Freedom!

stephanie hughes broken arm wrist bone cast off brace stolen colon ostomy crohns blogMy arm has been freed! Thank the Lord, I got my cast off this morning! I do still have to wear a brace for the time being, but that’s just fine with me.

It was so strange to have the cast come out. My arm looks so small. I am pretty sure it’s a combination of muscle atrophy from not using it as much and just an optical illusion since my arm has looked so much bigger in the cast for the past several weeks. I will have to some physical therapy, just to make sure I get my full range of motion back. I should start that sometime next week.

I can see now just how dry and tired my skin has become since having the cast on. I spent a while in front of the sink earlier just scrubbing it down with soap. I’m looking forward to putting lots of lotion on it later!

The brace is velcro and removable. I will be able to take a normal shower, put my hands in the sink and wear long-sleeve clothes again! Maybe even get back in the pool soon. I am supposed to keep the brace on most of the time for the next two weeks, only removing it for a few minutes at a time. After that, I should be able to start using it less, especially when doing easy activities. We will have to see how the therapy goes and should have some more answers in the coming weeks as to when I can start back some activities. But I am already enjoying my new-found freedom in no longer wearing a cast!

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Out of the Bag: Broken bones

Ostomy ostomies out of the bag Stolen Colon crohn's blog

It has been more than 5 weeks since I broke my wrist while riding my bike. (Read how it happened HERE) I actually have another appointment with the orthopedic tomorrow and I am praying that the cast will come off!

At this point, my arm feels really good, but dealing with the cast has been a major pain. I have a difficult time fitting my arm through any of my winter clothes; it gets very hot when I’m working out; my hand has become so dry due the weather and I’m not able to put lotion on much of it. But this cast is nothing compared to the splint I had on for the first week after I broke my wrist.

stephanie hughes splint broken arm radius ulna bones stolen colon crohns ostomy blogHere’s a picture I took that week that I had it on. You can’t even tell from this picture, though, how obtrusive this thing was. It wrapped around my elbow and extended all the way passed my knuckles.  I could hardly do anything with it on. Once I had it wrapped around my arm, one of my first thoughts was, “how am I going to deal with my ostomy with this on?”

The accident happened on Saturday and thankfully I had just put on a new bag on Friday. I was praying the whole week that the bag would last until I got the split off. But even then, I didn’t know how I would deal with the daily issues or with changing the bag once I had the cast on. (And yes, the bag did last me a whole week and I was able to get the splint off on Thursday… honestly, I don’t know what I would have done if it hadn’t lasted.)

I had to be very careful with emptying the bag that first week. I had very little use of my right hand/arm and you really do need two hands to empty the bag. Basically, I used my right hand to keep the bag in place while using the left to push out the contents. Cleaning the end was a bit more precarious and I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t make a mess at times, but it was doable.

Once I got the cast on the next week, things were a bit easier. I had more control over my fingers and could move my elbow, too. Getting everything out with only one hand is still a bit difficult, but I can manage. The bigger issue was once the bag change came up. I don’t order pre-cut bags because the ones I have tried hadn’t fit quite right, so I still have to cut the opening every time. Now, I’ve gotten pretty good at doing most things with my left hand, but even after more than a month, I still can’t figure out how to use scissors with my left hand. I can’t line up the blade correctly or something like that and it just doesn’t work.

So that first time I had to change it, I had my husband cut the opening. Bless his heart, it was a pretty jagged opening. I was able to use my right hand just a little bit to smooth it out some, but I decided to do it myself from them on. It was still difficult because I could close the scissors with my right hand but I couldn’t open them. I would have to open with my left hand and close with my right for each cut. (Frustrating!) But now I’m to the point where I can do it all with my right hand.

Outside of the cutting, it really hasn’t been that difficult to change the bag. It took a little time to get accustomed to using my left hand to clean the area and put on the paste, but I have that under control now. I do like to cup my hands over the bag right after I put it on to help it adhere better, and that’s hard to do with one hand, but not a big deal.

So all in all, it has taken some getting used to and been annoying, but taking care of my ostomy has still been manageable with a broken wrist. Although, I can’t express how excited I am at the prospect of getting this thing off my arm tomorrow. Here’s hoping!

Team Challenge Tuesday

Stolen colon crohns ostomy blog ccfa team challenge half marathon colitis team challenge tuesday

I have decided to use Tuesdays for the next few months to provide updates on how things are going with my half-marathon training and fundraising for CCFA’s Team Challenge.

We are now just under 19 weeks from race day. Training hasn’t officially started and won’t until the end of next month. So for now, everything I am doing is just to get myself ready for the start of training. As I’ve said in previous posts, I’ve been using the elliptical and stationary bike at the gym. Overall, that has been going well. If nothing else, I am working on my endurance and getting my muscles ready for some actual running soon. I have been trying to do around 4 or so miles at the moment. I’m hoping to start the running back up as soon as I get this cast off (and can actually wear my cold-weather running gear again!).

I haven’t officially begun fundraising yet, but my Fundraising Page is active already! This season I’m working to raise $2500 for Crohn’s and colitis research. I am currently trying to figure out how I can secure some sponsorships for the funds rather than collecting private donations. If you know of any businesses who may be interested in sponsoring a great cause, please let me know! I’d be glad to speak with them about it.

Finally, I’ve begun working to recruit runners. I have called some previous participants and talking to them about joining us again. I’m hoping to recruit some others in this area, too. Since the main NC location is in Charlotte, that’s where everything has been based in the past, so I’m hoping to bring in some participants from the Triangle. I would really love to have a great group of people right here to run with every week and work together to bring in the funds. (Again, if you’d like to run a half-marathon for a great cause, send me a message!!!)

I think this is going to be a great season. I’m looking forward to working with the other mentors and meeting all of the participants. I love the feeling of continually working towards a goal that will not only benefit me by exercising, but will help those living every day with IBD.

Welcome to the NEW Stolen Colon!

I wanted to go ahead and implement the first in a series of changes that will soon be coming to The Stolen Colon. I had originally hoped to unveil all of the changes at once, but I was too excited to wait! Plus, I haven’t quite figured out the exact changes I want to make. And as I get better with Photoshop, who knows what will be next!

I hope you enjoy the new, updated look. I’m looking forward to continuing to make this blog even bigger and better!

Let it snow… or not

We have officially had the first snowfall of 2013 here in this part of North Carolina. Not a big snow, by any means. Generally less than an inch around the area. Of course, that didn’t stop there from being dozens of accidents around the area.

january snowfall raleigh winter weather stephanie hughes stolen colon crohns ostomy blogUnfortunately, I did still have to be to work this morning by 7:30 a.m, before the sun was even fully up. It made me nervous because I usually drive a 4WD vehicle, but Jarrod has it on his trip right now. So I’m driving one of my friend’s car. Not ideal for this scenario. I hate driving someone else’s vehicle in the first place and now, I’m doing it in the snow. Thankfully, I only work about 2 miles from my house, so it was a quick drive this morning and almost no ice on that stretch of road.

Now, the sun is out strong and the ice and snow are already melting away. Good for driving, but a little sad to see it going away so quickly. I love a good snow. The world is just a little quieter when it snows. Kids are out of school. Many people aren’t going into work or making unnecessary trips. And there’s that moment of silence and purity before anyone makes that first track in the snow.

rylie snow licking deck winter weather stephanie hughes stolen colon crohns ostomy blog

Yes, that is my dog licking the snow off the deck.

Sadly, I have not been able to enjoy the snow for the past several years. Working in news, whenever it would snow it would mean that I would be called in on my day off, have to make the treacherous drive into work and spend the next several hours telling people, “Guess what? It’s snowing. Don’t drive… even though we are.” It’s mundane and monotonous. Since I stopped working in news we have had two snowfalls here, both times Jarrod has been out of town and it’s just been me alone at the house. On top of that, they’ve both been small, less-than-an-inch snows.

We’re due for a good snow around here. I mean the stay home from work, do nothing but sit by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate kind of snow. I could almost put up with a super-cold winter in exchange.