Category Archives: Active Ostomy

I have become much more active since I had surgery to get my ostomy. These posts are about some of the activities I can now enjoy.

Will run for ostomy awareness

In just a few short weeks, World Ostomy Day 2016 will be here. And yes, it’s a day for raising awareness, but I think I have found a better way to celebrate the day… And that’s by doing things that I wouldn’t have been able to do prior to getting an ostomy. For me, that has been running.

will run for ostomy awareness 5k resilience

For the past 2 years, I have taken part in the WannaWearOne Ostomy 5K. The first year I did it from out of town as a part of the virtual race and last year I was able to compete in a local race in Durham, NC. (But that isn’t the only local race! Keep reading for more info!) ostomy run race resilience wannawearone This year, the race is taking on a different name: Run for Resilience Ostomy 5K. And I think that’s a very fitting title, because it’s about showing that having an ostomy does not have to stop you from doing whatever you want to do.

Last year’s race was not an easy one for me. I was about 3 months postpartum and I hadn’t been running in a very long time. But it was important to me to take part in this race and to do what I could to show myself and others that having an ostomy was not going to hold me back. I figured I was probably the last person in the race, but amazingly I was not, and I actually ended up winning 3rd place among ostomates in the race! (Check out my LIVE IN ACTION video below!)

So I encourage you this World Ostomy Day to get involved. The Run for Resilience is a great opportunity to do so. (And here’s a Where’s Waldo? opportunity for you: Can you spot me on the Registration page??) The run features races in 5 physical locations–in both the US & the UK–and a virtual race available for everybody to take part. Basically, the virtual race allows you to run wherever you are, while still being a part of the event and the awareness raised. Just be sure to post pictures using #IAmResilient! The races take place on different days during October, so check out the website for what’s happening near you.

Even if running isn’t your thing, find a way to do something. Think about things you couldn’t have done before your surgery. Maybe it is eating a certain food or sitting through a whole movie or going hiking. Find whatever it is and do it! Show yourself and the world that you are resilient and an ostomy is not going to hold you back!

ostomy run race resilience wannawearone

 

Run for ostomies, raise awareness at WannaWearOne Ostomy 5K

We are less than a month away from World Ostomy Day and with that comes the 2nd Annual WannaWearOne Ostomy AWEARness 5K! And the original race started right here in my backyard in Durham, NC, but this year there are 2 more events in Kingsport, TN, and Portland, OR.

wwo2015

This is truly a one-of-a-kind event that is meant to raise awareness for ostomies. It started as a joint event between two of the hospitals in the area where people tried wearing an ostomy bag to learn a little more about what it is like to have one. It has since morphed into a race that raises money that goes towards the UOAA and ostomy awareness and support.

Keeping with that theme, one of the unique parts of this race is that all race gear bags come with an ostomy bag. Those without ostomies are encouraged to wear the bag during the race and even have the option of filling the bag with items like applesauce and pudding to give participants a small glimpse into what it feels like to wear an ostomy bag.

wannawearone ostomy awearness 5k run race ileostomy colostomy urostomy stolen colon ibd World Ostomy Day and the race take place on Saturday, October 3. If you are in one of these areas or able to make the trip, you should definitely check it out! But even if you aren’t close or able to travel, you can still be a part of the event by doing the virtual race. I actually did this last year since I happened to be traveling on World Ostomy Day. You simply run on your own, but can still raise awareness, fundraise and support the cause.

Here is all the information you need to register. Whether you are able to attend or do the virtual race, you can still be a part of the event. Even if you are unable to run, please consider donating towards the goal of spreading awareness and providing help for those living with an ostomy.

I will be out at the Durham event this year and little Waylon will be supporting the cause, too! We’d love to get to see you. If you have any questions, you can reach out to the coordinators through the website, or feel free to email me and I’ll help however I can. Or you can email me to simply let me know if you’re coming! I hope I get the chance to meet some of you.

2015 WannaWearOne Ostomy AWEARness 5K

Fighting against myself

I had a rough run this past week. It was a 10K here in Raleigh that I had signed up for a while ago. A man, was that a hard 6 miles.

It was my own fault; I fully admit that. I hadn’t trained well, I hadn’t been staying hydrated, I didn’t warm up a lot beforehand. I also spent the previous week at a trade show for work which meant three days of standing for eight hours straight in high heels. Not the ideal way to spend the week before a race. Plus, it was cold and rainy outside. Basically, it was the perfect storm of awfulness.

This was also my first 10K. Actually, it was my first race that was not a half-marathon. Half-marathons are all about pacing. 10Ks are a bit different. Too short to need to put as much focus on pace, but too long to just run all out. I had planned to try to focus on training on getting a little more speed. I was simply hoping to break the 1:00:00 mark. But a number of things going on in the past few weeks and months had gotten me out of the habit of running and training as I had planned.

10k race run stephanie hughes out of the bag colostomy ileostomy crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd ostomy blog stolen colon top 10 reasons to have an ostomy ileostomy colostomy urostomyAnd the moment I started running this race, I could tell it was not going well. My legs felt heavy and I was immediately exhausted. I also did not run with my phone, which I usually do. I got the new iPhone and it doesn’t fit in the pocket very well, so I figured I would just go for it without timing myself and see what happens. (Yah, I know, I need a watch.) I also somehow ended up at the front of the pack when the race started. It was a small race, only like 115 people, but still, I am not a front of the pack kind of runner. So I immediately got myself over to the side so the other faster people could pass, but then I realized just how depressing it is to see dozens of people passing you along the way.

I kept telling myself to just keep moving. It was hard. The course was very hilly, especially at the Start/Finish line area. I felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace. I kept trying to figure out in my head how long it was going to take me, since I didn’t have my phone to help me pace. I felt for sure that I was doing like a 13:00 mile, which is slower than I’ve run for all three of my half-marathons.

Much to my surprise, however, I ended up running across the finish line at 1:02:54. I was both excited that I was not running nearly as slow as I thought (It was actually a 10:08 pace), and also frustrated that I was so close to my goal and didn’t quite make it. I knew that if I had trained just a little better or if I had been pacing myself during the race, I probably could have cut off those 3 minutes. But of course, I can’t go back.

I am not fast and let’s be honest, no matter how hard I train, I will never be a race winner. I am just not built for it and I am fine admitting that. But I do at least want to feel like I am a competitor. As I was running and watching so many people pass by me and feeling sorry for myself, I had to keep reminding myself that I was not there to race anybody. I was only racing against myself. I was only fighting my own body.

And you know… isn’t that what we have spent so many years doing? Pushing ourselves… Moving on in spite of the pain… Searching frantically for the finish line… And that’s part of what I love about running. It’s such a great metaphor for our life and our journey through it. It’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, and sometimes it just downright sucks. But if we keep going and keep pushing ourselves to take that next step, we can get to where we’re going. And no ostomy or Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can hold us back.

Post-Ostomy Day hangover

I’ve been spending the past few days in upstate New York. My husband’s family lives up this way, so we’ve been enjoying some time with them and celebrating at his cousin’s wedding. It has been a wonderful time, but unfortunately, it coincided with a very important day for me: World Ostomy Day.

World Ostomy Day is meant to be a specific day where ostomates around the world come together to spread awareness and to show that their ostomies are not slowing them down. As an ostomy blogger, I kind of feel that every day is “Ostomy Day,” but it is important to have some time set aside to talk about it as a larger group. And I am still reeling from all of the awesomeness I saw happening yesterday and the stories that were being shared.

World Ostomy Day WannaWearOne 5k stephanie hughes out of the bag colostomy ileostomy crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd ostomy blog stolen colon top 10 reasons to have an ostomy ileostomy colostomy urostomyWhile I’m so glad we got to be a part of this wedding and I wouldn’t have changed anything about this weekend, it does make me sad that I was not able to participate in the day as much as I would have liked. I am disappointed that I did not get to run in the first WannaWearOne Ostomy AWEARness 5K in person, even though I still ran a 5K yesterday morning as part of the virtual run.

And I did keep up with the things that were going on for Ostomy Day, even if just on my phone between the ceremony and reception. And as I sit here on the back porch in the crisp fall, New York air, looking over one of the most beautiful views, I think about how thankful I am. I think about how thankful I am that I am not alone in this. That there are others binghamton ny fallout there who have dealt with some of the same things I have in the past, who live with some of the same struggles I do now, and who have found a new life living with an ostomy. I feel like that’s the real point of World Ostomy Day: to show others that an ostomy is not a death sentence.

I am so proud to be a part of such a strong group of people who are living life despite being dealt a pretty crappy hand and who are making the best of a difficult situation and who are learning to not be ashamed of being different, but rather to embrace the freedom they now have. These are people who inspire me and continue to push me forward. They give me strength to sit here and write and to share my story and to never, ever apologize for who I am or whatever may be hanging off of my stomach.

And I pray that this continues long past World Ostomy Day. I pray that people continue to tell their stories and not let having an ostomy hold them back from anything in this life. I was talking with my friend the other day and trying to brainstorm some good ostomy hashtags and she came up with one I love: #OstoMYstory. So I asked her if I could steal it!

This blog is where I tell my story, but I want to encourage you to not be afraid to tell yours, too. Be proud of what you have come through and the things you have fought against. Show the world that you can still live a fabulous, beautiful life with an ostomy! Happy Day-after World Ostomy Day!