Manbag #12

It’s been a couple of month’s since I’ve written. No major reason, just getting used to the ‘new normal’, getting in to my new job and getting back in to running.

Post decision not to have a reversal I had a really flat period. Looking back it wasn’t because of a doubt about the decision, I know that it was the right decision for me. But I realised that up until that point I had been mainlining adrenaline for the 9 weeks post operation. Really high levels during the hospital phase and medium levels in the getting used to all the new shit (pun intended) phase. Then post decision, whoosh, my body goes ok, new normal, no need for adrenaline.

Adrenaline is a great drug, keeps you going during that fight or flight stage, but like all great drugs (allegedly!!) when it stops, the come down can be quite harsh. But I think I’ve worked that through now. So, while there was that flat spot, it was really about life returning to my ‘new normal’.

What does my new normal look like, very similar to pre-op, I go to work, I run, I write, I socialise, generally do ‘stuff’, the same as most people and with a lot less issues than a lot of people with a medical condition. The only caveat is I just need to take a bit of care, carry my manbag with me 98% of the time I go out.

I did get a bit complacent, began to not take my manbag out with me when I was around town but a couple of rapidly filling bags soon put an end to that without any major disasters. But I am so glad that we don’t have carpets in the flat!

As you get used to your ‘new normal’ there are some milestones, a few rites of passage with my manbag.

Staying in a hotel

First night in the van

Staying at a friend’s house – lot’s of carpet!

Having an Indian

Nearly all of those challenges are psychological rather than physical – you worry about a sudden leak or dropping a used bag while changing (which I never have) but you still worry, especially with the carpet! There are a few physical challenges, cramped toilets, not enough space to lay things out but nothing that you can’t deal with. It’s just the ‘new normal’

So, a couple of weeks ago it was my sixth month anniversary, hard to believe. I didn’t really celebrate. I did, briefly, think about sitting on the toilet and reading a chapter of ‘England’s Dreaming’, just like the ‘old’ days, but decided in the end that it was a bit futile, so I went out and had a beer.

On the good news front, one benefit of having a stoma is that you qualify for a Medical Exemption Certificate, all you need to do is get your GP to fill in a form, send it off and about 10 days later your certificate arrives. Previously I paid £120 for a pre-paid annual exemption certificate, this is valid for 5 years so a saving of £600. If I was to criticise the otherwise excellent support that I received, courtesy of the NHS, nobody told me that you can get this certificate.

The picture at the top of the post is my latest manbag. This is my casual summer manbag, I have the smart autumn/Winter manbag that you have seen previously and a yet to be revealed sporty manbag that I use for hiking and long runs when I get round to them in a couple of months.

Take care


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A 50 something film and digital photographer based in Kendal, Cumbria. Blogging about mental health, mental wellbeing, living with a colostomy and music memories.

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