When I was first told I would need a stoma I cried, yes a little bit of it was because I was worried and nervous, but the main reason I was so sad was because I had just been shopping to Bluewater and thought of those lovely clothes that may never see the light of day!! There are parts of my hospital stays which are blurry, but I definitely remember saying, through a barrage of tears “but I, I, I.have just been shoooppping” – cue more tears. I think probably most women will understand this, it is such an important and necessary part of our lives. Shopping is to us what football is to men, unfortunately we don’t have regular 90 minute programmes about it which is of course why we must therefore, shop in person regularly instead. As it turns out the stoma didn’t stop me wearing any of the clothes I bought, it was only the cropped tops that had to go (only joking, I haven’t worn a crop top since I was about 20!!). It was a lovely excuse to go out and buy more clothes that were suitable for my recovery, then there was the ‘I am fully recovered celebration’ shopping spree, the ‘I am going on holiday’ shopping spree…you get the picture.
I am very fortunate that in my life I have two wonderful people who positively encourage my shopping. One is my mum, sometimes referred to by my sister (who is also wonderful but that will always go without saying) and me as ‘Bank of Mum’. Oh it is so wonderful and envied by many, we go shopping with mum and she says to us to “put in on my credit card as it won’t need paying for x amount of time” (usually a good payday away). We question an item and what colour should we get it in to which we hear the joyous cries of ‘get it in both you can put it on my credit card’. Yes it is wonderful and fantastic for the wardrobe, not so wonderful when payday actually comes around and you have to pay for the 2 tops in 2 different colours you are now bored of! Mum taught my sister and I well in the art of shopping, perhaps she could have better prepared us by teaching us the art of buying property, but as mum says “when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping”!
The other wondrous shopping companion is Mike, also handy with his credit card (I even get away without paying it back – crafty) but what is more fabulous is his love of high heels (not on himself and not in weird foot fetish way, well not that I know of!) and his surprise that us girls can get them at such bargain prices. He also positively encourages my shopping and doesn’t bat an eyelid when I proclaim that I must have a new dress, he just tells me to do it – isn’t that fantastic?
My latest obsession (apart from dresses and high heels) is bikinis and swimsuits, River Island do an amazing range and I can’t keep away. Great for us girls with a stoma, now just because you have a stoma doesn’t mean you can’t wear ‘normal’ bikinis, I am not ashamed of my stoma and am happy to have it in the open. However, on holiday, when swimming and sunbathing, I just feel more secure with a high waisted bikini or a cut out swimsuit. I love the swimsuits that look like a bikini from the back but cover the tummy and I am so glad all the high waist clothing is in fashion. Trouble is I have enough swimwear to last me a month’s holiday but I still can’t stop buying it every time I see a new suitable garment, always coupled with the excuse that ‘I should get it whilst I see it’ (a mummyism).
Despite the fact that mum and Mike make good shopping companions, I love a good shop with my sister, this is usually because a shopping trip ends up with cocktails in a bar. Unfortunately we get more reckless – not with the shopping (isn’t tipsy shopping great?) it’s usually the fact that we are surrounded by bags that we decide a few extra pounds on extravagant cocktails and ‘oh we may as well just get the champagne, it’s no more expensive’ can be justified, as after all it won’t make much difference to the overall spending!
Of course none of this is great for my bank balance or my bulging wardrobes, but who cares, shopping it is too much fun to stop. So I must sign off as I have a code for free next day delivery and I have seen a dress I really need…..