Nicola B and the TWO Big C’s

Cancer & Me, Colosto-ME, Journey Back to Health

photo copyObviously the first one is Cancer.  But I have another big C, in a lot of ways it is a bigger C, certainly to me, so big that I often don’t really speak about it.  The other big C is my Colostomy.

For those who don’t know, a Colostomy is when you have part of your large intestine removed and what’s left diverted through the abdomen wall.  There are occasions when the procedure can be reversed but not in my case.  Truth be told, I struggled with finding out I needed a colostomy more than finding out I had cancer – cancer I could deal with, this I couldn’t.  I thought it was the absolute worst thing that could happen to me and I went into a very strange denial, praying it wouldn’t happen right until I woke up from my surgery.

I actually said if I didn’t have kids I would prefer to die than have a Colostomy.

I have never hidden the fact I have a colostomy but I’m not overly vocal about it either.  Why?  Embarrassment essentially.  It still has a terrible stigma and I was beset with fears about the things I wouldn’t be able to do and what people would think when they found out. My worst fear bring that people would think that it/I was minging. A fear that derived completely from my own thoughts and perceptions about it what living with a colostomy meant.

There are over 175,000 Ostomates in the UK

Why talk now? Once again I had a fantastic opportunity this week.  I was contacted by a wonderful woman, Thalia Skye, who works with Coloplast (the company that creates & manufactures my ostomy wear) about working with them to remove some of the stigma by talking about it and and letting people see that I live a completely normal life, that is undefined by the fact I am an ostomate.  Done through blogging, tweeting, vlogging – basically everything I love doing, and talking more openly about things people don’t talk about.  Anyone who has read any posts on my blog will know this is completely up my street.  I couldn’t have replied quicker saying yes, yes, yes!

photoSo last Friday at the crack of dawn I headed up to Coloplast UK HQ in Peterborough.  They were just the nicest people working in a way that can directly benefit thousands of ostomates lives.  Although they are a manufacturer they are researching and finding ways to make life for ostomates easier, more comfortable and less of an issue so they can just get on with living.  They truly have a passion for what they do and I loved the thought if working with a company who is continuing to develop easier ways for people like me to live.

I meet wonderful ostomates and it was so nice to meet such inspirational people going through the same yet also unique experience.  The tales that bought people to having an ostomy were as heartbreaking as they were poignant.

The bigger picture of why one has an ostomy can get forgotten.  In my case, it means that I no longer have cancer.  In other people’s cases, they no longer have a life-threatening and debilitating illness.  One person told me how her surgeon told her ‘either you have a bag or end up in a bag’.  Although this wasn’t delicately put, it serves well to remind us that it is what someone is facing going into ostomy surgery.  Without this operation, they will die.  Yet to some (myself included) having it is still unbearable. As I said before, I thought if I didn’t have kids I wouldn’t go through with the operation (I will always laugh thinking of my sister saying, what about me, aren’t I worth living for!)

The thought of having an ostomy is immeasurably worse than the reality  

I never thought I would get used to it, yet only a few months after surgery I was telling someone who needed a colostomy that it was nothing to be afraid of and I was managing OK.  I was shocked as the words came out of my mouth, I couldn’t believe I was saying it and that was when I realised – it was true!  I could, and was, doing this.  Do I wish I didn’t have it?  Of course.  But on the whole is it perfectly manageable and there is nothing that I did before that I can’t dophoto copy 3 now.  And that is what this campaign is all about.  Letting everyone know that life stays the same, your alive (yay)!!, more comfortable than before and to remove the stigma.  The dream is one day soon an ostomy is considered as normal and inconsequential as glasses or a hearing aid.  I recon we can do it!

As soon as I have more information about the website I will of course let you know but until then keep talking, listening and caring for everyone going though anything.

A little more compassion can never go amiss.

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 21 – What Do You Want?

Goals, Health & Beauty, Health and Beauty Tips, Life Coaching

Stop thinking about what you don’t want and start thinking about what you do want….

Spring health & Beauty Tip 21 – What Do You Want?

So easy to focus on the bad and never the good.  The problem with that is that you waste all your energy on the wrong thing.  We also sometimes know that we don’t want what we have but we never truly think about what we do want or how we are going to make it happen.

So here are some questions to think about, try and answer them all and make the answers as detailed as humanly possible.  The clearer the vision is in your mind, the more chance you will have of making it happen….

  • What have you always wanted to do but been afraid to try?
  • What prevented you from trying?
  • What would you do if you couldn’t fail?
  • What would you do if money wasn’t a consideration?
  • What does the life you dream of look like?

Now you have identified what you want, think about where you are and where you want to be and map out all the steps between here and there.  Break it down into very small steps so everything is achievable.

I want to hear from you…

Health and Beauty Tips

As the end of May is fast approaching and I am nearly coming to the end of my Spring Health & Beauty Tips season I thought it would be fun to hear from you, my lovely readers.

What is your Top Health & Beauty Tip?

It can be anything from how you clean your make-up brushes to the product you couldn’t live without to a healthy recipe to your fool-proof way to get you out of a bad mood.

Whatever it is, I want to hear it.  You can comment here, on my Facebook page or Twitter.

My favourite ones will be featured on my blog over the next few days – either with your name, website etc… or anonymous, which ever you prefer.

Can’t wait to hear from you xx