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

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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!

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

#BeCrohnsAndColitisAware

So as Its Awareness week I shared a short statement about my Journey to the Crohns & Colitis official Facebook page! This was also my 1st time sharing a photo with my Ileostomy… and WOW I got great encouragement and feedback! This is what this awareness week is about sharing your journeys & knowledge to educate those in the dark about this crippling and chronic lifelong Illness!

#beCrohnsAndColitisAware

After 2 years with suffering with Ulcerative Colitis 3 weeks ago I finally beat Colitis once and for all and said goodbye to my nasty large intestine!

In the 2 years suffering with colitis It dragged me down mentally & physically, leaving me at one point bearly 8 stone…. but even after countless hospital admissions and countless drugs and treatments I never let it hold me back, I graduated in October with a FdSc In Sports Rehabilitation, I also have a massive passion for bodybuilding!

Now that Im a proud owner of a Ilestomy I’ll continue too achieve everything I want to do In life, being stronger than ever!

“We grow alot like our muscles do,when pushed to our limits and torn open we recover and grow stronger than we were before.”

#NACC
#awarenessweek

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‘I feel like a loser’

So there I was, after having a melt down a few weeks maybe a month after coming out of hospital with my first and the scariest flare up.

I was sat In-front of  a counselor, and I remember the first question she ever asked me..  ‘how are you feeling’ and my reply, was simply that I felt like a loser. Yes a big fat loser, a weak person. Because before I became Ill I didn’t believe in counselling, how ignorant was that? But the 8 weeks of counselling had been the best thing I’ve ever done.

It was just a normal day where me and my partner Conor went for a drive in my car around the sea front, I was currently slowing coming off prednisolone but was still on a massive dose. We pulled over to take in the scenery when all of a sudden I had a massive melt down… I mean I was holding this in ever since I came out of hospital, I went crazy. Conor well… he didn’t know how to control me, he was so upset seeing me in such a state. I think the mix of the prednisolone and my emotions I had just bottled up just got the better of me. I was slowly becoming more and more depressed trying to get my head around what I had been through In hospital, It just all hit me at once. Conor who was my rock, helped me massively and understood I needed professional help, someone who didn’t know me to help me come to grips with everything I was struggling with.

That first counselling session I hid in my shell protecting myself, I was in denial and acted like nothing was wrong. I walked out of there thinking why am I even doing this? This is for weak-minded people (another ignorant bone headed view)

My second session was a lot different, I spent the whole time expressing to the counselor how much it angered me having this illness when some take their health for granted. I just couldn’t get my head around how I was diagnosed In September with an Illness I didn’t yet understand to then end up in hospital a month later which still to this day makes me emotional thinking about it.

Not many people know I’ve had counselling, I normally put on a front and act like everything Is ok, but sometimes I feel so alone, sharing all this with you Is just another massive step Into accepting my illness. Yes I’ve had counseling and NO im not a loser, we all go through tough times with IBD and It’s ok to let off some steam. I learnt so much about myself In the 8 sessions I had, I’ve taken all the advice In and I still use certain techniques In my day-to-day life to help me stay as positive as I can.

Keep fighting IBDer’s x

Reaching remission

ImageYou never realise how unwell you’ve been until finally you’re feeling healthy again, It’s a strange thing to say but It’s true for many IBDers! Before reaching remission I spent many months battling my colitis on a day to day basis. Its such an over-whelming relief to finally feel normal again, not having the struggle to drag myself out of bed for university or work when I’m feeling so fatigued, to be able to workout and feel full of energy instead of feeling half dead afterwards, to be able to see my weight I had lost pile back on and to see my body develop into something I’ve been working so hard on… To not be woken up in the middle of the night with chronic pain which makes me fear going to the toilet is a feeling is that I can’t even explain, It’s priceless!

To not have to plan my day around using the toilet, which most ALL of us IBD suffers have to do in massive flares. Everywhere I went I always made sure I was near a toilet, anywhere new I went, I would scan the place to find It and make sure I had good access too it. Its crazy I know, and looking back it makes me pretty upset, It ruled my life and it dragged me down. Every decision I made I always thought about my colitis first, when really I shouldn’t have to have such a big worry at such a young age. No one other than an IBD sufferer understands the fear of passing blood 20+ times a day knowing that everyday that passes your health is deteriorating even more, Its a feeling I’m all too familiar with.

I’m so grateful and happy to finally see my colitis in remission, but I still have many fears that come with this but at the moment I’m enjoying life and not letting it ruin my confidence!

The only way is up! keep fighting IBDers x

My insides don’t like me

Well it kind of says it in the title, My insides don’t like me. It’s true! My immune system attacks my insides, causing ulcers within my large intestine also known as the colon or bowel! Its a funny old business. Sometimes i mean all the time it really frustrates me, because not only does it cause serious anemia, tiredness, weight-loss but it causes a hell of a lot of pain. Its a real struggle day to day, that no one really understands, other than fellow suffers. I’ve become very good at hiding how I’m feeling and when I’m really struggling, its almost like I’m having a psychological battle with my body which is physically trying to pull me down, if that makes any sort of sense! I’m basically too stubborn to stop what I’m doing and just rest. Because WHY should I? why should I at the age of 21 stop the things I want to do in life because of a Illness I didn’t ask for? That’s another thing that frustrates me!

What I won’t let happen is, I won’t let colitis define me as a person. It may have ruined a massive part of my life since 2012 but I won’t let it beat me. What I can say about my Illness is that through the struggle of fighting it, it has made me the person I am today, It has made me so much stronger, physically and mentally. It has taught me so much about the people I surround myself with and who is really there for me when I need it the most.

I am a strong believer of ‘everything happens for a reason’ and despite my frustration I’m always trying to find positive ways to answer the ‘why me’ question….