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! ❤

 

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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! 

#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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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’

‘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….