Tag Archives: New Year’s

Reflections and resolutions

New year 2015 celebration resolutions goals The Stolen Colon ostomy ileostomy urostomy colostomy Crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd colon stephanie hughes blog

This is the time of year where we always look back at the preceding 365 days to think about all that we accomplished (or perhaps didn’t) and look ahead at all of the potential there is for the next 365 days. I probably say this every year, but I love New Year’s! I love any opportunity that I am given to start over, refresh, reinvent myself. I am a big believer in new beginnings and second chances.

I also tend to be fairly quiet around this time of year, as I come off the high of holiday craziness and spend some time thinking about what this past year held, the accomplishments and the disappointments, and about where I want to go next.

I took a look back at my goals for this past year that I set out on January 1, 2014. My 5 main goals included: Implement changes for The Stolen Colon, Get organized/save money/stay on budget, Stay focused on another semester of grad school, Run my third half-marathon, and Plan an amazing vacation. I am very pleased to say that I accomplished every one of these goals in the past year. Maybe not as fully as I would have liked at times, but I’m glad to be able to read through this and know that I did follow through on some things. What I’m disappointed about is that I really didn’t stay focused on these things. Some of them were things that just naturally happened, but I really wish that I had continued to remind myself of these goals and not just hoped that they would happen at one point or another.
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2014: I’m coming for you!

Happy New Year!

Here we are once again… at the beginning a new year. This seems to happen all too often these days. But I do enjoy the opportunity to get myself focused and move past the haze of the holidays and prepare to start off another year. There’s something about the beginning of a year that makes you stop and take stock of where you are in your life and where you want to go from here. I have been doing a lot of that over the past few weeks.

I’m not a big fan of resolutions. I feel like they are just about making some big change that we often haven’t really thought out and considered what all needs to go into that. I would much rather set goals for myself that are focused on moving forward and achieving something.

I do have a tendency to set rather vague goals that aren’t necessarily measurable or within a specific time range, so I am trying to be more focused and specific this year. I am also trying to not do too much or put too much pressure on myself, so I have narrowed it down to my 5 Big Goals for this year:

  1. Implement changes for The Stolen Colon: I actually have some more specific ideas here, but I don’t want to divulge the details of them just yet!
  2. Get organized/save money/stay on budget: Somewhat vague, but I have some actual steps to take like putting together a meal plan every week, saving a certain percentage of every paycheck and I have created a budget sheet to track our expenses.
  3. Stay focused on another semester of grad school: I am taking it one semester at a time and plan to spend one hour every evening studying and reading so I’m not have to cram it in at the last minute.
  4. Run my third half-marathon (this time with Jarrod): Our race is April 13 and I’ve got my training all mapped out. And I already got my first 5K in today!
  5. Plan an amazing vacation: Jarrod and I are planning a trip to Europe this Spring! We’ve been saving and are trying to get all of the details in place. We have already met with a travel agent and hope to get everything nailed down very soon. So excited!

Those are the specific things I plan to focus on in the coming months and throughout the year. However, some of those things will be over with in the first part of the year, so I did some thinking about what I want this year to look like as a whole. We have this thing we do at work where we discuss the previous weeks and work out things that have gone right and things that have gone wrong. Then we put a graph together of things that we want to start doing or stop doing or that we should keep doing or do more of or less of:

pie graph circle start stop do more less of keep doing goal setting resolutions stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd ostomy blog

Some of these are a bit on the vague side, but these are more of ideas and principles that I want to guide me through the year.


  • stressing and worrying so much
  • taking on too many things

Do Less of

  • sleeping in too late
  • leaving the house a mess
  • procrastinating on school work

Keep Doing

  • making the bed every day
  • putting together a bunch of freezer meals to eat during the week

Do More of

  • meditation
  • date nights with Jarrod
  • healthy eating
  • exercise


  • reading for pleasure again
  • going back to the gym
  • tracking my budget every day

I have often felt in my past that I was always waiting for something to make everything… right. There was always a big “IF.” If I could find the job that I want… If I wasn’t feeling so bad… If I didn’t have to worry about this… or deal with that… THEN I would be happy. It always left me wanting something and never satisfied with all of the amazing things I have in my life. And honestly, I finally don’t have any “IF”s. I am happy and fulfilled and excited about everything that the future holds. This is going to be a great year. Because I choose to make it a great year.


Holiday hangover

I know I’m not the only one that feels like this after the holidays. For the past three months, every four weeks we’ve had another day of celebration and another several weeks of preparations and decorations. And you all know that I am a big fan of the holidays, any holiday, but I am also a big fan of when they are over and we can all get back to business as usual.

I love having a chance to celebrate with family and buy gifts to surprise people and seeing beautiful lights and trees everywhere I go, but it gets exhausting. All of the decadent meals and extra desserts… and extra alcohol. It’ll wear you out. We don’t think we make New Year’s resolutions because it’s a new year, it’s because we have to make up for everything we indulged in over the holidays!

I usually love a big New Year’s Eve party, with yummy foods and drinks and sparkly outfits, but this year, I’m thinking that an evening at home in some stretchy pants sounds more enjoyable. (Or maybe I’m just getting old…)

It has also been hard to get motivated as so many people have been off from work and there’s been so much going on that I haven’t been as good with my training. But that’s OK, the real training starts this week! We are just 15 weeks away from race day so it is definitely time to get things going. No better time to start than the beginning of a new year!

rock 'n' roll half marathon run race 13.1 miles raleigh training countdown 15 weeks stephanie hughes stolen colon running crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd ileostomy blog

2012 in review

Little did I know just 365 days ago how big of a year 2012 would be. When I think back over the past year, I seriously cannot believe how far I’ve come.

Last year at this time, I was in the middle of a series of hospitalizations that occurred every few weeks for about 6 months. I was so used to the daily symptoms from Crohn’s disease that I didn’t even realize how sick I was. And I didn’t know how good I could feel.

In just the past year, I moved on from a career in news to focus more on my health. Once that was under control, I’ve had the chance to focus on the career I’ve always wanted to have. And while I haven’t gotten there yet, I’m hopeful for the future and the opportunities that lie ahead.

I made the decision to pursue a graduate degree and have started taking the necessary steps to get there.

stephanie hughes hospital surgery colectomy stolen colon ostomy blogI exhausted my list of treatment options for Crohn’s, including new (hardly past experimental) drugs, intense and restrictive diets and basically no medication at all. I got to the point where I missed a couple weeks of work because my joints were so swollen I couldn’t get off the couch. Finally, I made the hardest (but ultimately best) decision of my life to go through with surgery to remove my colon and be given a permanent ileostomy.

I went from hardly being able to get off the couch to training for and competing in my first triathlon and half-marathon. I also took part in a great event to the support Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis research.Stephanie Hughes Ramblin' Rose triathlon race swim bike run stolen colon ostomy blog surgery ileostomy

I had a list of goals for myself at the beginning of last year, most of which I did not accomplish. I did start living a healthier lifestyle, as I had wanted, but I did not learn to sew, nor did I put in a lot of work on the book I’ve wanted to write. But like I said, this year has brought a lot of things that I couldn’t have imagined at this time last year, and while I didn’t do the sort of writing I had planned, I started The Stolen Colon, which has turned out to be one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever started. It has allowed me to meet so many amazing people. It has also given me the opportunity to use some of the difficult experiences I have had to hopefully help others.

This has been a trying year, but a great year, too. I fell to some of the lowest points that I’ve ever been, but it only made getting out of their that much better. When I see how different this year turned out from how I had planned, I wonder what could possibly be in store over the coming months. I’m looking forward to finding out!