This Christmas it’s ‘Love Actually’

Originally published on: December 13th, 2021. Last modified on December 15th, 2021

We are hoping that Christmas 2021 is a more cheerful affair for most of us than last year, with some restrictions having been relaxed enough for us to celebrate the season with family and friends. Although we’re not out of the woods yet, in terms of the coronavirus, the isolation that many of us felt just a year ago is hopefully starting to become less of a memory as we make plans to be with our nearest and dearest.

For this Christmas we hope for you all that it is, well…. love, actually!

We asked our community what they will be doing differently this year.

Here are some of your wonderful stories…

I will be raising a glass to my health in Malta this Christmas

Eilleen Cordingley, 50 spent years struggling with the symptoms of diverticulitis until two years ago when she underwent surgery to remove her colon and form an ileostomy. Here Eilleen tells us why she will be toasting to her better health in Malta this Christmas.

“My issues all started when I was a baby and I was diagnosed with diverticulitis, which initially led to me having a partial bowel resection. I’ve struggled on and off all my adult life with diverticulitis, but one particular Christmas two years ago, I found myself in pain again but as I  was due to go away on holiday I dosed up on antibiotics. I was in so much pain and  I  can remember standing on the balcony in Malta, watching the sun going down feeling like life wasn’t worth living and that I was fed up with fighting.

“Less than 24 hours after getting home, on New Year’s Eve, I couldn’t take the pain any longer and I called 111 for advice. I saw a surgeon within an hour of arriving at Northwick Park Hospital  and I was whisked into surgery to have my colon removed and an ileostomy formed. I saw the New Year in, high on pain relief – who needs champagne! Having the surgery was the best thing I’ve done. I don’t want a reversal, as I love the freedom my stoma gives me. My stoma is high output, which means I need to empty it half an hour after I eat.

“This Christmas, I will be flying back to Malta. I have my travel plans made and I hope to fly business class. I have extra baggage allowance  and I will carry a stoma kit in with my hand luggage, with extra in my main luggage and my medical passport to explain what I’m carrying.

“I know the hotel well, and the chefs are great at catering to my low fat, low fibre diet. I want to stand on that same balcony and watch the sun go down with joy and happiness that I have been well for two years and I have a new job after being made redundant twice during lockdown – and that I can now enjoy my hobby of swimming which I wasn’t able to do before.

“I have not let Covid get me down and I am fitter and healthier than I have been in years. I can honestly say that my operation saved my life and  has given me a positive outlook  for years to come.”

I’m looking forward to being with family and friends this year – I don’t let incontinence stop me

Mike, from our support group tells us about his plans.

 “I’m definitely looking forward to Christmas and seeing family and friends that I otherwise wouldn’t see. We entertain at our house so I can easily take care of my needs as they arise and I’ll typically monitor what/when I eat or drink to  better control my continence.

“The holidays are special and it’s important we don’t allow our issues to take anything away. I know it can be tough as I have lived with bladder and bowel incontinence since 1997 but a little planning makes it easier.

Remember , our issues do not  define us, they make us stronger!”

I will be in my first home this Christmas!

Amelia from our support group will be celebrating Christmas in an extra special way this year – and we send our congratulations from the team here at Bladder & Bowel Community!

“This  Christmas will be the first one spent with my boyfriend of three years… and in our first new home together too! We move in on the 17th December.”

Whatever you plan on doing over the festive period, the team here at Bladder and Bowel Community wish you a  happy, safe and healthy Christmas and New Year.

Don’t forget, you can always connect with others during the festive season with our closed Facebook group. With nearly 17K members, this really is a community which understands what it’s like to live with a bladder or bowel condition. You are not alone.

Why don’t you let us know what you’re up to over the holidays? Whether it’s a quiet one with your nearest and dearest, or stepping out a little further! Drop us a message to [email protected] or you can message our Facebook or instagram page.

Above all else, have a Happy Christmas, and Stay Safe.