I am Scarred, I am Here, This Is Me!

For the past year and a half I have been living with a Colostomy due to treatment for Bowel Cancer.

I have never been a very confident person and will often hide behind my children when it comes to being social.

I shy away from confrontation and hide my body behind clothes that are not figure hugging.

Learning to live with my stoma has been hard. Learning to accept how my body has become has been a journey. I am still not fully confident with myself, but I took the first big step a few days ago. That was, to share a picture of me in a bikini (not a high-waisted one) on a couple of my social media outlets.

I was worried that people would reject me and call me hideous but I needed to do it for myself.

Recently, the blogging community had been shocked with the sudden death of a highly respected blogger. Her main motto was to live for the day, her approach to life was honest and carefree. She was bold, caring and funny. I didn’t know the Kate but I had seen her at events that I had been to and followed her on Twitter, where I got to read about her dating exploits. This week, a huge following of bloggers shared photos of themselves, on social media, in their bikinis. Kate’s tips on getting your body bikini ready was to simply just wear one!

My facebook and Instagram feed quickly became full of beautiful ladies of all ages sharing their bikini bodies. I became inspired to share mine.

If everyone else could, then why couldn’t I?

I first shared the picture on the blogs facebook page and then on Instagram. I was worried about receiving negative comments, but in fact I received some lovely comments of support and encouragement.

You see, I see my body as hideous. Ugly. Gross. A monster hidden beneath the clothes.

I want to be accepted, even though I am different.

I want people to know but I don’t want to be ridiculed.

I don’t want people to stare at my tummy, scanning over my clothes looking for where my stoma is.

I am quite anxious talking about my stoma and letting new friends know about it. I don’t want to be treated differently.

But, I shouldn’t be feeling like this. I should be proud that I am still here. Still alive.

Beauty isn’t just about having a perfect body with no imperfections or having a pretty face. It’s about having a pretty soul, a good heart and a strong mind.

So with Kates ‘this is me- take it or leave it’ attitude I share with you all now how I look today

This is my F**K You Cancer Jump

Never stop believing in yourself!

 

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learning to accept my Body Insecurities

At some point in our lives we all feel a little insecure about our bodies. We are all different with our own little flaws; we are not exact copies of each other, nor do we look like those airbrushed photos that are shared in the media.

From an early age we are all exposed to what, we think, we should look like on social media, TV and magazines; it’s not surprising that we feel insecure with our bodies.

The flaws on our body are what makes us. They are our make-up.

They tell a journey of life.

Many women have marks on their body that show a journey from a girl into a woman.

I have stretch marks, like many women, they are a reminder of how my body adjusted in order to grow my three wonderful children.

For years I suffered fighting my own demons on how I thought others perceived my body image. I was always worried about what I looked like, lacking confidence and having a low self-esteem of myself. I may be small in size, but I hated not having bigger breasts and don’t get me started on my hips/backside. I didn’t see what others saw although, I thought others saw worse.

Looking back I had no different flaws to any other person, I just wished I didn’t waste my time and energy in telling myself that I was no good. Looking back to how I used to feel makes me realise how normal I was.

I have a choice; feel bad about my body or learn to accept ‘I am who I am’. I am not model but I am perfect to my children and family, that’s all that matters.

I used to question my partners attention to other women;questioning my own looks and  figure but never my personality. That is something I have never had a problem with. I love who I am on the inside it was what was on the outside that I struggled with.

In order to love my self I have to let go of that ‘socially ideal image’ that I see as perfect and accept who I am.

It is taking time but I am getting there.

I need to shut out all of the negative thoughts and feelings about my body image and focus on the positive ones. I  need to recognize my strengths as well as personal value and worth.

A year ago I had bowel surgery to remove a tumour, this has resulted in me now having a permanent stoma. It’s not something I like to talk about. I don’t see having a stoma as a bad thing but I believe others do. People, in general do not understand what others have been through, they see it as weird and un-natural to have a bowel opening on your abdomen.  I am learning to accept my body once more. I have my moments where I struggle to accept this ‘thing’ on my tummy. Some days I hate it. Some days I accept it. One thing for sure, is that I just wish I could tell my younger self to not waste time in torturing myself over my body image and to appreciate the health that I had instead of putting myself down all the time.

Having Cancer and two major surgeries have made me realise how precious my body is. How precious life is. It’s too short to worry about how I look like and how others see me.

I need to find me again, from within. I am trying to gain a positive outlook and to focus on my unique qualities instead of what I see in the mirror. Finding my identity that isn’t based on just looks or a body image.

I am building my confidence up focusing on improving my self on the inside as well as the outside. Last year I enrolled on a course to better myself within my work. I have joined a gym, which adds to having a positive body image; leading an active lifestyle and making healthier nutritional choices. And, I am teaching myself, as well as my children, meditation and yoga.

But, most of all I have set myself a goal. I will no longer have the body that I had pre-operation (pre-cancer), I have learnt to accept that no amount of exercise will reduce my post-op swelling and no scars will disappear. I am learning to see me for who I am. I refuse to fight the demons anymore. My scars tell a journey of my existance and what I have fought.

I have overcome many challenges over the past couple of years and I am sure there will be many more. I have found confidence from within and my own ways to cope with social situations.

By sharing my experience I am hoping that it will encourage others to believe in themselves.

Self-acceptance is hard but it is possible with the right mindset. I understand where my weaknesses and strength lie. It’s accepting who I am, not who I think I am supposed to be.

I am not quite ready to share a body image of myself yet. But you never know, watch this space…

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Adjusting to life with a Colostomy Bag

As you may well know, If you follow me on social media or on the blog, that at the end of last year I underwent surgery to have a tumour removed from my bowel. Because of the site of the tumour I had to have my rectum removed which results in me having a bag for life. Now out of hospital I am adjusting to living with a colostomy bag.

I haven’t made too many public appearances yet as I am still weak and recovering from the surgeries that I had. I have had a little walk around the local supermarket and I did have a little mishap of wind but As I was layered up with clothing the sound was muffled and it was probably just me that noticed the noise.

The stoma at the moment is very noisy and can be very embarrassing. It sounds like a balloon that has been deflated and let off. The boys have got used to it now but still find it hilarious that Mummy has a bottom on her tummy and that I poo in a bag.

I am conscious of it being seen under my clothing as I my tummy is quite swollen at the moment and sticks out a bit. It can be seen if it isn’t tucked into the trousers and does make a rustling sound against my clothing as I am wearing loose tops. I am worried about others noticing it and the comments that will come. Some people can be blunt with their words and not think of your feelings. Some people can be damn right nasty and make jokes of wearing a colostomy bag. Yes, I am embarrassed but on the other hand I know that it has possibly given me a life.

The results of the tumour and lymph nodes biopsy, once taken from me, has come back negative. No cancer cells left behind. That’s not to say that they haven’t escaped to else where in the body and I will not know this until I have a full body scan. I am extremely worried about this and on one hand I don’t want to find out. I don’t want to go through it all again. I had a shit 2016, especially the last 6 months. My family and my life has been put on hold. We have had to cancel plans, holidays, days out and adjusted to life with Cancer. During my treatment, I spent weeks laying on the bed due to the skin breaking and becoming sore. The last two months I have been in hospital. It all seems to be a dream, a nasty dream.

The only way now is not to dwell on what could have been but what can be.

I need to get some more confidence in myself and say ‘Sod you’ I need to be comfortable with my body in order to go about life as I was before.

I have already began to think about what type of clothes would be ideal to wear with the colostomy. I have bought a few items of clothing in the sales, a few long cardigans, over sized jumpers and loose-fitting tops. I am fully aware, constantly, of the bag and am hoping that once I become more confident with it then it will just become part of me and once in a routine it will become an everyday routine that won’t stop me from having an active, social lifestyle.

It has taken a while for the bowel to fully function properly and is still finding its place in the abdomen after being prodded and poked about with during surgery. Certain foods are giving me wind, which is very uncomfortable and painful. I have no control no more of my bowel habits, when it happens it happens. I am concerned that it will happen when I am out amongst other people who do not know my situation. I am scared of the reaction from people. I am aware that the bag can be seen through clothes and I am anxious of the stares, the glares, the pointing and the comments that will come. I know I can’t be in the comfort of my home for ever, I have to return to work and I have a life with the boys to get on with and I have friends to be social and enjoy company with. I am hoping with time that I will become less conscious and more confident. After all it is still early days, I only had the surgery on the 9th November and have only been home for 2 weeks now. With the support of my family and friends I know I can do this and that I will get my life back on track.

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