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This is my blog: The Stolen Colon

Recharge and refocus

Life has a crazy way of just happening. That hit me like a ton of bricks over the past few weeks. I feel like I have been all over the place and I haven’t had the easiest time handling it.

I took a summer course for grad school. It was only a 5-week semester, which is great for getting 3 credit hours in that short amount of time, but it meant a lot of work over that time period. I felt like I had hardly any time to just relax and breathe over the session, much less spend time on other projects. Plus, there’s something to be said for brain exhaustion. It’s much more difficult, at least in my experience, than physical exhaustion. I just finished up the course at the end of last week and I still feel like I’m making up for being so tired.

On top of that, in the past month, I have been working on a number of big projects at work, I celebrated my 4-year anniversary with my husband and we almost bought a new house. It’s probably a good thing that didn’t work out, because I can’t imagine being in a spot right now where we would be packing up our house and going through the process of buying another. Things are already crazy without that!

But I’m ready to move on now and get back to a normal life. I have missed blogging and spending time with my friends online. I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and I have been putting some thought today into what I hope to accomplish here over the coming months. I am trying to be more thoughtful with my goals and to not overload myself so I don’t get sidetracked along the way. So here’s what I’ve got so far, as I try to keep it simple…

  • Get back to regular blog posts on The Stolen Colon (at least twice weekly).
  • Run 3x a week for 2+ miles.
  • Start home renovations (We decided that even though we aren’t selling right now, we should still get the house ready for when we do.)
  • Enjoy 3 weeks of break before the next semester starts.
  • Spend some time outdoors (when it’s not 90+ degrees.)
  • Start back the semester strong at the end of the month.
  • Travel to Florida for work-trip. (Anyone in the Orlando area wanna hang out??)

So now that I’ve taken some time to get back on track, I’m ready to get moving again! See you again soon.

Follow Friday: The Great Bowel Movement

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Follow Friday post on here, which is kind of sad because there are so many great resources out there that are worth highlighting! So this week I wanted to andrea megan gbm great bowel movement stoma colon ostomy ileostomy ileoscopy hospital procedure IV stomach stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd blog ostomy bag pouchtalk about an awesome organization for those living with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, ostomies, j-pouches and anything in between.

The Great Bowel Movement is all about awareness. The organization was started by Megan & Andrea and their main purpose is to empower patients and start conversations. GBM highlights patient stories and hopes to inspire others with IBD to share their experiences. One of my favorite things they offer are their Awareness T-shirts. They have shirts that encourage people to “Ask Me” about Crohn’s disease or ostomy or IBD. (You can see me in my T-shirt — showing off my ostomy — in the picture that I posted on here a few months ago.)

ostomy ibd inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis ileostomy invisible illness stephanie hughes stolen colon blogI also really admire the fact that GBM desires to work with other groups and organizations and not compete with them. On their site it states, “Together we stand.  With over 1.4 million IBD patients, and even more with ostomies, the best way to achieve awareness is to stand together and work for a common cause.  At the Great Bowel Movement, we are committed to working with other individuals and organizations with common missions of IBD awareness and empowerment.  When we begin to compete against each other, our cause becomes diluted and our effectiveness decreases.” That gives me so much respect for them. I know sometimes, even in the non-profit world, people and organizations can get caught up in competing for support, but especially in trying to promote awareness for something like IBD, it’s so important to come together and work towards that common cause.
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Arrivederci, inverno

I will never understand how the months continue to fly by so quickly that you hardly even notice them coming or going. It seems that every time I turn around I’m looking at another month and another set of things that need to be done in the following four weeks.

april spring flowers warm hot weather season stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd blog ostomy

On the bright side, however, Spring has finally decided to make its way to North Carolina. And it’s really coming on strong. I believe we got up to 86-degrees today. And while I usually do like a bit of more transition in between my seasons, I am not complaining about the heat because all I care about is the fact that the cold is gone! And I’m just hoping it’ll stay that way.

March was a little sad for me on here. I hate that I didn’t get the opportunity to write more on The Stolen Colon, but things have really picked up around here. But thankfully (and hopefully!) April is my last month, at least for the foreseeable future, where I have more things to do than I have time to do it in. So as long as I can make it through the next 30 or so days, I’ll be in the clear.

I have a few major events going on this month. I actually am heading out-of-town next week for a work trip in Florida and I will be gone for four days. Two days after I return is my third half-marathon race. And just two weeks after that is the Take Steps Walk for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and I am on the planning committee. And during all of this, I am having to conduct my research for my grad school project and getting the information ready to present as a final report. Needless to say, I am a little worried about being able to get it all done.

Usually in times like this, I just take a deep breath and take it a day at a time. But the fact that so many of the things going on this month need a lot of leg work and planning done beforehand, that practice doesn’t seem to be working well for me. I am having to think about three steps ahead and try to get as much done in each day as I possibly can.

There is good news, however. Well, first of all, let me say that none of this is bad news. These are all things that I really love and enjoy and I am so glad to be participating in all of them… I just wish they didn’t happen to be going on all at the same time. But I do have big plans for unwinding afterwards. My husband and I are planning our first trip to Europe!

As soon as we get to May, I have my final paper due that first week and then three days later we will be boarding a plane for Italy. I am so excited! We haven’t taken a big trip since our honeymoon and, like I said, this will be both of our first trips to Europe. And I am so looking forward to not worrying about anything that I need to be doing and just enjoying the history and the food… and the wine!

It’s going to be amazing. Although, I haven’t had much of a chance to really think about it because there are so many other things that need to be thought about right now. But in the back of my mind, I know that all I need to do is push my way through the next five weeks and prepare for an incredible trip.

  • The Stolen Colon
    • Plan things ahead of time so I don’t run out of time and not put up any new content.
  • Grad School
    • Finish research and interviews for my project.
    • Work in small amounts whenever I can so I’m not overwhelmed with too much all at one time.
  • Work
    • Enjoy my first work trip to Florida!
    • But don’t let the trip put me behind on everything else I need to do.
  • Training
    • Finish out the final two weeks of my training strong.
    • Run a great half-marathon! (And hopefully PR!!)
  • Personal
    • Work hard on the CCFA Walk for the next three weeks so we can put on an amazing fundraiser for Crohn’s disease & ulcerative colitis research.
    • Finish up planning for trip to Italy.
    • Find some time to breathe.

Confession time

I have been having a rough go at it lately. Really, almost this whole month has been a difficult one for me to get through. I have been feeling exhausted, unmotivated, mildly depressed, and overly stressed. Most of all, I just feel tired.

Every morning I wake up feeling more worn out than I did the night before and completely unprepared to face the day. I think this all has probably shown up in my posts recently. I have made reference to the fact that I’m having trouble sleeping, been dealing with consistent headaches and feeling unmotivated in my training for my half-marathon. Since I’ve been so tired in the mornings, I can hardly pull myself out of bed in time for work, much less to get in a run. And after work I am already run down for the day and usually have too much going on, anyways. So I have been doing zero during the week runs or exercises and in order to keep up with my training, I’m just huffing my way through 6 or 7 miles, which is not the way to do it.

And there’s no good reason for any of this, either, which makes me feel guilty on top of all of everything else. I know that I have no right to feel this way because there are so many other people who deserve to more than I do… and many of them don’t. So I’m not saying all of this to make anyone feel bad for me or anything like that. I’m just trying to be honest as I work on my own issues.

I think all of this has come about by being overwhelmed with so many things going on right now. Work, school, commitments, activities. I am in the middle of midterms and have a big paper due on Sunday that I feel totally unprepared and uninspired to write. I hoped to crank out 2 or 3 pages last night and I think I made through about 6 sentences before my brain shut down. 

And I put a lot of pressure on myself with The Stolen Colon and with other activism activities and I feel the need to write a certain number of posts on a certain number of relevant topics. And I am so behind on replying to emails and reaching out to people online, and I really hate that.

So I am taking a few days to sort it all out. At least enough time to get through this midterm and find my footing again. This blog and the people I have met because of it are some of the most important things in my life. I don’t want my posts on here to be posted just for posting’s sake. I want them to mean something. I want them to be either well thought out and researched or the product of a burning issue in my heart.a manifesto for a simple life - eat less, move more buy less, make more stress less, laugh more feel blessed love more find a quiet spot every day and breathe.  stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd osotmy blog

I know this isn’t how things are supposed to be. I know that I have no good reason to feel depressed or feel so exhausted, and I also know that it’s up to me to fix that. I know happiness is more about making a decision to be happy than anything and I just need a little time to figure out what I need to do (or stop doing) in order to find that. I just need to remember what’s most important and determine the best way to stay involved in everything I love and to really make it all count. I love you guys and I will see you again soon.

I found this quote online today and thought it was worth sharing…