A new year!

Happy New Year everyone!

Ouch! It has been an achy start to the New Year for me. No, not because of avascular necrosis (AVN), but because I went sledding yesterday. Doug and I are up in Wyoming visiting his brother and family for the New Year holiday. Even though there is not much snow, we took our sleds out to the local hill and tried to make the best of it. On my second trip down the hill, I spun out of control and hit a rock with my shoulder and twisted my back. Fortunately it wasn’t my bad shoulder. After taking a little break, we all found a better hill and spent the afternoon building jumps and zooming down the slope. I am sure I could have found a more gentle activity, but I hadn’t been sledding in years and it was so fun. And the doctor did say I shouldn’t sit on the couch waiting for things to get worse, right? I hardly thought about AVN all day and that was a blessing.

In between fun activities up in Wyoming, I had some time to look back and reflect on 2012. Other than the bad news at the end of the year, 2012 was simply amazing. It was the first year I really got into the swing of things with my ostomy. Having one now feel so routine that I barely even think about it most of the time. I also thought about the goals I had set for this past year. I was successful in reaching some of them and was unable to attain others. Here is a summary of those goals:

  • I want to do a better job of keeping in touch with my friends and family.
    I worked hard on this one, but there is always room for improvement. Having a more introverted personality, I am not much of a phone-talker. In keeping with my love of writing, I usually prefer to email and write long letters to those closest to me, but when I do call my family and friends, I always feel so uplifted. I need to add more phone calls into 2013.
  • I want to continue sharing my thoughts on this site.
    When I started this blog in the spring of 2011, I had no idea how large a part of my life it would become. The comments and emails I get from everyone mean so much to me. You are all so inspirational! I also could not foresee how important this blog is to my own emotional health. Writing here helps me process the events in my journey with IBD, my ostomy and now AVN.
  • I want to get back into working on art.
    This is an area where I fell short. I LOVE doing art,  yet there was seldom time this year to squeeze it in between work, my outdoor and fitness endeavors and blogging. On the bright side, I did write and sketch in my nature journal quite a bit this year. Seeing that this is my favorite activity of all my art-related pastimes, I am super psyched that I was at least able to do this.
  • I want to go on a climbing road trip.
    Doug and I did go on a two-week-long rock climbing trip, and it was the highlight of my year. I have trouble finding the words to describe how amazing it was to be out on the rock again with Doug day after day. Memories of that trip are going to fuel me through any hard times that lie ahead with AVN.
  • I want to run in the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s Team Challenge Half Marathon next December.
    When I developed hip pain in the spring, I took this goal off my list. I didn’t feel that my body was up for it. Though this was very disappointing, I was happy to follow the Team Challenge adventures of several of my fellow bloggers. To all of those who participated this year: Good job! I loved reading about your Team Challenge successes.

So what is on the goal list for this year?

I have only one: to try to live in the moment as much as possible each day. I know goals are supposed to be more specific than this, but being in the moment is one of my biggest challenges. I am a person who has always planned for the future and worked hard to achieve the things I longed for in life. It seemed reasonable that if I did a and b it would at least somewhat lead to c. Barring a few surmountable obstacles, life felt like it was in my control. Lately, things feel a little different. With a chronic health condition, there are so many more variables involved. It can really make it hard to visualize the future.

In light of this, I decided that the perfect goal for the upcoming year is to focus on the present. There are so many beautiful moments in each and every day. In fact, this trip to Wyoming has been full of them:

  • Sitting down yesterday afternoon to write stories with Doug and his brother and then hearing my niece read them out loud, carefully sounding out each new word.
  • Taking a nap and having a contentedly purring cat curled up next to my chest.
  • Flying over sledding jumps and giggling like a little kid.
  • Dancing with my niece in the kitchen to Katy Perry tunes.

So here is to a great 2013! I may not know what the year will bring but I do know that by focusing on the present, I won’t let any of the joy it holds slip by unnoticed.

Catching air on the sled hill.
Catching air on the sledding hill.
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7 thoughts on “A new year!

    1. Hi Carol,

      Glad you had a happy New Year. Thanks for the encouragement! I definitely won’t give up.

      I went on a great hike yesterday up to the top of Mt. Lady Washington in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was gorgeous but super cold… definitely tricky to duck behind a boulder to swap out my ostomy pouch without my hands freezing but I managed fine. My shoulder hurt along the way but oh well. It didn’t stop me from hiking and having fun. So far the other joints seem to be doing okay. Crossing my fingers it stays that way:) Hope you are well!

      -Heidi

  1. Hi Heidi I’ve been reading for a while and lover your tips, I was just wondering do you use immodium or lomitil at all I notice when I drink water with food or and drink with sugar I get a lot of increased output, do you have issues with this and if so how do you slow stuff down. I’ve tried lomitil and immodium but sometimes end up with painful gas and feeling backed up. Thanks for your tips and help already
    -Mark

    1. Hi Mark,

      I too don’t feel well after I take Immodium (haven’t tried lomitil). It makes me feel a bit nauseated. I do keep Immodium with me at all times though in the case of an emergency where for some reason I was having crazy liquid output and was at risk for dehydration. Otherwise, I rarely take it.

      I don’t notice increased output when I drink water with food, though it does make my output wetter and less pasty (which I think is a good thing as it helps food pass through). However, I do have some things that trigger high liquid output for me. One is alcohol (especially wine) on an empty stomach. Also, drinking anything with alcohol sweeteners like sucralose on an empty stomach gives me instant liquid output. For instance, last summer I did a 5K. I didn’t eat a lot before the run and drank a Vitamin Water with sucralose after the finish line. I filled up my ostomy pouch with pure liquid output 3 times within an hour and was really afraid I was going to get dehydrated. Sometimes really sugary drinks, like soda, can do this to me on an empty stomach too, though not as much as with the alcohol sweeteners. Protein bars with Maltitol on an empty stomach also trigger high/liquid output for me. My solution has been finding the right way to mix things. For instance, I can eat protein bars with Maltitol as long as I eat some crackers with them. I can drink a Vitamin Water or soda as long as I have a bready snack like pretzels with it.

      I am especially careful with what I eat if I know I am going to be doing a climb where I can bring only a limited amount of water with me. I would hate to get high/liquid output in these situations so I eat thickening foods on those days like oatmeal and peanut butter (a handful of potato chips, though not the healthiest, work well too for thickening my output and adding some salt to my diet during activities when I am sweating a lot). I am very careful about not eating or drinking certain things when my stomach is mostly empty on such days.

      Perhaps you can experiment with combining certain foods to see if it slows down the output? I also have good luck with watering sugary beverages down. For instance, mixing my Gatorade powder at half strength or watering down soda.

      Hope this helps!

      -Heidi

  2. Hi Heidi,

    Happy 2013! I recently stumbled onto your blog and just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your posts, comments, insight, and honesty. I just turned 27 and had an ileostomy placed 3 weeks ago, related to colon cancer (and ulcerative colitis). You bring me so much hope and I am so thankful!

    Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Looking forward to your next adventure,
    Kaitlin

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