Away with the girls and Tomas

I have just come back from a lovely five days with my best friends to Barcelona. I was so ready for this break after having just recovered from my third surgery.

I had been buying clothes and bikinis for months so that I was prepared to feel great and confident on that beach and when out and about. Yes I am in my early fifties, but that doesn’t mean I should be make do with a knitted all in one swimsuit and a potato sack. I have enough issues with feeling good in what I wear with a stoma, so adding my age to the mix would just stop me going anywhere.

I am always nervous at the airport, this time not just because of Tomas causing mayhem in the customs queue, but because I have the added fun of rolled up gauze between my cheeks of my arse to absorb the perineal sinus leakage. My imagination was running wild with the that one through the scanner I can tell you. As it transpired, nothing actually happened.

This time I went through the scanner as usual and explained the stoma. The female customs officer was again lovely and said she would test the bag with the hand held drug scanner in a private room. ( Last time they just check the area of clothes over the bag. She shouted to her colleague that she had to take me off to scan me, this was embarrassing as I had to walk off to a private space behind a curtain with a second officer present. Everyone looked and I felt that they must be thinking I was a suspicious character if they needed me to go off to be searched. I felt I needed to explain to the second officer why I was being scanned as this hadn’t been explained. They were both good with me and I undid my trousers for them to put the drug detector thing on top of my bag. She went off to test the swab and came back saying all was well and I could go.

The flight was uneventful too ( my bag didn’t explode) and I was able to enjoy it.

I know that heat and alcohol are not good for us ostomates, but I still had a bit. I made sure I drank plenty of water in between and didn’t have any ill effects. Even after an evening ended with four shots of Limoncello 🙂

I decided to bite the bullet and eat seafood for the first time. I chewed well and had muscles, octopus and squid. In fact I enjoyed the seafood paella that much I had it about three times. Tomas coped perfectly and I now feel I can eat almost anything I want.

( Excuse the goofy teeth effect, it’s my brace lol)

For the first time I decided to use my  stoma support band, I am glad I did because I felt great in my dresses and you couldn’t see the telltale bump of Tomas. No one would know about my hidden stoma if I chose to cover up.

I had a couple of moments when my stomal skin itched, but this happens to me anyway because of the fistula. I changed my bag twice in the five days just because it felt dirty and the stickiness had been disrupted a bit with the shower and beach. I took a suitcase as well as hand luggage, I think just hand luggage would be hard work with the liquids I need. Not just stoma sprays but makeup etc , suncream and other toiletries. Luckily some of my friends felt the same and took cases too.

It is weird to not catch the sun all over your tummy, you end up a bit like a dart board when the bag comes off. I noticed this before…..

At Barcelona airport I forgot to take my leaflet out my bag that has my ileostomy explained in lots of different languages. I walked through the scanner and it must have flagged something because the Spanish women took me to one side and frisked me. She came across the tell tale bump of my stoma and I tried to explain what it was ” Stoma”…… Nothing from her….. ” I have stoma” ” Ileostomy ?”  . She didn’t seem to comprehend and kept patting it. In the end I pulled my trousers out a bit to reveal the bag, that did the trick and she moved me on.

Although I don’t usually mention the MS  illness in my blogs because I tend to disbelieve the diagnosis, I walked into the town with my friends and my left leg was just a complete pest. Whenever I walk any particular distance my leg becomes so weak and wobbly that I get foot drop. I then often go over on the ankle which I did then. It is such a nuisance as it makes me slow and I need to hold on to someone for the rest of the walk.

I felt very relaxed and enjoyed my break, just not looking forward to my fourth surgery, this will entail the surgeon and plastic surgeon using either the gracilis muscle from my thigh or the gluteus maximus muscle to fill the dead space in my pelvic cavity. It is the only option I have to get the best chance of stopping a perineal sinus tract  reforming. Who knew that these complications even existed? I certainly didn’t think that after my initial near death major bowel surgery , I would still be in and out of the operating theatre.

I will definitely be needing further holidays after the next one.




4 Replies to “Away with the girls and Tomas”

  1. I’m glad things went pretty well, despite needing to show the bag to be understood when ‘stoma’ and ‘ileostomy’ got blank looks at Barce airport! The dress looks fab (I wore big support knickers and got away with a dress on my first holiday too, really improves confidence a little) and it’s great you got to enjoy a few Limoncellos while you were there 😀
    Caz x

  2. Hi Clare

    Great blog and great to see that you don’t let it stop you doing anything. I’m 8 months post permanent colostomy and interspinteric APER. My stoma took two attempts as it retracted badly first time and functional the second time. I also have a sinus where the rectum was removed that gets packed and dressed daily. I’m off to see consultant in London in two weeks to see what the plan is. Good luck with the surgery and I will be following the blog. I also don’t let it stop me and have 120km ride on my horse this Sunday

    Good luck and thanks for a informative blog


    1. Hi, Kirsty, thank you for following the blog, you have been through it too, hopefully they can sort the sinus, let me know what they decide. Clare xx

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