Tag Archives: story

Shape Magazine Article!

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I was contacted a few months ago by the editor of Shape magazine Australia, Alison Turner for an interview as she saw a post on Facebook that City Gym (the gym I go to) posted about me and my journey thus far.

Never in a million years did I think that I would be contacted for an interview, let a lone have a full back page photo and article dedicated to me! Wow! I can’t even put into words the feeling I got when I purchased the magazine and flicked through the pages and saw little old me. I was beaming with pride!

Please go out and buy it if you want to have a read, or for my international followers if you would like a copy let me know!

Here’s hoping for a cover next time 😉

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The Walls Came Down…

Everybody struggles to find their ‘significant other’ at the best of times. It’s as though we search and search, only to find ourselves looking blankly at disappointment and heartache on every corner. But then we find someone who we actually want to share moments with, to be in the same room with for longer than an hour and who we can bare our souls to. We seem to forget that the most important relationship we will ever have, is the one with ourselves.

Having an Ostomy at 17 years of age, which let’s face it is prime boyfriend/girlfriend finding time did put some doubt in my mind about ‘finding someone’. All of my friends either had a partner, were dating or were enjoying the single life without actually ever being alone. Then there was me. Hunched over, doubled-over in pain and longing for my next painkiller awaiting the next doctors’ orders.

Truth be told, I didn’t look at my Chait tube after surgery until I was completely alone and it was at the very least the second day after I had surgery. I had to have this time to reflect and try to let it sink in, that my body will never be the same both internally and externally. I will forever be changed in some light, no matter how many times my parents tried to tell me ‘you’re still the same person’. Nobody goes through what I have been through and comes out the same as they were before. It will either make you, or break you. Safe to say, looking back I have definitely came out on top!

For the next six months I battled with my body image and my mental state. I looked like I was happy and ‘better’ on the outside to everybody, but when I was alone and at home in the confines of bedroom walls I was empty, confused and albeit angry at the world. Of course the only person that could see right through me was my mother, who let me have my time to grieve and get over myself. To understand that I was the one who battled through it all and that there is nothing that anybody else could say to me to make me feel any better. Time. Time was what I needed. Time was what I was given –in every which way of the word!

It was through the failed relationships (Both partners and unfortunately best-friends), heartbreak and heartache and being used that I found myself again. Pretty sure this goes for everybody, whether they are healthy or have an existing medical condition like myself, that ‘acceptance’ is something that we all desire. We long to be accepted for our inner workings, for someone to appreciate our quirkiness and individual – what makes us all unique and true to ourselves. But how can we expect anybody to feel that way, if we don’t feel that way about ourselves?

Today, I have accepted that I have been through absolute hell and back more times than I would like to remember. I have been given a death sentence, been misdiagnosed more than anybody ever should and I have unfortunately fell through the system and been forgotten by medical practitioners and specialists. But I’m still here.

I have had days where I wanted to rip my Chait tube out (in the beginning, most definitely not now! I love my Ostomy!) and the thought of looking at myself in the mirror made me depressed, feel ugly and I couldn’t stand the sight of myself. I have felt my body waste away, and have had days where I couldn’t walk more than ten steps without breaking down into tears from sheer exhaustion and pain. I didn’t want to be touched, I hated being close to somebody no matter who they were or how long I had known them for. I wanted to be left alone and be by myself. Today I appreciate my body and my mind for all it has gone through. I can squat and deadlift more than my bodyweight, I have ran a half-marathon and I have such a great close circle of people around me who I wish I could spend more time with.

I was once ready to give up on the world. I wanted out. To sleep forever and to be rid of all the pain, mental struggle and the hurt that came with my surgery and my change in lifestyle. Today, I wake up everyday and live a life that is far from empty and dark.

Before, I could not stand the thought of talking about my medical condition or my thoughts. I was a closed book, unable to come to terms with my own issues and was not ready to share them with anybody else. Now, I am an open book. Nothing is off limits.

I am the strongest person I know, with ambition, drive and motivation like no-other. I am the hardest working person I know and I give my all or nothing to everything and anything I apply myself to. I am worthy of a life that is nothing short of a glass three-quarters full and I will never settle for anything less.

So today, I ask you as you read this to think of WHO you are and WHAT you deserve.

Find yourself, and the rest will follow.

Chronicle II: Teething.

After the seven days of antibiotics I was up and running again. I had the spring back in my step, and I was completely mobile. No more living in the bathroom with one end on the toilet and the other in a bucket for long periods of time. My diet no longer consisted of two things – dry milk arrowroot biscuits and flat lemonade. I was perfectly fine again. Healthy. I could walk ten steps without collapsing and without holding onto walls for support. I was no longer waking up in the morning and feeling so absolutely disgusted in myself for having had yet another accident. Because this blog is supposed to be brutally honest and a true reflection and account of my story, I have no shame in admitting that I had no control of my bowel to the point where I was in nappies – thankfully at this time my siblings were still in nappies so my mum didn’t need to buy any just for me (I have to find the funny side in any horrid situation!).

No longer did my mum come into my bedroom of a morning to see if I was alive, or to check if I had soiled myself again and was completely unaware. You may think ‘how the hell did she not know if she had an accident or not?’ – let me tell you, once you lose control of your bowel you lose control of your feelings and emotions. I was numb. Numb from the neck down. My nerves were all over the place and I could not for the life of me, feel any life within me.

The morning I woke up without having had soiled myself during the night, and where I didn’t wake up feeling like I would rather had gone to sleep forever and never wake up was the best feeling ever. I absolutely cannot put into words how elated I felt knowing that I was no longer in nappies, nor was I doubled-over in pain constantly and crying myself to sleep face-down in my pillow so my parents couldn’t hear my cries. I was no longer scratching at my thighs and digging my nails into my skin because the pain was excruciating as the Salmonella tore right through my insides.

I was back to normal. Alive. Healthy. Ready to live life again and go back to school.

The three months that followed my bounce-back after a nasty bout of Salmonella were an absolute mind boggling time for me. The first month my bowel was normal, I was regular. I had control and my bowel movements were perfectly healthy. I was eating a well-balanced diet as always – my mother is a fantastic cook and my step-family is Turkish so our version of a home cooked meal is a banquet of vegetables, fruits, grains and lots of meat!

There I was, back at school having missed the first fortnight and it was great to start back and be surrounded by friends. It honestly was like nothing had even happened, like I had had no nasty Salmonella and I was completely healthy like always.

Come the second month, and something changed. My bowel was erratic. I had gone from normal healthy bowel movements to ‘where is the closest toilet?’ diarrhoea. The on and off diarrhoea lasted a month from memory. I had severe bowel incontinence. At first I didn’t tell my mum. I figured it was something I was eating or it was nothing important or of concern – I was still able to pass a bowel motion so everything was okay, right?! I finally told my mum and we both put it down to maybe I was eating too much fibre so I cut my green vegetable intake and figured that would help.

The third month brought on another change. A change that would be permanent and a feeling that would last for the rest of my life. I was constipated to the point where no matter how much water I drank, how much fibre I had and I could drink endless cups of herbal teas and still no ease in the bathroom. I was straining so much I almost passed out a few times. Throbbing migraines, haemorrhoids and a bleeding rectum were the new fun moments of my bathroom habits. Again, I didn’t mention this to my mum until it was almost a week without a bowel movement – yes, I got to the point where I was unable to go to the toilet at all. My bowel stopped to a halt and I was so disgustingly backed up with faeces and in so much pain as my waste was turning toxic inside of me. Next thing you know I was in the chemist buying some over the counter laxatives to pass a stool and I felt more at ease.

Once again I was taken back to the doctors. The same doctor I had gone to when I first fell ill with Salmonella three months prior. I told him about the past three months and my erratic bowel patterns and behaviour – healthy movements, diarrhoea and then constipation. He listened attentively, nodded and wrote some notes down. He then proceeded to say the following, “There is a small chance of people who have ongoing effects of Salmonella. It’s something as small as 2% chances of ongoing medical issues due to damage caused – but you should be fine. Don’t forget you had a severe case of a Salmonella infection”.

I was given a cocktail of laxatives and sent on my way home. Told that the laxatives taken were mild and could be taken daily and to not exceed the minimum dosage because my bowel will re-regulate again and be okay. Okay?! I was far from it.

I refer to the three months post Salmonella as my ‘teething’ period. You know, the time when you are kind of okay and your body is preparing you for the next big phase in your life. It’s going through some big changes, changes that will set you up for growth.

The amount of growth I had ahead of me physically, mentally and emotionally were definitely not preconceived nor were they predetermined. It really was only the beginning.

II VII MMIX / 02/07/2008

For my followers and those who pass on by, I thought I would share with you what I posted on Facebook for my six year anniversary (also known as my re-birth day)

Today is the anniversary of the most important day of my life. It’s the day where I was given my second chance after being given a death sentence of 4 weeks – my ‘rebirth day’ if you will. It’s the day I went under the knife and became a permanent Ostomate.

Every year I try to put into words to try and explain the toughest time of my life, but typing a few characters just doesn’t do me justice.

There’s no words to describe getting a phone call three days prior with a nurse telling you “you’re at the top of the list now after the critical cancer patients. The second of July it is”. Nothing could have prepared me for the battle and journey that would occur from then on.

I can’t use words to portray the visual of waking up groggy to the most intense burning pain you could ever imagine. A pain that I only have to close my eyes and it takes me back to the cold sterile walls of St George Hospital and that God awful bed, with white linen sheets saturated in blood.

But I can say that I am ever so thankful and grateful for the life I live today. One where the options are limitless and endless – glass always full, never half-full or half-empty. I no longer am bound to the bathroom carrying enough laxatives for 30 people daily. I now walk strong, chest proud and head held high – not hunched over in pain feeling my body deteriorate daily.

To think this time six years ago I had said goodbye to my family, and today I say “I’ll see you tomorrow”. Had you asked me six years ago if I would ever enter bodybuilding competitions, or if I could squat and deadlift more than my body weight I would’ve laughed in your face.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in one way or another and for not showing me pity. Here’s to many more years of kicking goals and leading a good healthy life.

Chronicle I: In the Beginning – My Story

Like any typical teenager going back to school after a summer break I was dreading the endless hours of studying and the early mornings – however, this first day back at high-school would be one to remember for all the wrong reasons.

As cliche as it sounds, I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s all very vivid. Black and white; no grey in between. It was my first day of year nine (middle school for my overseas readers) and I was sixteen years of age. I awoke to a churning stomach, a sick feeling and I didn’t feel quite right. My mum put it down to ‘first day back nerves’ and sent me on my way.

I was freezing. Ice cold – despite the scorching Australian Summer. I was blue. Doubled over in pain and feeling like a complete wreck at school I was running to the toilet. A friend of mine followed, knowing I looked and felt like death. To my absolute horror I realized I had an accident. I’ve never felt so disgusted, repulsed and scared in my life. I was sick to my stomach in every which way of the word!

By 9:30am I was sent home. My mum came to pick me up and took me to the local doctor. In that half an hour at school I went from feeling a little cold and queasy to living in the bathroom at a complete and utter loss.

I was able to see the doctor immediately. He took one look at me and sent me home with a request for a stool sample and blood tests to be run. The results were to be ready in two days due to the severity of my vomiting and diarrhea. It wouldn’t stop. I cannot put into words the intense pain, the twisted cramping as though someone had my bowels in a meat grinder and the burn as my body was violently eradicating all contents of my bowels from every way possible.

Three days had gone and there was no news from the pathologist and doctor. My mum was on the phone straight away to the doctor who said the results had not come in and to call the pathologist. In a sick twisted turn of unfortunate events, the pathologist had no record of my stool sample (how the hell someone loses a stool sample is an absolute joke and beyond me!) thus, no results. I had to do the test again and wait another three days for results. As each day went on without a diagnosis, treatment or any assurance that I was going to be okay, I continuously regressed both mentally and physically.

After six days of no diagnosis, meaning no antibiotics or treatment I was on deaths door. My body was deteriorating. I could not walk. I could feel my muscles eating themselves to sustain my body. I was shutting down physically, mentally and internally. I could not keep any good or liquids down, completely bound to the toilet with one end on the toilet and my head in a bucket. Even though I hadn’t eaten or drank anything, my body still felt the need to reject any remnant left inside of me.

I honestly have never wanted to go to sleep forever. Yes, I thought I was going to die and I can’t believe I’ll admit to this, but I want to be honest and open with you – I wanted to die.

By the sixth day, we returned to the doctor. I was worse than ever. Green in complexion, posture so poor and my body had withered away. Rushed into the surgery and hearing the doctor say ‘you have a Salmonella food poisoning infection’ I was a little shocked and albeit mad. I had never thought food poisoning could absolute rip right through someone (literally and physically!) like it had done to me. I had prepared myself to hear that I had contracted some rare autoimmune disease or perhaps I had some mystery illness. But no, it was ‘just‘ Salmonella.

As the six days had passed and the first stool sample had gone missing, the food that had caused the Salmonella food poisoning infection was long gone out of my system (thus we were unable to find the original food source, and even to this day I cannot prove where I got sick from originally. In saying this I am 90% certain I know where it was from but cannot name due to legal reasons).

Sent home with a diagnosis and treatment of antibiotics and enough electrolytes to hydrate a nation, I thought all my troubles were behind me and that after the seven days of treatment I would be 100% healthy again and have no more issues. The salmonella would be a thing of the past and it would just be a distant memory.

Boy, was I wrong. And so began my never ending battle from January 2006 – full of its highs and lows, with more lows than I would like to remember or acknowledge, with the majority of ‘highs’ from pain killers like Valium.

Stay tuned for Chronicle II in the coming days as I reflect, remember and rehash old memories and experiences to not only educate and inform you, my readers – but to also inspire and put into words what I have struggled with for quite some time now.

Bear with me.