Thursday, 13 December 2012

How to holiday with a Stoma

So, your thinking of going on your first holiday abroad with a stoma!.  Here are some things I found useful.

  • Have a weekend away, near home first,this will help you build your confidence.
  • Make sure( if you need to) your doctor/consultant/stoma nurse is happy for you to go away.
  • Speak to your stoma nurse about how to pack for a holiday, she/he will always have lots of tips for you.
  •  Get your prescription and order well in advance of you holiday, this applies both stoma products and medication you are using or may use while you are abroad.
  • Visualise different circumstances, ie. How will you empty your bag on the plane.  What do you need to achieve a happy out come for this.
  • Get a travel certificate and fill the details out, this will have the reason you require stoma appliances in several different languages.  
  • Travel a MUST. Phone in advance, depending on your medical history you may need to call quite a few until you get a good deal.
  • Make sure your EHIC European Health Insurance Card is up to date, but remember this is not like having free insurance, you still need full travel insurance.
  • Check your passport is in date or still valid.  
  • Go shopping...woohoo buy new clothes.
  • Be brave and stay confident, but if you have a wobble or even a little cry, its ok.  Just keep going.
It is a sensible idea to take a good supply of loperamide (immodium) and also some dioralyte(to rebalance lost electrolyes).  You are more than likely going to enjoy a tipple and this can result in a high watery out put.  Also different foods and eating at different times, than your usually used to, may change your out put.  So think prevention, rather than cure and keep on top of eating right and drinking enough fluids...fluid balance is key.  Do not get dehydrated, you will want to make the most of your time on holiday, rather than feel poorly.

Once you have worked out how many bags you think you will need and have received your order, now is the time for re-sealable freezer bags.  They are very cheap and are so handy to have.  My top tip, is to have a few rolled in your emergency stoma kit, then if you need to empty and have no where to do this, you can empty in the bag and zip it up and put it in a bin.  This also works on trains that are a bit bumpy to say the least, if you find it a challenge to empty from sitting on the loo, you may not want to kneel down on a floor that may not be clean, so wip out a freezer bag and empty in to that.  You can then flush the contents down the loo, with a much better aim.  Job done.  

Anyway, back to the delivery and order.  I worked out I wanted to take around 45 bags.  If you are travelling with more than one suitcase separate these in to two, in case one goes missing.  And pack a comfortable supply in your hand luggage.  I brought several different types of bags, an emergency high out put bag, a few transparent for the plane journeys, smaller and larger bags.   As the stoma pouches come in packs of ten, I generally put ten in each freezer bag and wrote a label on the front.  So I could keep on track of what I had packed.  If in doubt, pack more, that was my was exciting I felt like I was packing for an expedition.  It is also worth a call to your delivery company to see if they delivery abroad, mine did so this put my mind at ease.  And remember people have stoma's abroad too! ;)

During my holiday I enjoyed the swimming pool and spa and was in and out of hot and cold baths no problem, now is the time to use those funny stickers you never use!! Pop one over the filter in your bag and away you go.  If you want use flange extenders to make your bag feel more secure. 

I always use Ostomart Mint drops to mask the smell of my toxic poo, I used even more on holiday because I was emptying my bag in lots of different loo's!!  Lucky me.  So don't be shy, ask your stoma nurse or delivery company for products to help you mask any smells you may be worried about.  I emptied my bag on both journeys of the plane, and with the mint drops in it, the loo actually smelt better after my visit!

Remember you can not put an adhesive remover spray in your hand luggage, so take on some adhesive remover wipes instead.

Think about what YOU, will need to make your holiday enjoyable.  You probably really deserve this time away. 

I hope this has been helpful.  I will write more tips and experiences of my holiday next time.


Friday, 23 November 2012

My first holiday abroad with a stoma :)

I really shouldn't be writing this, or sitting down watching Kirstie's Vintage home :) but I am! I should be packing!!!  Tomorrow at 5.45 am a taxi will come and collect us to take us to the airport.  This will be my first time abroad with a stoma, eeekk I am a little scared.  I'm hoping I have got my body to a good healing place and will keep well for the next 12 nights.  It has been quite a task making sure everything is organised for my holiday.  I will definitely write a post on what to take for a holiday, but once I get back.  

Life has been busy and I am slowly getting there, wherever there is!    I am now in an acceptance mode, I accept I have crohn's, I accept I will have a permanent stoma, I accept I will always deal with pain and I accept I may or may not need surgery again.  My illness has taught me to appreciate the little things, to not make big of the annoying things and to make the most of each and every day.  So I will make the most of this holiday and will try and remain calm and confident all will be all right.  

See you on the other side x

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Talking Crohn's and babies

Be your own advocate :) I was yesterday, I went to the hospital for a post op check up.  A young doctor called my name and I walked in the room and thought!! No, you know nothing about my complex history and today I want answers.  So I asked to see my consultant :)  Sometimes you have to be confident and BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE :)

I feel much happier as I now understand more of what has happened, so I have crohn's and I have never had   Ulcerative Colitis.  I'm slowly coming to turns with this and accepting it.  Some times I can deal with it and other times I feel sad, angry and frustrated.  I'm learning that it is ok to feel like this.

The very good news is I am officially allowed to start a family :) It's a fabulous feeling to know I have reached the place, were I am not on any medication and I don't have any planned surgeries coming up.  Prof has said I can go off and start and family :)  I am so super happy about this, as having children is my dream.  So although not an immediate plan it is such a good step in the right direction.

L x