Fitness – a journey

I was at the London Marathon last week (cheering not running) and normally this is something I like to enjoy in bed, with a cup of tea and some toast. But, this year I went to cheer on our charity runners and it was a great day. I am always in awe of those people who can run 26 miles, it isn’t just the effort on the day it is the months of dedicated training too.

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It got me thinking about my own health and fitness regime and what I do/don’t do. My goals have changed over the years, during illness it was all about just getting out of bed each day, post surgery it was about putting one foot in front of the other and getting a bit further each day. Then it became a matter of enjoying life whilst I was healthy so I didn’t worry too much about exercise or what to eat. Pre-operation number two, it was about preparing myself to be in as good as shape as possible, so a 10 week bootcamp ensued, post-op again, was about recovery and getting the right nutrients to aid healing and not gaining to much weight whilst sitting on my (now sewn up) arse! Roll on to April/May 2013 and the months of being at home/not exercising/eating too many puddings/the beginnings of domestic bliss with Mike took their toll and we had both gained weight. So then began a health and fitness regime of sorts to try and get in shape. I dappled in the gym, back at bootcamp, exercise classes and a bit of running and tried to stay away from puddings. 2014 I ran my first 10k, followed by two more and continued with some additional exercises. The first 10k was about a personal achievement, something I was able to do even  after all the trauma. Then it became about beating my time and getting better (which I did).

Christmas 2014 my sister bought me a personal training session at the gym she goes to, she recommended her trainer and suggested I try it. So in Jan 2015 I started at a new gym and got some coaching. From that moment on my fitness improved beyond doubt and is still improving today. I completed a couple more 10k’s in the summer but I now just concentrate on lifting weights and the odd interval session. I decided I really didn’t like running so why put myself through it. I actually don’t like the gym either but I like the results it brings! Through the training, I dropped some weight and have kept it off and I feel better than ever. Having a stoma can definitely knock your confidence and for me it was about discovering what I was capable of and what my body could be like. It’s hard to understand your natural weight when it has fluctuated for years due to illness/medication/operations. I am now in a place where I am happier with my body and still like to push it. I have never kept up this consistency before and I am really proud of myself.
Post gym
I want to be one of those people who bound out of bed at 6am to go the gym, or who gets excited because I am off to work out. The truth is, most of the time I have to drag myself there, I have to convince myself to go, sometimes I do get up early and go, but many a Saturday I have spent in bed weighing up the pro’s and cons before realizing whilst I was procrastinating I could have been to the gym and back again! But I go, I don’t let the fact I have a stoma stop me from doing so, there are loads of ‘ostomates’ out there who do all sorts, bodybuilding (This girl is amazing) these people compete in triathlons, 100 mile bike rides, marathons, in fact so much so I feel my gym effort is a bit paltry in comparison. But I will keep on doing it, because I love seeing my body get fitter and stronger, I love the satisfaction of lifting a heavier weight today than yesterday and most of all I love the fact that it has given me the ability to walk up hill, whilst wearing heels, to the train station with a heavy suitcase plus walk up and down a set of stairs with said suitcase plus a handbag in one had and a cup of tea in the other (it was too early for wine ;)!), whilst heaving the suitcase of the ground to get up the stairs! A small girl who was with her mum at the time was most in awe of my ability to do this and told me so – how fab is that!

early gym

Oops! 

Oops, it’s been totally ages since I last blogged and yet I never meant to go this long. I wish I was one of those people that blogged regularly, but I also wish I was one of those people that got up at 6am to work out, or one of those people that didn’t like wine (do they exist?) or one of those people that ate broccoli for breakfast (wtf?)  but somethings are just never going to happen! 

  

I always get inspiration when I’m driving in my car or some other such inconvenient place and by the time I can write it down I forget! But I’m sitting here on the sofa, whilst Mike watches footie (not for the first time) so decided to ‘be productive’. There are lots of things I could write about and I will ( in a few months or so ;-)!) but I thought I would start with being able to help people. 

I want to and will, talk about clothes with an ostomy (short version, wear whatever the hell you like), travel ( it’s fine, do it), exercise (if you’re so inclined, that too is ok) food ( trial and error but give it all a go within reason). I’ll go into more detail in other posts. 

Those that know me/read my blog/follow my Facebook page know that I work for Beating Bowel Cancer Charity. It keeps me incredibly busy but I love it. April is Bowel cancer awareness month and during this time we hold a ‘patient day’ where we invite people affected to a free event. They can meet other people in similar situations, talk to nurses, attend seminars, visit the stands and just generally meet staff and supporters. It’s a great day and people seem to really love it. What’s great is being able to talk to people who also have an ostomy, some have colostomies, some have ileostomys, some don’t have a stoma anymore but did. It’s really lovely to have people come up to me and ask me about mine and ask me questions. Some people I have spoken to over Twitter and was able to meet in person and share stories.

I love that I can work for a charity and have empathy and can share my positive experiences with people going through a really tough time. But I also benefit, I also get to meet people with ostomies and hear their experiences and so many of them are incredibly upbeat, despite having to face some of the toughest times of their lives. 

I am always happy for people to approach me and ask me questions and advice and I will always be honest. I have no issue with anyone, stoma or not, asking me questions about mine. I find it far easier to be open and hope my experiences can help others. 

So, this is just to say the blog is back in action, and between 6am gym sessions and breakfasts of broccoli 😂 I shall be posting a bit more regularly!  

 

Happy World Ostomy Day

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Today is World Ostomy Day so it seems only fitting that I write a little blog post. Many people live with an Ostomy, young and old and for all sorts of reasons, bowel diseases, bowel cancer, bladder conditions are just a few. But I thought it would be appropriate to write about living with an Ostomy and 10 things you should know!

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1) You won’t be dragging a bag around on a set of wheels ( which is what I thought, you know a bit like the drips you get set up on in hospital!), it will be discreet and some are quite small.
2)You won’t smell, despite your fears of aroma de poo hanging around with you, you honestly won’t smell any different to normal ( which hopefully is shower fresh!) and people won’t back away from you as though you’re Pepe le pew (ha ha remember him!)
3) Only you have to know about your ostomy unless you choose otherwise, nobody has to know ( apart from the surgeon who performed it of course and the stoma nurse that helped you!).
4) Yes it’s bloody agony, especially if you had open not keyhole surgery ( although keyhole still hurts!) and whilst after a few weeks you will feel better it can take a good 6 months to feel completely better, don’t rush it, don’t compare yourself to others, it’s your recovery, but don’t be afraid to push yourself a teeny bit each day.
5) Athough it’s agony, it will pass and if your surgery was due to something like UC or Crohns then I promise you, you will feel so much better instantly.
6) You will be able to exercise, travel, dance, sing, work, go clothes shopping, swim and have sex and anything else you did pre-surgery, in fact you may find you are able to do more (more shopping – yes please!)
7) You will still be found attractive, and if you are single you will meet someone exactly the same as before surgery, if it’s taking a long time it’s not because you are the proud owner of an ostomy it’s because dating is hard and can suck sometimes, but it can also be fun. (Believe me, I’ve tried to put men off by confessing about my bag, it didn’t work!). The bag is really insignificant to most people.
8) You won’t always have to cut out nuts, seeds, mushrooms, corn, drinking through straws and fizzy drinks. Sensible advice you are given at first but you learn what you can and can’t have. And I’m sorry, but there was no way I would give up bubbly! Be careful though, I ended up in A&E due to a parsnip but can now eat them no problem!  🙂
9) You will not be able to blow off in the conventional sense, that satisfying fart (I hate that word!) when you have a tummy ache – thing of the past, but you also always know, it definitely wasn’t you!
10) Your life will not be over, it will not end or be worse, it may even be better. You will be amazed at what you have coped with and if you can deal with a bag attached to your tummy that you have to poo in then surely everything else is a doddle!

So happy World Ostomy Day!

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Holiday confidence, my stoma bag and the reactions…..

Tomorrow is Monday and it’s back to reality, back to work and the gym all the other day to day stuff we do. I’ve had just over two weeks off, 11 days of that spent on holiday in Crete and I almost feel like a new woman. Yes, I’m relaxed but it is more than that, I have gained more confidence this holiday then ever before.

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To those who know me, and those who follow my blog and Ostomy page on Facebook will probably already see me as confident and for the most part I am. But having an unexpected major op, all your large intestine removed, scarring, a bag and everything that come with it, does knock your confidence a tad! It’s a long process, hard work, determination and a strong mind to stop yourself from falling into a pit of despair and why me.

2 major operations, years of weight loss/weight gain, steroids & other strong medications, take their toll on your body. And whilst I’m grateful to now be alive and healthy, I have been left with some body issues (I will write about this in a future post). So in January, I made the decision to try and help myself and get in the best shape I could, cue 8 months of hard work, gym sessions, walking, healthy eating and the cutting down of my beloved bubbly.

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So, I turned up on holiday feeling fabulous and slim ( not feeling like that now after 2 weeks indulging 😂) . I had booked a swim up room for this holiday (as I’m always after that elusive, luxury, ticked every box vacation!) and boy, was it worth the extra money! I think one of the advantages of a stoma is not feeling guilty for spending a little extra money than normal becaus ‘I deserve it and it makes me feel better’! Expensive underwear – tick, expensive bikini – tick, ooh lets upgrade to a swim up room! But it was worth it as I didn’t need to think about how often I would need to empty my bag as I was outside my room, the pool was quiet so I could show off my bag with no worries, and obviously i could pop yo the fridge for as much bubbly as I wanted!

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But what was great, was the amazing reaction of other people. Everyone was so supportive and positive and only had kind words. Most people were reluctant to ask but would try and bring it up someway in conversation, others would wait until I had mentioned it, but everyone was amazingly complimentary. Plus, pretty much everyone I spoke to could relate I some way, to the man who has crohns, the woman who had small bowel cancer, the nurse who works in endoscopy and her ex husband was a gastronnsurgeon, everyone has their own story and in fact will open up because I do. If showing off my bag means people start talking about their bowels, then that’s just a a good thing. Or even, to the people who admired me but had their own confidence issues that then felt more confident because of me, it’s totally worth it. And the best thing was swimming in our lovely pool with my bag on display and just living it!

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So, whatever your issues may be, I say go forth and be proud, strip off the layer that’s holding you back, take a deep breath and go for it, you may be pleasantly surprised!

As for me, I am off to research swim up rooms with waiter service, inclusive bubbly and central location on my iPad!! 😜

P.s. To everyone that gave my facebook pics a like or a positive comment, thank you, because it’s people like you that help me feel ok and better and people like you make the world a kinder place 💕😘

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Then and now…..

Today is the 4th anniversary of my stoma and of course it’s a day I will never forget so I think it is appropriate to mark the occasion. It was the day that would change my life for ever

Sometimes, the truth of it is that having a stoma does get me down now and then. It is hard for friends and family to understand (as great and supportive as they are) as they just see me as being healthy now and that is all that matters. But, despite the positives, having a stoma is bound to have an effect on how you feel, your body image and the problems that can come with it. But, rather than talk about being down, I figured why not compare my life to pre-bag and post-bag and see the difference?

Now, I am not saying that some of the things I have now I wouldn’t have had anyway, but a major life change can cause you to reassess your life and for things to change in ways you never though possible! So here goes…..

Pre_bag (during my Ulcerative Colitis days and before 2011)

  • I had an incredibly stressful job that took up a lot of my time, didn’t allow for me to look after myself physically or mentally and I worked a lot of hours.
  • I was unfit, exercising was off the table when one wrong move could cause me to poo myself, plus the general exhaustion from being unwell made it difficult.
  • I ate what I was able to not what was necessarily healthy.
  • I was on a concoction of strong medication, painkillers and was self-administering twice daily enemas (how glamorous!).
  • Relationships were tricky and let’s just say I didn’t always make the best choice, so I was either single or in a not so great romantic liaison.
  • Travelling/going to social occasions (e.g. concerts) was a minefield and far too stressful due to the constant worry of an accessible toilet.
  • I lived in a rented flat
  • I drove an old car
  • I didn’t have pets
  • I hadn’t been on a holiday since 2009 and didn’t have many weekends/days away

Fast forward to post-bag (and after 2011) and this is what I have

(A few pics of me now)

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  • A job that I love, where I work from home and travel around the South East, I get the best of both worlds, there is a good work/life balance and because it’s a bowel cancer charity I can offer my experiences as well as fight for a very worthy cause.
  • I am so much fitter than I have ever been. This year I have managed to run a sub 60 minute 10k and a sub 30 minute 5k, plus I have been lifting weights since January and the amount I can lift has increased. Working out has become a part of my daily life and I feel so much better for it (my body has had some nice changes too – bonus!).
  • I eat whatever I want to, but am choosing to eat healthily and I have never felt so good, with so much energy. In fact, I never thought I would see the day, but I have almost gone off pizza, unfortunately the same can’t be said for my wine habit 😉
  • I don’t take any medication at all, apart from the odd Alka Seltzer after a night out ;). Or the occasional ibuprofen for normal niggles.
  • I have an amazing boyfriend, we had only been on a handful dates when I was taken into hospital, but he stuck around and 4 years later we are still together. We have a lot of fun, respect each other, make time for each other, he looks after me and I look after him and it is a GREAT relationship.
  • I have had holidays (yay) and weekends away, spa days/weekends, concerts, theatres, parties, girlie holidays, day trips and so on and I couldn’t be more appreciative. In fact I am off on holiday next week and I can’t wait.
  • I now live in a house with my boyfriend Mike and we have another property we rent out.
  • I have a nice new car.
  • I have two very cute and very mischievous kitties.

Of course my wonderful friends and family haven’t changed and have been there through it all which I am most grateful for.

So, it really helps to look at all the good stuff and what I have been able to achieve, things that once were so difficult or seemed impossible are now just part of my life. If you are going through a hard time or having to face something difficult, just remember, as much as life can change for the worse in a blink of an eye it can always change for the better just as quickly.

So, happy anniversary to me and the stoma that not only gave my life back but improved it too.

 

Cheers!

Life change

World IBD Day

Once again it has been some time since I have blogged, but as today is World IBD Day it seems fitting that I would resurrect my musings!

300,000 people in the UK are living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and yet it is still a lesser discussed subject. It’s all still a bit taboo and uncomfortable, let’s face it, bowels are hardly glamorous and nobody really wants to admit they poo, let alone 20-30 times a day, which is the reality for IBD sufferers. That and the blood, the pain, the fatigue and the medications that come with their own pesky side effects, doesn’t really make for great dinner party speak. But we cannot be afraid to talk about it, we mustn’t hide away in embarrassment and we should encourage others to be more open.

Approximately 4 years ago saw the start of my hellish and downward spiral which would lead to my emergency surgery that would leave me with two bags (why have just one when there is the option of 2?!)

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But now, in 2015 I have proven that you can fight back from IBD. Yes I now have a permanent stoma and will forever poo into a bag, but I no longer have to worry where the toilets are, I am not in pain (unless I eat peas, but that’s another story!), I am no longer on any medication (apart from medicinal champagne of course!) and best of all I can live my life. Not that I ever let IBD hold me back, I still went out, worked, went on holidays and had a social life but there was always an underlying tiredness and pain that I just didn’t feel I could really tell anyone about. Even the fear of pooping myself in public wouldn’t stop me from doing things, I once poohed myself in a supermarket in Italy, such was the urgency, but we move on and get over it (and I can now tell the world about my embarrassing incident!).

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Roll on 4 years and I am helping to break the stigma of bowel diseases, both with my blog and I am fortunate enough to work for a great bowel cancer charity (find out about them here ) where I hope my experiences can help others. I can also do all the things I love to do without the fear of pooing myself or the permanent and lingering fatigue and pain, such as going on holiday, travelling and being with my friends and family. I have also taken part in several 10K runs and regularly lift weights at the gym.

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It’s funny to think that I have my IBD to thank for a lot of things, I am quite sure I wouldn’t be where I am today or have the great life I do if I hadn’t experienced such ill health and difficulty. But I live to tell the tale and I hope you appreciate my stories and can share them to help others.

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So for World IBD day, wear purple, show your support and if you want to make a donation then please do! For Crohns and Colitis UK click here and for Beating Bowel Cancer  click here 

 

My kind of clubbing…….

So, tonight it’s Friday and I have already been clubbing and am about to devour a kebab and it’s only 9.30pm! You must be thinking that either A) I am a lightweight for being home so early (not totally unbelievable), or B) I have been to a really lame club that starts and finishes early or maybe C) that I am a saddo who goes to clubs unfashionably early. Well, the truth is that this was an exercise class! Think Zumba’s big sister but with leg warmers and glow sticks. It was also in the dark, with a few disco lights thrown in, which is great as nobody can see what you’re doing, so it doesn’t matter if you are not following the routines or if you are just in your own clubland world, you can let yourself go.

This is the first workout class I have smiled, rather than grimaced my way through and I didn’t actually feel like I was working out. In the 45 minutes the class lasted I even burnt almost 500 calories, so it’s an awesome workout. Our instructor Naomi was full of enthusiasm and led us through the choreography with fun instructions and even some whoop whoops! We danced along to tracks such as ‘Push It’, ‘Rythymn is a Dancer’ and ‘Let me be your Fantasy’ all reminiscent of 90’s clubbing days! 

The best part is that it is Friday night, yet I feel like I’ve had a bit of a night out but I’m home before midnight and my feet don’t hurt as trainers are the footwear of choice! So, yes you could say this is my kind of clubbing! And to think, I did it all without the aid of a glass or two of bubbly! As I also went with my sister, it felt like even more of a night out, just me and her dancing the night away, if we hadn’t driven there certainly would’ve been some bubbly involved (after of course, not during, well not this time ;)!) 


Get info Here if you’re interested in the class, it also runs on a Monday but I am not sure if I can go clubbing on a school night!! 😉 

Disclaimer: officially my kebab is healthy as its a chicken shish, so I am not undoing all the hard work, but a kebab after a night out is the rules right?! 

  

An honest account of a woman without children

I decided to write this as my sister tagged me in a great post today about celebrity women who don’t have children and their ‘quotes’ about the situation. (Read it here Here). It got me thinking, I have touched on this before but it is a subject that never really goes away. So I thought I would write about my situation.
I don’t have children, I never wanted them either, I was quite sure about that decision  but I definitely felt a pressure from society to have them. It’s as though my desire to stay child free means I am lacking in someway as a woman. By the time I hit my 30’s I was so god damn Ill with the bloody ulcerative colitis that children were the last thing on my mind. I remember a surgeon worrying about sending me for yet another X-ray as the radiation can affect fertility and I told him not to worry I had been through enough pain I wouldn’t be having a child!!!  
Of course health became more important, better to live a life without children and be healthy than constantly ill (or dead) but with a brood of toddlers. The operations I have had can affect fertility, and in particular the 2nd operation to make my stoma permanent (they remove the rectum completely), they prefer to do after you’ve had your children. But I didn’t have the choice to wait until I had or hadn’t completed my family, I needed the op. My surgeon did say everything looked perfect down there (I’d expect nothing less) but until the point comes of trying for a baby I won’t know if my fertility has been affected or not. 
I am now in a great relationship and who knows whether children will become part of our lives (through choice or not) but I do know the only pressure I feel is that of society. I am 36 so I think that means I only have 3 eggs left, I’ll be an older mum, I don’t want to regret not having them, they give you so much joy and pleasure etc. etc. 
I love that women are becoming more honest about what hard work children are, but of course that’s really scary for us in the undecided camp. Yes everyone says the rewards outweigh the not so good, but do they?? I love sleep, more than anything, I’m not sure I will ever ‘get used’ to 3 hours a night or being jumped in in the morning at 7am, or having to do stuff when I just want to watch tv. 
I like only having to worry about sorting out myself and I won’t apologise for the fact even if it sounds selfish. I like leaving the house when I want, going out for dinner, spending my money on me, having my hair and nails done and taking spa days and holidays. 
Of course there are times when my heart breaks a little at the fact I don’t have children. I see the cute little chubby babies and my heart melts, I see parents talking about the bond, the love they feel & the great times they have with their children. My heart breaks a little when I see the relationship my sister has with her daughter, they are really close and have a kind of secret language & special bond, the sort my sister and I used to have, that’s slowly being taken over by her own daughter. My heart breaks a little when I see all the mums so pleased with their little homemade gifts and cards on Mother’s Day. Yes to be child free has so far been my choice but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt sometimes or tug at my heart strings when I wonder if it’s something I’ll have (or want). Maybe if illness & operations hadn’t got in the way, life would be different, but those things did happen so now I have to deal with it. 
I am also a little obsessed with ‘one more holiday’ before children (apparently you can still go on holiday with children but I’m not sure it’s ok to drink from midday to midnight if you do!). I’m not sure I’ll ever have enough adult holidays!! 
Both my partner and I are very nurturing, we look after each other really well and we have our two little fur babies who we love dearly, but as they are young cats, we can leave them while we go out/go away, I’m not sure that’s acceptable when you have children!
So, my reasons for not having children aren’t cut and dried, just because I haven’t had the longing doesn’t mean I don’t get the heart tug, and just because I love living my life as it is it doesn’t mean I am missing out by not having mini me’s (although how can I deprive this world of another me!!). Some women just don’t have children and that is ok, whatever their reason may be, just please don’t ask every childless woman when she’ll be having babies, it’s not always that simple. 

P.S this kid free bingo made me chuckle, have a glass of champagne for each square, after all you don’t have to get up tomorrow!! 😉 Kid free bingo

The 6 Most Shockingly Irresponsible “Fitspiration” Photos

A great article, talks a lot of sense!

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The Reembody blog, up to this point, has been a thoughtful exploration of human movement, a subject about which I am extremely passionate.

Today, however, I’m mad and I’m going to tell you why.

I have been planning a blog post for a while on fitness misinformation, and it was originally going to be the same kind of thoughtful deconstruction found in my other installments. But then I read this and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever found in my newsfeed: so beautiful, in fact, that the rest of the health and fitness propaganda floating around Facebook like turds in a pool started to really, really piss me off.

So thoughtful deconstruction has been postponed for another day. Instead, we’re going to take a good look at a few of those turds and get pissed off together because, when someone preys upon your insecurities in an effort…

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Certain events ( and of course the impending New Year) have brought question to my mind about friendships and what they really mean. Some of us have loads of friends, big groups of them, friends for every occasion and in every corner of the globe. Some of us have just one group of friends, friends that were formed at School or University and have stayed with us. And some of us have a few select friends or friend that come and go as life changes.
What matters is not the number of friends you have but the meaning of those friendships. In the days of social media it’s all about ‘friends’, ‘fans’ and ‘followers’ that I think it is easy to forget what true friendship really means. It’s easy to post a status and get ‘100 likes’ or several positive/sympathetic/advising/inquisitive (delete as appropriate) comments that our egos are fed and we feel popular (or unpopular when a status only gets 1 like, if you’re lucky!) But it isn’t necessarily a good thing, who knows if the comments are genuine or for show and we shouldn’t get fooled or measure our worth on social media ‘friends’.
A lot of people agree a true friend is someone you may not see or speak to for months, but when you get together it is like you have never been apart, or you know they would be there for you in an instant if you needed them. My friend Lisa is exactly one of these types of friends. We’ve known each other since we were 2 and have always been friends. I think it is easy to remain friends with people because they have just always been in your life regardless of if they should really be there or not. But Lisa needs to be in my life, I can’t imagine not having her there! We hardly see each other, yet we live round the corner from one another, we are always saying we should catch up, yet neither of us makes the effort! I guess we are both a little lazy and maybe we just take for granted that we will just be there. But I would rather have someone like Lisa in my life than a dozen acquaintances that I didn’t feel secure with. When I was ill in hospital , Lisa was always there, even though we hadn’t seen each other for ages, she helped me clean my teeth when Mike was coming to see me, she brought me jelly babies round when she knew I needed to eat them (I promise that is genuine!) and we gossiped over our love of strong Ribena!
When we were younger, we used to see each other every weekend until we both got bored and said we didn’t want to spend as much time with each other, neither of us got annoyed, we just somehow knew it was needed. Approximately 3 years later, I went on holiday to France with her and parents, even though we hadn’t spent much of the previous years together but it was like we hadn’t been apart!
When you have a debilitating and often invisible illness it can be incredibly isolating, you don’t always tell people you have it and many people just don’t understand. It is not their fault but people cannot understand that you are actually really ill, yet managing to hold down a job and function day to day. They don’t understand when you don’t want to or can’t go out, or that you are not being lazy you just really, really need to sleep. It is also hard to form friendships or even keep them when you are so consumed with ill health, it sometimes seems as though you are being selfish or self-centred but actually it is self-preservation and just trying to get through the days the best way you can.
So for me, having been through what I have been through, the friends I have are more precious to me as they are the ones that have been there with me, have seen the tough days and know what I went through.
They are the girls of the world, like Hayley, who kept my job going for me and has been in my life since, Ivana, who despite losing her own mum in 2010 whilst I was in hospital, never stopped being there for me, endless hospital and home visits to see me & far too many M&S biscuits! Plus not forgetting the girls who I have a great time with (the Butlins babes to name a few!) who completely understand about my ostomy bag and still listen to me talk about it even though they have heard it 1000 times!
Then possibly the most precious of all (apart from Mum of course!) is the lasting friendship I have with my sister. No-one can possibly replace that bond that close sisters have, no-one is ever the same and the best times in life are those spent with her. It would have been very easy not to have made other friendships as at times it felt like we didn’t need anyone else but each other. But those other friendships, whether friends with Leanne first or friends with me first, have just enhanced our times together and given us more precious memories. It’s a bit of a shame as we don’t spend as much time together as we used to and I miss that more than anything. We used to phone & text each other constantly, see each other every weekend and were always out together and that doesn’t happen as much these days and I miss it. But, we both have boyfriends and full time jobs and we live in different towns (this is much worse than you can imagine) so things change, but one thing that will never change is that we will always be best friends.
To me, it doesn’t matter how many friends you have (and I am sorry to the friends I have not mentioned, you are not forgotten) but what those friends mean. It is ok to have friends that you know wouldn’t really be there for you or that you know may not be in your life for ever, but for now they make a good Friday night drinking buddy, or love knitting as much as you do, or can get you a discount at Karen Millen!
But if you have just one or two friends that you genuinely know would drop everything for you and be to you in a heartbeat if your life got turned upside down, then you are richer and more fulfilled than anyone! And I am lucky and blessed because I do have those friends and a bonus friend in my sister and not many people can say they have a bonus friend!

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