A few days after my operation, I did wonder if I would ever get used to this thing they had put on my tummy. I couldn't even empty it myself at first, but soon I got used to doing it with help from the Stomal Therapy Nurse.
When I got home I was quite sore, as I had had my bottom removed as well (the inside, not the outside – that would look ridiculous!).
Taking my first stroll
After about a week I took my first walk along the road, then after a couple more weeks I walked along the seafront with a few stops in-between. Things have got much easier as time progressed and now emptying, changing and dealing with my bag has become second nature.
I have had the odd leak at night and sometimes in the day but I just go and change it – no bother. Half the time I don't even know it's there!
No need for a prolonged morning routine
My usual routine in the morning is to have a shave (face not legs!), shower, then put on a new bag, and that will last me until the next morning. I get my new bag and stuff ready the night before, so it takes just five minutes.
A change in energy
Before my operation, I was very ill with Crohn's and was housebound. I just couldn't go out for fear of having an 'accident' and I had no energy. I was constantly rushing to the loo, which sometimes I didn't make, but now I can go out with confidence, eat out and do most of the things I used to be able to do.
Knowing what to eat and drink
My first trip out was in December when my family took me to Winter Wonderland in London. I had thought I would never go out again, but we had a lovely Christmas that year and I was able to eat all the things I used to with no problems. You get to know the things you can and can't eat.
Nowadays, I don't usually drink alcohol and for New Year I didn't have a lot, but I did mix a few and was duly ill... my own fault of course, and everyone thought it was hilarious.
Taking up old hobbies
I have given myself some projects this year. The first was to restore my mountain bike, which I stripped down and had re-sprayed with new transfers. It now looks like a new bike! Unfortunately I can't ride it yet, as I don't think my rear end is ready for that yet... but maybe one day.
In the 1980s, I used to be a DJ and I would quite like to get back into it, so I have been getting together some gear and building my own lights. Now I can hardly get into my garage as I also have a drum kit in there – 'poor neighbours', I hear you say!