More Than An Ostomate
Who am I? I am what is known in the ostomy community as a double bagger. That is someone with two ostomy bags.
I have a colostomy and a urostomy following a lifesaving total pelvic exenteration operation. This operation was carried out after a stage 4 bladder cancer diagnosis.
Most days, through my own social media channels, through collaboration with ostomy supply companies or a UK bladder cancer charity, I share a post - all in the name of improving the awareness and perception of bladder cancer and ostomies within the general population.
In the last year, including work with BladderCancer.net, I have become more involved in my role as an advocate. A role I find so rewarding.
Connecting with great people
Since I started my awareness activities around 2018, I have met so many great people throughout the globe.
I have written articles, taken part in collaborative awareness campaigns, I have supported cancer and ostomy charities through fundraising, I have shared posts, and supported many new ostomates formally and informally, from the initial diagnosis to surgery and life beyond.
So yes, anyone I have met in this ostomy space knows I have two ostomies as I openly talk about them. They know I am passionate about raising awareness, as I do often and with great enthusiasm, but who am I?
I am much to many
I am also a wife, a sister, a daughter, a step-mum, an aunt, and a friend.
I am a global service delivery manager within IT outsourcing providing managed services to a key client for the company I work for.
A passionate homecook
I am also a passionate home cook. Some good came out of the pandemic and the associated lockdowns. I had even more time to improve my cooking which has always been a passion. I love to cook cuisines from all over the world. My husband and I love spicy food, so I have a large spice cupboard, and these spices play a big part in my cooking.
I have a weakness for cookbooks, in fact, I have had to buy a bigger bookcase for my home office as I have added so many to my collection recently.
A family gal who loves an adventure
I love to spend time with family and friends, and travel throughout my home country of Scotland and beyond as much as the pandemic has allowed.
More than an ostomate
You see, having an ostomy doesn't have to be your label. It is important to have a balance, and I have a life beyond my ostomies and my advocacy work. That's key for me to remind myself of that every now and then.
Behind every wearer of an ostomy bag on social media is a real person. A person living their own life. A life with family, friends, work and play - just like anyone else.
Do friends and family ask about your bladder cancer?