Day 12 – (part 1) ‘Unlearning’

Today was ‘release back into captivity day’ but we’ll get onto that in ‘Part 2’….

Did I mention I have a Stoma? No, really, I do

“You haven’t mentioned it at all Simon” I hear you cry whilst rolling your eyes.

It’s alright for you, you only have the inconvenience of allowing your mind to briefly think about it, let alone empty or change it.

As my Stoma nurse said “You will get used to it, but you will never love it”. Love it, love it, emotional progression for me would be to rise above hate, say ‘reluctantly accept’.

You may panic not that I will go into graphic detail of its functionality (I am sure you can work that out for yourselves) but I will tell you that what I have is an iliostomy . (Stay with me I’m working up to today’s title)

Essentially an ileostomy bypasses the whole of the large bowel, so in simple terms is connected to the small intestine.

Having had no reason to ponder this before, I mean why would I?, I had no idea of the ramifications for the ongoing diet and well being this would have.

Old Johny Colon (which I am assuming that most of you have) performs the task (amongst other things) of extracting water, salts and sugars from your food. During this process the poo becomes more solid etc etc (sorry I said I wasn’t going to have a poo conversation. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it)

With me so far? So for me just as the contents of my stomach and small intestine would have joined my bowel ‘out you go son!’ It exits through my side, and here’s the rub, with the majority of water, salt, sugar & other useful stuff with it in the process.

Oh dear, now what do we do?

Unlearning point No. 1

Drinking lots of water will make you dehydrated, what? Did you say dehydrated? Yep, it becomes a vicious circle of water in water out with no hydration or nutritional benefit. Solution – drinking Dioralyte or non carbonated isotonic drinks as well as some ‘stodgy’ food. Drink 1.5- litres of fluid a day of which should only contain 500ml of plain water, the remainder should be isontonic fluids, hi juice sugary squash, flat fizzy drinks high in sugar.

Unlearning point No. 2

Take as much salt as you can, put salt in your food, eat salty crisps, junk basically.

But what about my blood pressure? – won’t make a different, you see it’s not all being absorbed, this will just keep pace with what the body needs. Salt, salt and more salt.

Unlearning point No. 3

Cream, butter and sugar are your friends…

Same rules as above. Now I’m kinda liking this one. The though of eating endless small tubs of Kelly’s cream of Cornish ice cream makes Simon a happy boy.

In fact to be honest there are lots of my ‘new diet’ that I could easily settle into:-

Typical Breakfast:

Porridge with honey or golden syrup , tea with full fat milk followed by toast and salted butter with honey or marmite. NO I’m a hater of the Marmite

Without going into my diet ad nausium suffice to say that given time there is enough scope to keep me entertained and fed.

Certain foods are absolutely verboten as they will block my stoma:

  • Nuts
  • Celery
  • Mushrooms for some reason?
  • Leaks

And my beloved sprouts will unfortunately create hurricane force gas that could blow off the stoma. It’s got to be worth doing that one once for shits and giggles (literally)

I have (and I do hope temporarily) lost my love of food, I have gone from ‘love to eat’ to ‘eat to live’ , this is natural apparently, and will return over time. Preferably not before I go back down to a 34″ waist.

To be continued……


Day 11 – ‘Anne Widdecombe saves the day’


Day 13 Unlearning (part 2)


  1. Ruth Billen

    Simon, you have a way with words! I hope that you are finding this therapeutic, keep writing, how you and Ali find humour in everything is a skill and will help you keep each other going, hope you are resting after your travels home, look after yourself and your ghost writer! Ruth xx

    • Simon

      Thanks Ruth, this blog has been our release mechanism, we are absolutely shattered now, but pleased to be home x

  2. Rosemary and Francis Polglase

    Thank you for this mine of information…the mind boggles! Delighted you are now home and on the way to full recovery…Oh no doubt you will get especially spoilt tomorrow…I wonder why?! 😘Xx

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