I blogged recently about joining the gym and also swimming with an ileostomy bag and wanted to do a catch up post about the first week in my quest of #gettingstrong – the hash tag is what Im using for both instagram and twitter.
I just want to explain a little more about my reasons behind this lifestyle change. I laugh and joke about shedding the fat and getting skinny, but I have to admit my main reason is fear.
Im scared, man! After my surgery and during the first few weeks of my recovery I was shocked and so frightened by just how weak my body was. I *know* it’s normal to be wiped out ofter surgery and that was explained to me but the reality of it was extremely difficult. The total lack of control was the hardest, the inability to even walk to the toilet, the need for help in the shower and the extreme tiredness freaked me out. Im an independent woman and Ive always done everything for myself. I moved out of home at a young age, and then once married I spent 9 months of the year raising the kids alone as Timm’s job took him away from home so much.
So to suddenly have to entirely rely on other people was HARD. Timm stepped in and did so much, along with help from family and friends (for which Im so grateful) I didn’t need to raise a finger. The first weekend after I came out of hospital Timm had to work away for the weekend and so my mum and best friend Caroline came and looked after me, they cooked, cleaned, helped me shower, changed bedding and just cared for me.
The weeks of laying in bed were really difficult, as much as I knew it was necessary to allow my body to heal, meant that my muscles became even weaker. After the hardship of the ulcerative colitis, then the huge amounts of medication pushed into me and then the surgery itself, I have never felt so completely drained, weak and helpless. The steroids I had been taking for months had made me gain weight and made me feel like crap.
I know that whatever decision I take in the next year, whether I keep my ileostomy bag or have the take down pouch surgery, I will have to have at least one more surgery. The thought of this terrifies me, not so much the surgery itself (though that’s pretty scary too) but the recovery… The idea of being reduced back to a weak, out of control being is kind of heart breaking.
And so I have two options. I can spend the next year worrying, panicking and being upset at the thought or I can take control of the situation and do everything I can to ensure that going into that operating theatre I am as strong, healthy and fit as possible. I know that this won’t stop me needing to recover and that Ill still feel like shit after the op whatever I do, but if I can go in feeling strong, I have a better chance of an easier recovery.
This week I joined the gym, I have been swimming, been to the gym twice, once with a personal trainer, done an aqua fit class, a deep water fitness class and a Pilates session! My ileostomy bag held up for all of the activities and I have been careful and made sure Im not straining myself too much. All of this just 8 weeks after surgery!!
In my gym gear – can you see my bag?
This surgery saved my life, it has improved my quality of life vastly and meant I could come off the vast amount of medication I was taking before. In stopping the meds I already feel a million times better. I realised that I have been taking my body for granted for so long. Now Im missing my colon I need to use this time to start looking after myself.
And so that is what Im doing. I refuse to choose fear. I choose #gettingstrong
Love Sam xx