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

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.

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!

Take the leap!

It’s August and we’re into summertime fun these days. This is a shot of my nephew jumping off the dock on the island where my folks have retired. We jumped off this dock as teenagers and it’s pretty special to watch our kids enjoy the same summer pastime. These days I watch and take photos of the action instead, but not because of any hold back about my ostomy, just because the water is FREEZING!

For some of you, you might still be trying to figure out how to get out of bed, let alone imagine jumping into the water. Don’t rush it, you’ll know when you’re ready. Once you are, take the first step to just get to the beach and be energized by all the positive water-lovin fun around you. At some point when you are ready, secure yourself, suit up and then go for it! I’ve tested plenty of water impact sports and have yet to regret it.  When you’re ready to dip that first toe in the water, you’ll have reached another milestone. Keep moving forward and let me know how it goes.

Important Note: Always look before you leap and remember to check with your doctor first!

Looking for swim wear for spring break?

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We want to hear from you. Post a comment here and let us know what you are looking for. Got a spring break vacation on the calendar and need the best swim skirt to keep your ostomy under wraps? We’re on it! Stay tuned for links to this year’s new suits! Visit myKareKit.com Swimwear for solutions to common challenges for those of us living with an ostomy.