Eyes flicker, merging darkness with darkness. Entering a world of infinite possibilities you soften to the sound of your own heavy breathing. Chest rising, and falling, inflating your lungs with crisp, cold air. You feel your heart beat in your chest, hear it in your temples. It’s so quiet you can almost hear the blood flooding your veins. Your fingers begin to tingle as you re-position yourself and move them from underneath your head. Flexing each finger individually, smiling at the familiarity of your hand coming back to life. You wiggle your toes, stretching out fully before curving in on yourself, hugging your arms close to your chest for warmth. You exhale, counting sheep…1, 2, 3. You Inhale, role over, flex your toes, move your hair away from your eyes. You turn, inhale, exhale. Sleep is imminent, you wait patiently for it to engulf you entirely, send you into a world all your own, when your eyes suddenly dart open. A pain sears through you, landing in your back and sending your whole body rigid. Your breathing stops, your arms shoot to your stomach instinctively. You ride the tidal wave of pain, remembering the ritual you’d taught yourself. Count to 4, slowly and surely. 1, it radiates outward, circling your belly button, slithering and circling like a beast stalking its prey. 2, it darts inwards, as if wishing to remind you it can claim whichever part of you it wants. 3, it tightens around you, inside and out you feel yourself clench. Your breathing is sharp, your lungs failing to cope with the intensity. 4, it begins to ease off, your vice-like grip around your stomach loosens. You are catapulted back into reality, sleep a distant memory. A pain only lasting a few seconds, but the destruction is obvious. You can’t sleep, can you? Maybe you can. Surely this time you can. You flex your toes, roll over and feel your arm beginning to sleep, the familiar tingle darting up your arm. Your eyes close, you focus on your breathing. You roll over, you smile, you can feel the blood circling your head, reminding you everything is working. You breathe, in and then out, in and then out. You relax. Your body softens, you clutch yourself for warmth. You smile. Everything is okay, everything will be okay. You feel your eyes close and your mouth fall open, sleep is fast approaching. You turn, you stretch, you breathe.
Do you remember your first kiss? Do you remember the quickening of your pulse, the fast, rhythmic beat of your big lion heart, pounding in it’s bony cage? The butterflies that danced in your stomach and leapt from your lips, catapulting themselves into lightening bolts, electrifying the humid air between you both? The awkward shuffle of your feet trying desperately not to stand on the others toes? This is the meaning of love: to be so completely overwhelmed, so consumed by the beauty of another human being that for a few seconds no one else exists but you and them. Passion. These are the moments that make us feel alive. Grasp them with every ounce of your being.
My loyal followers, I feel as though I owe you an apology; I have not provided you with a steady source of literature. As an avid reader myself, I know the importance of a daily or weekly update. I believe it to be almost, if not a whole month since I last updated, so please accept my sincere apologies.
However that being said, I have been watching the view count on my blog rapidly increasing. To everyone in Sweden: Tjenare! (I believe this to mean hello?) I would like to thank every single one of you reading this, it is incredible enough that people from Britain are reading my blog, but to know that people from all over the world are reading, I am completely overwhelmed. So to everyone, Hola, Goddag, Hello, Hei, Bonjour, Guten Tag, Dia dhuit, Helo, Hej! Welcome to Sallystoma, for those who are here for the first time, let me tell you a little about myself: my name is Roisin Robertson. I am a 19 year old woman from Scotland. I love reading, writing, swimming, antique furniture, music and painting my nails. I studied psychology at university for a year but I now work in an auction room. I used to have an ileostomy bag, Oh, and I have Crohns Disease.
Crohns Disease is a disorder of the digestive tract, it causes swelling, ulcers, bleeding and inflammation anywhere from your mouth to your bum. It is a life-long disease and let me tell you now: it is literally a right pain in the arse! It affects approximately 60,000 people in the UK (according to the official National Association of Crohns and Colitis website) and it is more commonly diagnosed in younger adults. My experience with Crohns disease has been both incredibly terrifying and utterly life changing. Through having this disease I have met the most amazing people, made friends from across the globe and connected with others who are suffering along side me. After struggling for two years with agonising stomach cramps, bouts of chronic constipation and/or constant diarrhoea, bleeding, extreme weight loss, hair loss, snapped nails, bruising on my joints and a borderline mental breakdown my bowel took a hissy fit and decide to spontaneously combust. As hilarious an image this is, it has been the most painful experience of my nineteen years on planet Earth and as crazy as this may sound: I wouldn’t have changed a thing. A very kind man from Sweden reminded me recently that the bad things in life are what mould you as a person. They allow you to grow, expand and blossom, in a way that is completely unique to your own life. It is something you can own and in your own sweet time, you can re live it, again and again.
For those of you who have followed me from the beginning, thank you. You’ve no idea how big a part you all played in my recovery. When I uploaded a picture of myself to Facebook in nothing but my nick-nacks, baring my ileostomy bag, I was shaking with adrenaline, unsure of the response I would receive but I was moved to tears when the notifications started pouring in with messages of support and encouragement. In a place as small as Tayside, to have hundreds of people message me was one of the best feelings you could ever imagine, I’ve saved each and ever one of your comments and I will always have them to read back again and again, so thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
The reason I am writing this post is because this blog recently reached 17,000 views, SEVENTEEN THOUSAND VIEWS! My hope when I first started writing this blog was to spread the word about a disease that wasn’t highly talked about and to have reached 17,000 views is an incredible achievement, I owe it all to you, yes, you reading this right now! So thank you, from the tippy top of my head, all the way through my slightly shorter than average bowel, down to the tips of my toes: thank you. I am eternally grateful.
If you stumble upon this blog as you are frantically searching Google for an answer to an embarrassing question about your stoma, your irregular bowel movements or a family member with Crohns then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. I am part of a fantastic group on Facebook who I can put you in touch with, and if my personal experience can be of any help then I am right here, ready and willing to help!
As always, thank you for reading, sharing and believing. – R. x