Blogging One Photo at a Time

Studio

I often take photos with the idea of blogging a thought or experience. Seems I’ve been doing this for a couple of years and not posting anything here. Maybe life is just like that for me. I go with fits and starts. I’m actually a stellar starter.

Sometimes I’ve been completely immersed in the support of people who are facing ostomy surgery and don’t know what to expect. I’ve enjoyed being a healthy active inspiration to those who are sick. I was once very fearful not knowing what life would be like living with an ostomy and thought my life would be changed forever.

My life has been forever altered now that I have an ileostomy,  but along with the disruptive reminders of my limitations have been unexpected moments of tenderness and the powerful strength in resilience.

I’ve had countless quiet pensive times when I reflected on the decision to have the reversal of my JPouch and have a permanent ileostomy. All I can tell you is that the freedom from the daily agony and fear of the toilet was the best decision I made. It’s also one that I feel very protective over when people ask me innocent questions like, “did you try probiotics?” or some well intended inquiry into what could have been done.

Each time I’m given suggestions about what I could do to improve my health,  it tosses me into a defensive emotional place. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I feel very empowered with how far I’ve come. Sometimes I’d rather not think about it at all.

When I do share my medical condition with people, I’m always delighted when they tell me they had no idea. I’m also routinely discouraged by people thinking they can help improve my colon health when I don’t have one. A colon. It’s been completely removed. Anyway – this post isn’t about frustration, it’s more about reflection after two years of no writing. I’ve documented much of my life in photos and routinely snap shots of things that represent emotion.

It’s tough to remember misery in hindsight. Especially when it’s sprinkled with fantastic days of wellness. Anyone with a chronic illness that has times of remission can relate to this. People with an illness that doesn’t show on the outside also knows how discouraging it is to be unwell and misunderstood.

So I’m gathering my photos and putting them into a writing challenge. To get back to posting regularly, I’ve decided the photos will be my topics. Typically they evoke a feeling or memory – each one of these does. It’s organic and free flowing but in somewhat chronological order from the last time I posted here.

Roses were Day 1 that I wrote about yesterday. I wonder if it will take me another two years to write about each of these photos. I’m constantly inspired and routinely struggling.

With gratitude for good days and a healthy sense of reality about the future, I will begin. Here’s the list so far:

  1. Roses – CHECK!
  2. I Miss Vegetables
  3. Fetal Position
  4. Counting
  5. Painting and the Art of Healing
  6. Did You Do Your Best Today?
  7. Human Body Coloring Book
  8. Go Big or Go Home
  9. Dock Jump
  10. Does This Pie Scare You?
  11. Meditation Malas and Healing Beads
  12. Iced Coffee
  13. Hello Spring
  14. The K Line Train and How to Keep Moving
  15. My Mum is My Strength
  16. Are You Feeling Trapped?
  17. Pain Chart
  18. IV Nurses and Other Bedside Visions
  19. The View from my Hospital Bed
  20. Hospital 2.0
  21. What’s on Your Shelf?
  22. Uranus Gas
  23. Uncertain Selfie
  24. Rest and Recovery
  25. Reflections From My Desk
  26. Wonderwoman Nail Polish and Power Stances
  27. Mother Mary in My Accessories Drawer
  28. Pebble Path to Cross
  29. From Soup to the ER
  30. Hearst out the Passenger Window
  31. Ice Cream with No Regrets
  32. How do you Measure Up?
  33. Beets at the Picnic
  34. Bleak Chair at Dusk
  35. Brick Walls
  36. My Hubs and Humor
  37. Defeated; a Self Portrait
  38. Grey Days
  39. Be Nice
  40. It’s Perfectly OK
  41. Showing Up
  42. WonderWoman Mother’s Day
  43. Sister Stash
  44. Room Service
  45. Stand Together
  46. Staying Connected with Snapchat
  47. Painting Even When You’re No Good
  48. Life & Love in Handmade Quilts
  49. Golf and WHITE SHORTS
  50. White Shorts 2.0!
  51. Swimming – Even Diving!
  52. White Pants!
  53. Collections and Reflections
  54. Tray of Treasures
  55. Swim Skirts and Bikinis Tops
  56. Milkshakes
  57. Heart to Heart
  58. Anniversary and the Fitted Dress
  59. Dog Days and Daughters
  60. Home is Where We Gather
  61. Saturday Dog Sketching
  62. Neighborhood Craft Day Q&A
  63. Road Trip Packing List
  64. Backup Wardrobe
  65. When in Doubt – Double Up
  66. Weekend in Mexico

Yoga with an Ostomy

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In my mind I have an ongoing list of things I thought I’d never do again when I got my ostomy. I distinctly remember an afternoon crying on the couch when I realized I may never lay on my stomach again. What a simple thing I had always taken for granted. I realized I may never be able to sleep on my stomach, lay down to tan the back of my legs. Rest in certain postures in yoga. So simple and thoughtless – all gone now. No longer would I be able to roll over. Or so I thought.

Over the years I’ve done many things I never thought I would do again. Become athletic again. Be unafraid of accidents. Dismiss fear.

Believe in myself.

Move forward.

Back in October I started going to yoga regularly. It’s been transformational in my life on so many levels. The meditation is deeply spiritual for me and the flow of all my bodily fluids and blood to my extremities is exhilarating. My posture is better, my body is stronger which has helped my abdominal pain.

I fearlessly wear tight yoga pants which takes confidence.

And I lay on my stomach during yoga which is amazing. Not for long, but I do it.

and Yes, you can too.

K

Photo Credit: Be Free Photography via Brooke Boone – Jesus At The Core

 

Best Swimwear for Ostomy

Look no further. I’m obsessed. Trust me, I’ve searched. This one makes you feel like you actually aren’t hiding anything. The plaited detail is generous and the back is low and sexy. You may have had to say goodbye to the two piece after surgery, but you’ll be back in the swim with this one. It’s spendy but worth the investment if you have a holiday or summer poolside plans ahead.

True to size. Double check the sizing since it’s from Australia. See you at the beach!

Details and images courtesy of Trixan Body.

More about this fabulous swimsuit:

  • A real summer shimmer that will give you that longed-for beach glow, the Shimmer story is available in luscious fruity colours.
  • The Shimmer Maillot with plaited detail offers feminine styling and a stunning low back.It is one of Trixan Body’s favourites from this Seafolly range.
  • Beautifully made, the design features a plait or braid detail down the length of the body and plaited straps.
  • Cups can be removed depending on the look you’re after and cup size.
  • Straps are convertible which can be worn as a halter or as a cross back and then tied in a bow.
  • Simply gorgeous.
  • Fabric: 80% nylon and 20% elastane.
    Nifty video showing the suit on a model walking down the runway. Let me know what you think.

Is there a doctor bag in the house?

Is there a doctor bag in the house? Let’s turn the tables on our physicians and show up at our next office visit with the latest trend in hand. I carry mykarekit full of ostomy supplies everywhere I go, tucked away in a nice big doctor bag. LOVE it so much I can’t stand it!

Nightfall Junior Doctor's Bag

Calvin Klein Handbag, Vienna Doctor Satchel

How To Wear This Season’s Maxi Skirt

Test driving the Trend: Maxi Skirts

How to Wear Maxi Skirts

My typical fall wardrobe: Leggings, Huge Sweater and bright handbag held by bent elbow as a shield for my ostomy. Life is a battle, and fashionable gear is essential. More soon on the latest doctor bags and CAPES!!! Today, let’s talk about the Maxi Skirt. I have worn my black maxi dress down to a house dress then it was reduced to a nighty but I can’t give it up. I simply love the way it covers all and enjoy lifting the hem a bit when I descent the stairs.

I found my Matty M Black Maxi Skirt while scrounging at Nordstrom Rack ($88 down to $23.98!), but they are everywhere. Mine has a fold over waist line perfect for extra coverage over the pouch. Then I found this nifty video to show me how to wear it (the price range is the typical “Whaaaa? Who would ever pay that!?!?” but focus on the style suggestions. I definitely have a slew of floppy flowy tops chosen to craftily cover my ostomy. Swishy sheer tops and floppy sweaters should be dandy with my new Maxi Skirt.

Read on about Maxi Dresses and click to watch the slide show courtesy of Refinery 29

View Slideshow

The first step to wearing a maxi skirt is to pump yourself up—you can wear them (yes, even you shorties!), and they look awesome on you! Feeling better? Great. Now, comes the hard part—just how do you wear a maxi skirt? With the wrong blouse, shirt, or top, a maxi skirt can transform you into an Amish prairie-woman schoolteacher. But with the right styling tips, you can look effortlessly glamorous in this season’s hottest separate. So, we present six tips on how to wear maxi skirts. Here’s how to do it. By Connie Wang

Let go a little


I took the leap a few summers ago off a dock I jumped from as a teenager. Having an ostomy makes you nervous of the adhesive coming off – let alone the impact of water! After years of avoiding doing the things I used to love and becoming far more cautious than necessary, I slowly started to let go and take chances. This dock jump is an annual summer tradition at the end of a long, hot day at the island fair. It was thrilling to take the jump, and my parents and daughters were proud of me. That felt wonderful too. Being a strong role model for my daughters is important to me so pushing past my fear is something I have to do.

Let go a little. Be prepared for anything of course – but as life proves over and over again, it’s not usually the things we fear that toss us – it’s the unexpected. And this day was unexpectedly exhilarating!

Peek-a-boo thong!

Ostomy Secrets – where have you been all my life!?!?

Not only can I relate to this group of resilient woman, I appreciate their dedication to style and security.

Check out the Peek-a-boo thong – I’m going to.

Ostomy Secrets Peek-a-boo Thong

Color: Nude with light pink trim
Avoid panty lines with our Peek-a-Boo Thong! Made of stretchy microfiber and complete with our standard inner pocket, the Peek-a-Boo thong is strong enough to hold up heavy a ostomy bag while leaving your backside bare. Like our other styles, it also has a high waistband to cover your wafer. The peek-a-boo keyhole in the back adds a cute and sexy detail.

 

Yoga pants I could wear all day

Besides full frontal face down positions, yoga is a great, safe and relaxing way to rejuvenate and strengthen. I found the best yoga pants at Lululemon that have a high enough rise to cover my stoma and enough structure to keep my appliance feeling secure. I think this model is wearing these low or has a really high belly button.

They aren’t cheap but well worth the investment for regular walks and getting to the gym. I could wear these pants all day. I like the distraction action of the waist band and they are reversible to black too!

selected color:BLACK/ BEACHY GREEN/ ARUBA black/ beachy green/ aruba

 

dance, sing, floss and travel

Here’s another cozy favorite. I like the front pockets that help distract from what’s happening sometimes unpredictably underneath. Sleep in em, grocery shop, get the mail – oh and exercise of course 🙂

Flowy and Femine Swingy Sweaters

 

I love Anthropologie so much that I use their inspiring catalog as a mouse pad. I dream of swooshing through high grass fields with elegant pendants and long boots and lace trimmed coats. Comfort, coziness and coverage are all I care about as the leaves change and the air feels brisk.

Wearing flowy fabrics and stretchy leggings, along with some barn boots combines confidence with the elegance I prefer to  sweats. My fall “uniform” is a simple pair of black legging, some good old, all-terrain boots and swingy sweaters to feel cozy and feminine. I can toss over a shoulder messenger bag to carry my ostomy supplies and a camera, and off I go!

START WITH THIS:

OR THIS:
Yank on  THESE:
TOP WITH THIS:

OR THIS:

PULL ON THESE:

Frye Heath Riding Boot

OR THESE:

TOSS THIS OVER YOUR SHOULDER:

OR THIS:

AND OFF YOU GO! Ready for anything!

What’s your uniform? I’d love to hear from you!