Hello/Assalamualaykum dear readers.
There’s just one day left until my FIFTH STOMAVERSARY inshaAllah! Yikes! Five years since little Rosie was lovingly (I’m sure!) created by Mr. Pinkney, who I think is one of the best surgeons in the world. Five years since she rose (see what I did there!) to the challenge and has been doing her job like a trooper ever since. Can’t say I envy her, it must be tiring pushing poop through every second of every day. Five years since I’ve been a Bag Lady! Five years since I joined the Permanent Tummy Poopers Club. Five years since…. that’s probably enough for now.
I had planned a celebration with my friends (HARRY POTTER THEMED whether they agreed/liked it or not) but the Almighty had a better plan, as always. Five years to the day when I promised Him I’d perform umrah if He made the op successful… here I am in Makkah Mukarramah. I’m alive and kicking so I’d say it was pretty successful! I’ve only had a couple of blockages (all my own fault lol) and Alhamdulillah just a handful of leaks. Maybe… four. Or less. That’s pretty good going Alhamdulillah!
It just goes to show that I need to have more faith in Him. When I left home in 2016, I thought that was it. I wouldn’t be able to visit this blessed city again as I need a mahram for that. Allah really does work in the most wonderful and mysterious ways. I’m here with my brother and my dad will be joining us either today or tomorrow inshaAllah.
This trip has been fraught with tests, both emotional and monetary. Before we even set off, there were delays with passports, then visas (due to my passport 🙈) then my visa was messed up… it was just one thing after another. I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t as patient as I ought to have been. I got frustrated. I was angry. I was annoyed and wanted to blame someone for these issues. It didn’t help that my anxiety was sky high because I was visiting family again. They tried, bless them, but it’s hard not to associate being back with the emotional torment I went through for years. Anyway that’s a story for another day….
Eventually we were on the flight and it mostly went without a hitch. There was a sticky moment at Frankfurt Airport when the rather ‘lovely’ security lady started tugging at my bag, and fondling it. She asked what it is and for want of a better word, I informed her that it’s a colostomy bag. I know… I have an ileostomy bag but most people don’t seem to be aware of that! I thought I’d have better luck describing it as a colostomy bag.
Well, that didn’t help in the slightest. She practically yelled ‘colostomy bag?!’ Then preceded to VERY LOUDLY ask her colleagues if they knew what it was. In front of everyone. Now, I’m not too fussed about my bag. In fact, I’m rather proud of it. But lots of people DO struggle with coming to terms with it. It would have been absolutely mortifying for such a person and could well have led to a very public breakdown. I was rather annoyed (to put it mildly) at her behaviour. It was hugely insensitive and totally inappropriate.
She carried on fondling it and I let her. I mean.. I don’t think she’d have been able to pull it off and even if she did, it would be a lot worse for her than for me! Part of me wanted her to get a good sharp shock when she realised she was fondling my poop. Teehee!
I was then taken to a side room and asked to show her the bag. Call me petty but I ensured that I lifted the flap so she could see my output (poop) in all its glory. Nothing less than she deserved. I helpfully threw in the French word for poo as I didn’t know the German one. I just assumed they’d be similar. She seemed to get the message 😉
Thereafter she decided it would be sensible to tug me here and there because I’m visually impaired. None too gently either! She only let go when my brother intervened and told her it isn’t necessary. I should have spoken up and I regret not doing so. Truth be told I was exhausted. Beyond shattered. Just didn’t have the energy.
Once we were out of her way another airport employee preceded to thank us profusely for being so patient. She said the other woman was probably stressed. Stressed or not, it doesn’t excuse her disgusting behaviour. I think I’ll be making an official complaint although goodness knows if it’ll make any difference!
Oh, that’s another thing. I completed the whole journey from Birmingham to Jeddah, with a stopover in Frankfurt, with my white cane! Feeling rather pleased with myself. It helped that I had my brother with me but I’m pretty sure I’d have managed just as well on my own. A few years ago this would have been unthinkable. It’s amazing how we can adapt and overcome. Hmmm that sounds like a slogan doesn’t it?!
Sooooo… Umrah with a bag – how goes it?! Answer: absolutely fine. I did have the really odd feeling during Tawaaf that I’m pooping in such a holy place but I quickly reminded myself that I’m not missing out on any blessings! Islam is a religion of ease and in actual fact I’m gaining MORE blessings and good deeds because I’m making the effort despite the physical pain I was feeling. Having an ostomy doesn’t prevent me from performing any acts of worship. I can manage my bag here just as well I do anywhere else.
It’s honestly no different to being at home. I’m quite adept at changing my bag wherever I am so I suppose that helps! I’ve only been here a couple of days but I honestly haven’t had any issues Alhamdulillah.
I made sure I packed all my bags and supplies in hand luggage so they wouldn’t get lost. Glad to say they remained intact. I brought 30 bags with me for 11 days… I know it’s going a bit overboard but I’d rather have too many than too few! Actually that reminds me.. I might go check if the pharmacies here stock them. Just for info’s sake and to reassure any future travellers to the Haramain.
When I arrived at my family’s house a week or so ago, events conspired to ensure that I didn’t have access to my luggage for a few hours…. hence no bags! I desperately needed to change so I sent my cousin off to the local hospital to request a couple of bags. They happily obliged and also sent along protector wipes, dry wipes and disposal bags. Excellent service. Our NHS is amazing. I dread to think what will become of it if the evil Tories have their way. Let’s face it, if they’re happy to take meals away from kids then there really is no limit to their greed and selfishness. It does worry me….. sigh. God help us.
So to celebrate my fifth stomaversary, I’ll be offering extra prayers of thanks in the Blessed City Of Makkah. Islam’s holiest Mosque. There really is no better place on earth. I can’t think of a better celebration either.
Now over to you, dear readers. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. If you’ve stuck with me despite my flaky attitude to blogging, thank you. I really don’t deserve your support however I truly appreciate it.
Also, if anyone has any specific Dua requests while I’m here, please comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I promise I’ll write them down and make Dua in front of the Ka’bah as long as I’m able to.
I’ll end it here for now. Peace.
Aisha AKA The Gutless Ninja