothie and I had a cheeky bacon sarnie whilst we sat round the pool. At 12:30 Mum and I headed upstairs for our treatments; Mum had opted for a facial whilst I had a neck, back and shoulder massage. It was absolutely amazing. I could have easily fallen asleep as I lead down on this warm bed, with the most relaxing music playing. According to the beauty therapist my shoulders were very tight, something I am not surprised about. Our treatments were followed by a delicious, healthy lunch of Moroccan couscous, mixed pepper frittata, rocket salad and fruit tart. I had the loveliest time with Mum and it really broke up a challenging and stressful week.

Swimming some lengths has inspired me to join a leisure centre and start swimming more regularly. I am keen to join a gym and exercise properly but unfortunately the dreaded knee is playing up. Now as any old readers will know I have had an awful time with my poor, arthritic knee. In the past two weeks or so it has been playing up once again. Although there is no obvious swelling, my knee is still really quite sore and a bit stiff. I am keeping an eye on it and applying anti inflammatory cream as much as I can. I am hoping this isn't a sign of things to come or that it is going to be a recurrent issue. But I guess, we will just have to see.

Lots of love

Friday, 15 November 2013

Asthma and an Amazing Hero

Hi guys,

So I have had a right week of it.
Monday started with me completely sleeping through my alarm and missing my long awaited asthma clinic appointment. I woke up at Matt's at 6:30 as he was heading off to work bright and early; unfortunately his new house only came with one set of keys which means that I have to leave when he does so it can be locked up safely. I got home two hours before my appointment was due to decided to shut my eyes for a bit, of course I set my alarm just incase. Next thing I know I sleepily open my eyes and it's 10:30... I managed to miss my appointment by a solid hour and half and slept through 3 minutes of my alarm (Lion King's - Circle of Life). I felt so bad for messing around the poor nurse but I was also livid with myself. I had waited for that appointment for two weeks and my asthma has gradually been getting a lot worse.
I know that asthma needs to be controlled and mine definitely isn't. I rang the Dr's and they were strangely not bothered at all! Thankfully she managed to slot me back in for an appointment this morning. Which, by some miracle I did not miss! Unfortunately she confirmed that my asthma has indeed worsened and the medication I am on now, of one blue inhaler when needed, is no longer working. I was sent away with a brown, steroid inhaler to use every day. This is so strange, I was first told I had asthma when I was 8 but was told it was only bought on my my allergies and therefore not really 'proper asthma' and more 'asthmatic episodes'. Now, 14 years later it's suddenly gotten worse. It is still hugely triggered by my allergies; Matt recently worked one day a week helping at a stables which caused me great problems thanks to my horse allergy. However, now if I laugh too hard or go from warm air to cold air, my chest feels tight and I start to wheeze. Not great! So now I have two lovely inhalers to use, and one of them has to be every day.

I also had a very unsuccessful visit to my stoma nurse on Tuesday. Again I was up and out of the house at 7am, drove 40 minutes to the hospital, found parking (which is always a nightmare) & made my way to Outpatients 2, across the hospital. After 10 minutes of waiting I poked my head in to the office only to see that there was a decorator in there. I did start to wonder what on earth was going on! It turned out that nobody seemed to have any record of my appointment, but someone would come down to see me anyway. 20 minutes later nobody showed and I decided to leave, I let the receptionist know and headed off to Uni. It turns out that I was supposed to go to another hospital to see my normal stoma nurse. I think it was a huge mis communication as I thought I was seeing a different stoma nurse at a different hospital... Nobodies fault but very interesting and a complete waste of my time.

This week I have also had my flu jab. I am high on the list of people who need them due to this chronic disease, imuno-suppressents and asthma. I have had the flu before and it definitely isn't nice so hopefully this will help me avoid it!

This week my Mum showed me an amazing article in The Sunday Times Magazine. The front cover showed this extremely brave soldier, who is a triple amputee with a stoma bag. I think this man is incredible, he is just 20 and amazingly courageous. Recently I have been having a bit of a tough time, I feel really stressed and overwhelmed with a lot of things in my life. I have realised that I have lost a lot of my confidence and self esteem that I used to have. I hate that I am anxious and worry so much, and wish I could snap out of it. This isn't because of Margaret but I do think a lot of it comes down to how ill I was and for so long. I have been dwelling in all my problems rather than pulling myself together and proactively doing something about them. This image really hit home, and put everything in to perspective.

Lots of love

Sunday, 10 November 2013


Differences I have noticed since having Margaret:
(I dont know if these are related to having Margie or just coincidental)

1/ Indigestion
If I eat too fast I get awful indigestion, the kind that makes you feel sick and like you can't breathe, all at the same time.

2/ Hunger
Now when I get hungry I don't just feel peckish or get grumpy like usual. I actually feel quite poorly, it's like I always need food in me, I guess because it's leaving my body a lot faster than normal. It probably has something to do with my blood sugar or sodium levels, or maybe dehydration. One thing I do know is I do need to eat otherwise I feel poorly, weak and sick.

3/ Cold
I now seem to feel the cold a hell of a lot more than I did before, again this may have nothing to do with the surgery. However, I have read that if you do not have enough fluids then you feel the cold a lot more & one thing that comes with having a stoma is easily becoming dehydrated. This isn't helped by the fact that I am AWFUL at staying on top of my fluid intake.

4/ Lactose Intolerance
Now this is a big bonus! Since old Margie my lactose intolerance has gotten a lot better. I now have to eat double the amount of dairy products before really feeling it. This is great news for my love of pizza and cheeseburgers!

Last week I was looking through some of my stuff whilst packing up all of Matts belongings. It was whilst doing this that I found my two year books from when I was 16 and 18. I loved finding the photo of Matt before we really knew each other and a good two years before we became a couple!

Look how young we look! It's scary that that was 6 years ago, and weird that when these photos were taken we didn't know that we'd end up together...

My weekend was spent moving Matt in to his new home. Part of me was excited and part of me was dreading it. I unfortunately haven't gone with him, being a full time commuting student means I don't have the money to afford to move out. Matt has been living at my home with my parents and brother for about 11 months, and I have loved having him around every night. Although him moving out has it's major plus points I will miss him a lot. I know it sounds ridiculous, as he is only going to be 15 minutes away but with his crazy work schedule I won't be able to see him every day, which I am gutted about. For two years he lived an hour away so I am used to not seeing him all the time but I definitely don't like it....

The moving in weekend went really well and Matt's home is looking so good, I really love it. I did spend much of the time lifting and carrying things up hill but in the end it was worth it. Matts mum and I even managed to assemble a bed side table, even if it did shamefully take us an hour and 15 minutes... Saturday night I made the first meal in the house, sausages, home made wedges and beans, we had to eat on the stairs as not all his furniture had arrived yet! Sunday was spent having a dog walk, yummy breakfast and pub drink and a roast, so all in all a pretty good weekend.
It was slightly shadowed by my absolutely stinking cold which I have yet to shake off. It started with a completely bunged up nose and head ache and has developed in to a down right annoying cough. My body aches and I feel exhausted, this was not helped by a killer 11 hours looking after two children under 6.

My asthma is also something which is getting a lot worse, and something I find a bit scary and am not used to. The first time I had any form of asthma was when I was about 8 and decided it would be a good idea to cuddle 5 kittens knowing I was severely allergic to cats. I ended up being given my blue inhaler for the first time. Since then I have been lucky and have only had to use it a handful of times, until now! Over the past few months my asthma has gotten worse and worse, and now I'm having to use my inhaler at least 4 times a week. I know compared to some people this is nothing but for me it's quite a lot. I hate the feeling of my chest getting tight and coughing a lot, especially in the evenings. I am heading to an asthma clinic next week to hopefully sort out the the problem and maybe get some stronger meds! Heres hoping any ways!

I will leave you with a beautiful photo taken whilst on a dog walk!

Lots of love

Friday, 1 November 2013

My Talented Brother and Some Bread

Hi Guys!

So in the past few days I have been a pretty busy bee!
I took two children I look after to their halloween party, I didn't know anyone and felt a bit awkward sat in the corner on a tiny childs' chair. The room was full of mums who knew each other and so many children dressed in costumes ranging from adorable chubby baby pumpkins to the incredible hulk. The afternoon was made a lot better when a kind lady handed me a hot dog and a cupcake, which I swiftly tucked in to.

I have also had a uni presentation and group critique! For as long as I can remember I have hated public speaking or being the centre of attention in any situation. Part of my uni course has required me to stand up in front of various group sizes and present an idea or my work many many times. I am quite proud to say that although I don't enjoy it, it no longer reduces me to tears! I am especially at ease when I have to talk about my own work, I guess you can't really go wrong when it's all about things you've done and there are no tricky questions afterwards! Anyway the crit went all and strangely now that I have Margaret I am a lot more confident something I have noticed this in so many situations.

Even though I am less than two months in to my third year I already feel bad whenever I am not doing Uni work. It does help that a huge part of my final major project is based around my family and local area, this means I can tap in to them for ideas and inspiration. Recently I got my family members to draw out our old route to school, I found it really interesting how different people draw the same route! My brother, Sean, who is away in Cardiff at Uni studying animation put together such a nice route!

His work is amazing and he is constantly adding new work to his blog! Please do check it all out, I have a very talented brother!


My baking bug has also continued, today I made a crown loaf, a favourite of my brother and boyfriend! We are going to it eat with a Spanish-esq rice and chicken dish, which is so good!

After some great advice from a fellow stoma owner I am now going to be changing Margaret every day if I can and definitely every two days, in attempt to stop these awful night time leaks!
I was also pretty livid this morning, I received a letter letting me know that for the fourth time my appointment with my surgeon has been re arranged. It is so so annoying! Every time it happens I have to book more time off of work/Uni. I haven't seen my surgeon since a few days after the op, which I have to say I do find a little bit worrying. I was supposed to see him 2 and half months after surgery and 5 months on I have yet to see him. I know I have seen stoma nurses and my consultant but I do find it a bit concerning that he has yet to make sure all is okay. If I were to get Margaret reversed it would probably be next Summer, and I have a feeling that'll be the next time I see mr surgeon...

Lots of love!