Bodybuilding competition with an Ostomy

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I woke up at 6:30am completely buzzing, shaking Conor to wake up whilst I was bouncing around the room full of excitement this was the day I had been working for.

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(Morning shape for the competition) 

My peak week was pretty tough, full of tears especially during my depleted workouts at the start of the week luckily Conor was there to push me through!

We didn’t do any crazy water loading during peak week, what was the point? I drank 4 litres of water a day anyway! Plus why fix something that isn’t broken? We aimed to get me stage ready 2/3 weeks out and then to just cruise… and that’s exactly what we did, no stress, no last minute ‘miracle methods’

To say I was feeling tired on peak week is an understatement, if I wasn’t training, eating or posing I was In my bed sleeping.

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(My competition number & my hair which was done by Nikki and her talented team)

But the morning of show I forgot all about the struggles of my prep and just focused on how much work I had put into it, I couldn’t of been any happier with the shape I brought to that stage. I do however have areas I want to improve. Like every bodybuilder there Is always room for improvement. So this offseason with the help of Conor I’ll be changing up my training to achieve theses improvements and I’m already excited to compare Septembers comp pictures to future comp pictures.

My diet on show day was pretty fun I started off with salmon and oat, but then as soon as I got to the venue all I ate was sweets, reeses peanut butter, muffins and cakes all this was for the fast acting sugar to boost my Glycogen levels and flood the muscles with blood, the pumps I were getting before stepping on stage were insane! (I did however get sugar sweats after the show……felt so sick lol) I remember stepping on stage for my Figure category and pulling a tricep pose and thinking my tricep was going to explode!

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(Pumping up before hitting the stage)

On the subject of stepping on stage, I really cannot describe the feeling It was just pure adrenaline all the bright lights, the music the crowd… it truly was a breathtaking experience I couldn’t stop smiling at the judges and the crowd, I’m normally a very nervous person but during the whole day leading up to my stage time I was so calm it wasn’t possible to be any calmer….. and I didn’t even drink any alcohol which some competitors do to calm their nerves.
I may have only had 3 supporters in the crowd, by my god they were the loudest there… especially Conor! My biggest fan.

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(me and my Mum)

And the ostomy fears & anxiety leading up to the comp well… what even were they!? I totally forgot I even had one on that stage! I even had someone come up to me after my figure routine and ask If I was even wearing it on stage (If I wasn’t can you just image it haha) she didn’t even notice! That comment made me feel on top of the world. I think that’s what made me so emotional (yes I cried like a baby) when my name was called out for 1st place both times, all of my emotion’s I battled leading up to the competition just faded away. Not only did I have to step on stage with a tiny bikini on, but I had to go on with my ostomy in front of 100’s of people, something I never thought would happen after having such a life changing surgery.
I remember having a panic attack a couple days post surgery about what life would hold for me in the future, feeling sorry for myself for weeks before finally kicking my self up the ass and just taking back control.
And even though I’m unable to make the World Championships due to my recent surgery (another blog to follow) I’m still so proud of myself. I didn’t just win 1st place trophies I won the battles I had going on inside my head.

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The Importances of a support belt & weight belt whilst training with a stoma!

🔝( A Photo before surgery ! )

Before my surgery I always wore a weightlifting belt on heavy lifts, but now its even more vital that I wear one, even for a weight I never normally ‘use’ to not wear one for. Due to the major surgery that is involved with removing the bowel your abdominal muscles take a beating, they pull your small intestine through your stomach muscles to the surface of your skin! So no matter how much core work you do… there will always be weakness around the stoma!

If you strain to much during anysort of exercise it could cause a hernia, which Is not an ideal situation you want to find yourself in.

Now, I have a support belt I wear every single gym session, it gives me a firm support but isn’t too tight that its uncomfortable, it also hides my ileostomy very well 🙂
(here it is below)
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but for compound lifts such as deadlifts/bend over rows (see pic below)

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I wear a weightlifting belt which is very tight so I don’t advice wearing it for a long period of time with your stoma but whilst doing a set I find it perfect, all the strain is forced into the belt and my core Isn’t exerted.
As well as wearing a weightlifting belt before doing any sort of heavy compound movement I would advice you to practice your form and technique because this is where an injury could be caused.

Im 16 weeks post surgery so Im avoiding real heavy lifts, and Ill probably still stick to this, the risk of a hernia Is just to high and I wouldn’t want anymore set backs In my training.

Also! I quick update on my weight…. on the 22/01/15 I was 60.9kg I am now 63.6kg! And its not prednisone weight… feeling very healthy and happy 🙂

X

16 awkwardly funny things which will happen after Ileostomy surgery

1. It will take you FOR EVER to change your bag, I mean seriously I timed myself at 6 weeks post op… 18minutes… what was I even doing?

2. Aswell as adjusting to living with a bag you also have to give yourself time to heal.. so don’t try dancing to the latest hits… I know you feel well now your horrid colon is out… but trust me don’t do it.

3. Believing that if you put too much pressure on the bag it will pop… trust me, one of my biggest fears! Haha

4. Buying a whole new wardrobe and using ‘you have no bowel’ as an excuse to your parents, partner and yourself ! Now I’m skint..

5. I don’t know if its just me… or did anyone else find it fascinating watching your stoma poop… ? Tbh i still do this haha

6. You will name your Stoma, I have named my ‘Dory’ well.. I didn’t my step dad and mum did!! Now when Dory farts they can curse at her not me 😉

7. Talking of farts…. yes we do still kinda fart.. (obviously not out of our butts) and the 1st couple of weeks post op your stoma will give it some! its pretty funny, its the element of surprise I find amusing

8. People will ask awkward questions, its ok, they don’t have a clue… at one stage we didn’t either! Best explanation ‘i now poop in this bag’ keep it simple I say 😉

9. You will get some people who talk to your stomach… like im sure Dory loves the attention but mate… its 2015 these ileostomy bags are made to appear invisible under clothing.. please stop.

10. The family member who can’t seem to get gasp of the reason why you had the surgery even after explaining it 20 times … ‘my body was attacking my bowel…’ fuck it I give up, I have a bag deal with it ! I AM..

11. Trying to figure out what all the products are… like ‘washers’ this sounds to me like something you use to ‘wash’ your stoma with … NO its a moldable ring that looks like a doughnut!? Wtf…. MIND IS CONFUSED

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12. trying to bend over without squashing your stoma… just stop it and squash it, don’t give yourself Back ache… the stoma can deal with alot of shit… no pun intended.

13.  Everytime you seat down or stand up you end up feeling yourself up to check its still there… In public you will get some strange looks 😉

14. Poking around to check that your stoma hasn’t gone underneath the bag….

15. Spraying so much before and after emptying you’ve probably going to develop asthma …. my lungs smell like Impluse.

16. Becoming blocked and thinking… like seriously I had my colon removed because I couldn’t stop … now I can’t start … WHY just WHYYYY!

The start of my Bodybuilding journey with an ileostomy

So Im now just over 3 months post total colectomy.. So Ive decided to document my bodybuilding progress along the way! Not only to see myself become stronger but to also show others with Ileostomys that nothing is impossible after surgery. Whatever you put your mind too.. you can do it! 

My goal before surgery was to compete in weightlifting competitions as I mentioned in my last blog, Im not saying I couldn’t do it.. but I just wouldn’t want to take the risk to cause myself a hernia… So Ive decided now to do a bodybuilding competition in 2016! So theses videos will show my development, struggles and workouts along the way!

Im currently around 60-62kg (its always changing due to water intake etc) my aim is to gain atleast 3/4kg by May!

Im struggling to put back on the weight. Im not going to lie, its tough… I use to live on prednisolone which gave me an appetite of a horse… now Im meditation free Ive lost my appetite. Im finding myself forcing it in and just chewing…. not what Im use too!

Anyways heres  my first bodybuilding progress video!  Enjoy! ❤

 

12 weeks post surgery: Diet, bodybuliding & measurements

As I’ve mentioned In a previous blog my diet hasn’t changed much at all now that I’m living with a Stoma.

But I have had problems with certain foods already, sweetcorn actually hospitalized me for a day a few weeks after surgery... seriously becoming blocked with a Stoma is so painful.. I’ve also had issues with coconut water and recently kidney beans which both resulted in me vomiting a lot. I never normally have problems with kidney beans but I believe this time was because 1. they wasn’t cooked well enough and 2. I ate it way to fast… Now I have a Stoma their is no such thing as  a quick bite to eat, I have to make my portions smaller and chew like mad. (this took some getting use too!)

Because I bodybuild my diet is important, when I was suffering with colitis I wasn’t able to absorb the nutrients I needed… I mean everytime I ate I would have to use the toilet straight after sometimes even half way through so eating out was sometimes ALWAYS awkward. Someday’s I would go atleast 20 + times aday (mostly all it would be was clots of blood) and my god each time was painful as hell(sorry for the info haha)   So having a Stoma means I can now absorb everything I need! My output Is very slow with the help of Loperamide (Imodium) and makes my life so much easier. No more pain, no more nutritional deficiencies and no more worries!

As you can see In the picture below my food Is pretty basic, The top photo Is  a couple days food prep! and the bottom Is an amazing omelette I made the other day! As you can see….. I have red peppers with it ! I’ve not long introduced them back into my diet as I was worried about blockages etc but I can now say if they are fully cooked they are absolutely fine!

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I’ve only started taking measurements again! I did take Post op ones… but because I’ve recently moved I have seemed to have miss placed my measurements! But here are a couple I took last week (Sorry about my handwriting)

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I’m currently weighting only between 60-61.5 kg which Is a massive drop to my weight before my surgery, but I did expect this and that is why before my surgery I upped my calorie Intake and managed to go under the knife at 66kg! Its impressive that I gained weight as well as being In a massive flare..  My normal weight Is around 63/64kg so after a couple weeks of training and eating I should hit this goal!

Finally … I’ve recently received my gym support belt I ordered with the help from my Stoma nurses too, which really Isn’t great at all, so I had to visit them again and order another which hopefully Is  going to be alot better. Because of my figure the support belt rolled up at the back and made the support belt very uncomfortable. I need something which Is going to move with me as well as supporting me so I’m hoping this next one will do that! Once I have a proper suitable belt I can start doing exercises heavier (but only at a moderate level)

Training & future Goals

So after my first week of training my body Is officially broken! I’ve had the worst DOMS (muscle ache) ever! but you know what ? IT FEELS SO GOOD! 

I’ve really enjoyed it, and I can’t believe how well my body has bounced back! I’m feeling so healthy with it too. When I was recovering I found myself lifeless with a lack of energy I also found it hard to get up in the morning …. that was probably because I had nothing to wake up for! Now Im back in routine and going back to work very shortly too, I can now feel the real benefits of living with an ileostomy and as I said in my previous blog I’m in no rush to have the bag taken away yet!

One of my main worries with my Ileostomy was wearing my gym clothes, would it be visible? would people see it? But as you can see by the picture below, I’m now officially worry free… I wear a baggy top over my gym tops sometimes but as you can see in the bottom left photo the ileostomy Is no where to be seen!

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I’ve also been considering entering a ‘Transformation challenge’ which Is a competition run by ‘Bodypower’ which is the largest sport, fitness & nutrition exhibition In Birmingham which is  held on the 15th-17th of May! The challenge gives you a chance to tell them about yourself, your previous fitness background and your transformation challenge goals.

Now I’ve had surgery I will not be able to compete in weightlifting competitions which was a goal I was never able to complete and will never complete with an ileostomy due to the strain it would cause on my abdominal BUT… every cloud has a sliver lining and I’ve now been thinking about competing in bodybuilding competitions! luckily a very close friend of mine Laura is currently training/preparing for a competition which Is in September this year! I would be aiming to compete in 2016 as I still have alot of work to do!

But for me this competition wouldn’t be to win, It would be for the feeling of going up on stage and showing off the body I worked hard for. The body which has been to hell and back and the scars and ileostomy which shows from it. I’ll wear my ileostomy bag with my head held high and spread the awareness It needs!

p.s I normally have someone to proof read for me, today I didn’t so sorry If It’s not up to your ‘reading standards’ haha x

‘Stay patient and trust your journey’

After meeting with my surgeon a couple of days ago I came out of the appointment with very mixed emotions. I’m just over 8 weeks post op and I’m very comfortable with my stoma ‘Dory.’ And I’m in no rush to have the stoma taken away yet, seriously … I never thought I would ever be typing/saying these words. But its true, my stoma has given me my life back in so many ways its unbelievable.

The mixed emotions I was faced with was my surgeon’s opinion on body-building and weightlifting with a stoma. He’s worried that I will develop a hernia If I lift as much as I did prior to surgery .. support belt or no support belt he still thinks Ill be taking a risk. But with a J-pouch I’ll be able to continue to bodybuild & weightlift worry free but that surgery comes with risks I really need to think about.. right now I’m just happy with the way I am.

This means mixing up my training and avoiding heavy lifts. I need to know my limits and my god it’s going to be hard. 

Just before my total colectomy op I was able to hit my goal of a 120kg (19 stone) Squat with the encouragement from my Partner and good friends from the Gym,  I know when I return they will continue to push me to achieve my new goals. These are the people who motivate me the most in life because they have the same passion for training as me, we’re all on the same journey chasing personal bests and always creating new goals. 

Today I went to the GYM and did some very light chest & triceps work (IT FELT AMAZING) My surgeon doesn’t want me to over do It and has advised me to wait a couple weeks before going back to my normal (avoiding heavy lifts)  body-building routine … whilst waiting for my support belt I’ve decided myself to do exercises with light weights in which won’t strain my abdominal area (before I go insane) But at the same time I need to ‘trust my journey and stay patient.’

Getting back Into my body-building diet Is a challenge in itself, after 2 years of relying on Prednisolone to keep me well  which made me  hungry 24/7 I’m finding it hard to find my appetite to stomach certain foods, my gym diet hasn’t really changed at all other than having to cook my vegetables thoroughly as the skin can cause blockages to my stoma (which is very painful) . To perform In the gym Its vital you eat to fuel your performance, getting the right balance of nutrients will help me avoid becoming fatigued which could lead to injury. I need to just open up and eat it, I have goals to smash and without food I’ll get nowhere!  

Whilst not being at the gym when I hit 4/5 weeks post op I started doing some light abdominal exercises (4/5 weeks was when my pain had eased and my wounds had closed up) my posture had really suffered from surgery and my lower back had become strained from being hunched over. The core work really helped reactivate my abdominal muscles and took the strain off my lower back.

Everyones different post op so If you were to start exercising always speak to your nurses, GI’s and surgeons first. Always listen to their advice and don’t push yourself to hard, listen to your body and as hard as it is stay patient.

Ill post more about my journey of getting back to body-building when I start setting new goals! Happy belated new year, lets make 2015 our year and make the impossible POSSIBLE! 

WHAM… Goodbye Large Intestine.

So… Infliximab was going soooo well until wham… I had the most horrendous flare up leaving me hospitalized for 10 days In August. This was where I had a turning point towards my attitude to surgery…. I just could NOT deal with any more set backs, pain, and treatments. I discussed my options with a number of GI consultants at the Royal Cornwall Hospital and they all believed my best option was to go for J-pouch surgery… In 3 stages. So the 1st which I’ve just had 15 days ago was the total removal of my nasty colon bar around 6-8inches at the bottom to prepare for the creation of my J-pouch which is the second surgery! (alot to digest I know…. ) The third surgery will be the take down of my Ileostomy and connecting to my J-pouch... and WHAMM.. Ill have a functioning new bowel 😉 clever Isn’t it!

Here’s a picture to help explain! It explains the operations in 2 stages but you’ll get the idea of the end result to those who don’t understand..

Adapting to living with a Ileostomy Is also going very well (so far so good) I’m only 15 days post op and I feel amazing, before this surgery I was using the bathroom 20+ times a day! Now I’m hardly In there ! Its given me my life back.. and I know when I get back to my normal routine Ill be able to achieve so much more! Why was I so against this surgery? Jesus, I FEEL ALIVE. Post surgery, I do have to admit I was very Ill I didn’t eat for days and I constantly felt sick… but that’s just because I’m rubbish post surgery (can’t handle the drugs ha) Now I’m eating everything In sight… Day by day I’m Improving and getting stronger... but I still have to take it easy, its only early days and I’m still finding a number of daily tasks impossible ! (I’m so inpatient) I just want to get up and go! but just getting up from a chair, bed or even my bath tub Is the hardest task I’ve ever faced :/

The only thing so far which has got me down Is being unable to Train, bodybuilding had become my lifestyle…. I’ll get into how bodybuilding has helped me cope with this illness In another blog… ( It would be far too much to write!) but seriously I’m itching to train!

Any advice/hints & tips on living with an Ileostomy I would be soooo grateful to know of! so If you could pop me a comment or an email: zoeywright10@hotmail.co.uk that would be great!

#nocolonstillrollin’