A shining highlight in the midst of the flu

My abdominal muscles are the sorest they have been since surgery. No, it isn’t because I started doing crunches, ascended the overhanging roof at the climbing gym or tried some difficult new yoga pose. It is due to having one of the most horrendous respiratory viruses I have had in years. I was hoping my flu shot would have prevented this, but alas, I caught something anyway. Each night for almost a week, I have been up all night coughing violently, and it has made my core very sore– especially around my stoma. Ever paranoid about getting a parastomal hernia, I cringe every time I feel that tickle in my throat. There seems to be no way to stop the cough though, and I know this just has to run its course. In the meantime I have been taking loads of vitamin C, doing sinus rinses, drinking various teas to ease my throat, taking cough medicine and cough drops and trying to get a good night’s sleep which has been almost impossible. Mother nature did provide some relief today in the form of a huge snowstorm. A snow day was called at my work, so I was able to have some extra time to rest at home.

Due to the worries of coughing pressure and my stoma, I have even been wearing my hernia prevention belt 24/7 for the past week. That, along with bracing my stoma area with my hand when I cough, gives my abs a bit of support while I cough. I eagerly removed my appliance on my change day this morning so I could check to see if I had done any damage with all the hacking. I was relieved to find that everything looked fine around my stoma, though the area around it is still sore to the touch. I am hoping it is just strained muscles and will clear up once I get better. It would be unfortunate to be so careful climbing and backpacking, only to get a hernia from something as simple as coughing.

Though it hasn’t been the best week due to illness, there was one absolutely amazing highlight. On Tuesday afternoon, I left work early because I felt so awful. I was about ready to plop down in my bed when I decided to check my Facebook. There I saw a message from my friend congratulating me on winning the WEGO Health Health Activist Best Kept Secret Award for Ostomy Outdoors. I had been feeling so crummy I had forgotten that it was the day to announce the award recipients. I was absolutely shocked to find out I was selected, and the excitement is still sinking in a few days later! Thank you to my husband, Doug, for posting the update when I was feeling a bit too sick and exhausted to write on my blog.


Thank you to everyone at WEGO Health and those who were involved in the nomination and judging process. I am so grateful and humbled to have been selected for the award among so many other dedicated and deserving health activists. Thanks also to everyone who reads and contributes to Ostomy Outdoors. Your thoughts, comments and stories not only help keep me motivated, but provide inspiration and encouragement to others who follow the blog.  Together we can all make a difference and help spread awareness for ostomies.

Watching my award video while resting up.