- I traveled on an airplane with my ileostomy. I thought this would be a *much* bigger deal than it turned out to be and was pleasantly surprised. Since I have global entry, the security process is generally no big deal and I can say the same for my latest trip. The only differences were that I asked the tall, brawny man in front of me in the security line to handle my luggage before and after it went through the x-ray machine (you will be amazed at the people who are happy to help you with things like that) and when I used the bathroom on the plane I emptied my bag. Just fyi -- to all my fellow germophobes out there -- the tiny airplane bathroom is not the place to experiment with different emptying techniques. I tried to empty standing/squatting facing the toilet, leaning kind of over the it, since I thought this would be a cleaner way to empty in this situation. I was wrong. Stick to what you know in the bathroom (or really what I am saying here is just suck it up and sit down on the toilet) and try not to get too hung up on how disgusting it is in there. You can probably shower shortly after you get to your destination. :)
- I wore a bathing suit in front of people. Granted the beach wasn't packed, but I was in public and nobody noticed that i had a very slight bulge under my suit. My friends assured me that no one could tell and after a few minutes I felt very comfortable walking around without thinking a thing of it. Due to the high frequency of my ileostomy output (I feel like I am ALWAYS eating pretzels and drinking Emergen-C to combat dehydration, which helps, but it's a daily thing for me), I went ahead and put high wasted shorts on when I sat down for lunch so I wouldn't have to think about what the bag would look like under the bathing suit as it started to fill up.
- I started working out again. Nothing crazy - no marathon training anytime soon - but it does feel great to get into a routine where I go for my walk in the AM, work, and hop on the elliptical machine for 20-30 minutes mid-day or in the evening. My energy level is much higher than it was even two weeks ago, and with the takedown surgery rapidly approaching (4 weeks away!), I have become more cognizant of getting into a better physical shape so I can be in the best position possible to bounce back from the second surgery.
- My diet rapidly expanded after week 6. I hear that I could've been bolder with my diet before I even got to week 6, but I didn't feel comfortable with it, so this is an area where I decided not to push myself. Whatever hesitation I had before magically disappeared and I am now enjoying most foods (still no popcorn but, hey, you've gotta pick your battles and this was a nonstarter according to my WOCN ). Finally adding variety to my diet a bit was a relief for several reasons; mainly, I missed vegetables! Secondly, I feel less "annoying" by asking friends, restaurants, whoever to make exceptions to whatever it is we are eating or I am ordering. I have yet to eat a gigantic salad packed with raw veggies, but I will eat the small side salad next to my omelet (sans mushrooms) and order dishes with cashews in it, so in the scheme of things, that's pretty cool.
Also worth mentioning - my scars are healing up really well. I'll put up some pictures in my next post. Until then!