Check your boobs

This post isn’t about IBD although I have to say lately I have been really suffering with my diet and allergies to food and Billy is changing shape and causing me issues. Which you can read about in my recent post.

Recently we went away for my 48th birthday down to our favourite place in Cornwall, Polzeath, finally able to celebrate after two years of UK Covid restrictions. The weather was beautiful, sunshine & Cornish beer, absolute heaven. My husband and I celebrated and we had so much fun, we are now newbie boarders. I am body boarding and am progressing well, boarding with a stoma isn’t an issue and I am loving being in the water.

Whilst I was chilling out in the camper I felt a lump in my left breast, my initial reaction was, it is probably nothing however we both agreed it was definitely something that I needed to get checked out ASAP.

If you have read my About Me page you will know that I ignored my IBD for quite some time, but I was 15 years old. Older and wiser and with so much information available I knew this could potentially affect my health.

As soon as we were home I went to see my local GP who referred me to the Breast Cancer Clinic at our local hospital. I had a call within a week, I visited the GP on the Tuesday and was in the hospital for an appointment the following Wednesday.

I have to admit my attitude, of it’s probably nothing soon began to wane and I started to worry and had a few sleepless nights. Even though you feel its going to be fine theres always that little tiny doubt. I thought about the implications of me being unwell again, and how it would affect us. Would we be able to cope, would I have to have surgery and treatment.

It is natural to think Breast Cancer, most people know a person who has had Breast Cancer or surgery for a lump. Once you feel a lump you can’t unfeel it, it played on our minds, my husband & I are a great team I have always got his support and his strength behind me. He brings me up when I am down and we face everything together. I am so thankful that I have him in my life.

I went along to my appointment, I did read up about what to expect at my appointment, the NHS websites are extremely informative. (A link to the NHS is at the bottom of the page) I was examined by the Consultant an X marked the spot of the lump. I was sent off for a mammogram and an ultrasound. Everything was done there and then, no coming back home & waiting for scan appointments, thank goodness, that just prolongs the worry, the staff are lovely and make you feel at ease.

I am not going to lie I was fairly calm until I went in for my consultation. The doctor said you have an interesting medical history and an impressive scar. The other ladies thought my tattoos were awesome. Anyway I digress, a mammogram is an X-ray of your breasts. The only way I can say it is, it is not a pleasant scan but don’t be put off. Medical science really has advanced and these types of scans are vital for detecting any changes and abnormalities.

The Ultrasound was the scan that brought up the results, I was able to physically see what was inside. They found I have a few cysts in the breast I am happy to say although there are a few they are harmless. The lump that I went in to get checked was very noticeable on the scan with several little dots inside.

This was the part when I did panic the specialist spent at least 20 minutes scanning me. She was almost certain that they were proteins in a larger cyst & nothing more sinister. To ensure that her diagnosis was correct she performed an aspiration of the lump and removed proteins. The relief to be told they were cysts was overwhelming. The specialist said I had done the right thing to get it checked straight away.

I will always be checking now, that was a big scare for me and my husband. I admire all these people that are faced with this situation and don’t receive the news that I did. They are so brave and strong and fighters.

If you feel a lump please get it checked, the majority of the time these lumps are just Cysts. Women and Men get lumps, don’t ignore a lump visit your GP and get checked out.

Once again I can’t thank the NHS enough for their care and dedication that they give to the public. We are extremely lucky in the UK that we have a service that we can depend on and that will always look after us. They have fixed me up so many times and I will always be grateful.

Please check your breasts regularly the details below will help you to perform a good examination. Always get your mammogram scan done when it’s due as well as your regular cervical smear test.

Look at your breasts and feel each breast and armpit, and up to your collarbone. You may find it easiest to do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit. You can also look at your breasts in the mirror. Look with your arms by your side and also with them raised.

Diet & Recent Battles

Being an Ostomate & having a bowel disease is not easy, we live with this everyday and sometimes those days are a real battle. As I have got older I have started to really take notice of how my body reacts to foods. I have come to the conclusion that believing you have a bowel disease that was magically cured after surgery is not the case. I always believed that after my surgeries I was cured but little did I know that I was lying to myself.

However that’s not to say that I haven’t lived my life to the full I have accepted my body and the limitations that being an ostomate and IBD sufferer has affected me personally. It has never stopped me doing all the things that I have wanted to do. I have eaten what I wanted drank what I wanted and not cared about how my body has reacted to certain foods.

I guess now as I am in my late 40’s and approaching my 50’s it’s about time that I listened to what my body has been telling me regarding my diet. I never took any notice of the foods that I have allergies too I ignored the flares just putting it down to a bug. I have now had IBD for nearly half my life and a stoma for 30 years (yeah I know I can’t believe it either)

I read recently that when you reach your 40’s your IBD can change, flare ups can become frequent. I’m not sure if that’s particularly accurate but for me I guess it is, what did I do to change that? I hear you ask. If you have read my Lisa Diet page you will know that I became a pescatarian about 4 years ago after 2 years I decided to go dairy free as well, my poor tum was not accepting dairy at all. I know that as ostomates and people with bowel disease eating a carnivore diet is recommended, so you get all the essential vitamins and minerals, B12 is a factor especially if you have an ileostomy. B12 isn’t produced naturally but once eaten it is readily stored in the ileum which leads to the large intestine. I always take B12 and extra vitamins & minerals just to be on the safe side.

I always wanted to stop eating meat but was always put off by the fact that it could affect my stoma. Our diets are so important not just for us but for everyone, diet and exercise is the key to health. Think of your body as a car if you put rubbish fuel in it or the wrong fuel in it your car won’t run efficiently or indeed run at all.

My stomach has been quite bad lately the flares have been frequent so many foods were upsetting me. I kept a diary I listed all foods I had eaten, all reactions I had, how my mood was, how I felt and my stoma output. I needed to get on top of my diet problems I have always had a bit of a reaction to fish but again I chose to ignore that. After a process of elimination and having so many reactions to foods I was able to determine that I indeed have a bit of an allergy to fish. I am now taking an Omega 3 supplement so I don’t get low and cause other problems.

After establishing what was affecting me I have started to feel better I do have reactions to certain foods eating out can be an issue but as they are only mild reactions. Ulcers, stomach upsets that sort of thing I have decided to take the hit. I had to introduce dairy into my diet but I will only have cheese and butter I still won’t drink milk preferring soya or going without. I will have a little cream however too much makes me feel sick, I had a Cornish cream tea recently. I did suffer but god it was worth it. I even have cake, again taking the hit but I’m realising that I can’t be a nun about every food or I will turn into a runner bean.

These are the main things that I have found that really affect me & generally make me feel sick and I will try to avoid them.

  • Fish
  • Processed foods
  • Certain Oils (Sunflower oil being the worst)
  • Chillies & anything spicy
  • Foods that are to salty

If I do suffer reactions I detox for a week when I say detox that just means fruit & vegetables no alcohol and no caffeine or sweet treats. This clears my flare ups and allergies. The best diet for me is a complete vegetarian diet with extra supplements, I weigh myself regularly I exercise regularly. I am very conscious of my diet my health and my weight and not getting too slim.

If you are suffering with diet problems always seek advice from a medical professional or dietician.

So in conclusion always listen to your body.

Lisa Xx