Pictures at a pumpkin patch

Julian, CA 10/25/20

I am two weeks out of surgery and was in need of some fresh air! After nearly 20 days inside a hospital sunshine is exactly what the doctor ordered. So Will and I drove to Julian, CA to find a pumpkin patch.

Funny story, at our house in San Diego it was sunny and 73 degrees. As we drove through the mountains we discovered the temperature had dropped by nearly 30 degrees, it started raining, and we were in a wind advisory area. Safe to say we changed our plans and drove right back down the mountain.

Hope was not lost yet, though, as we neared the end of the road there was a huge pumpkin patch and corn maze with available parking! Even more importantly it was significantly warmer and not raining. So we pulled out the camera and found our way through a maze of corn.

It was wonderful spending the afternoon with my husband. Throughout the hospitalization we were not able to see each other. COVID19 rules dictated no guests were allowed.

Truthfully, it took a toll on our relationship. We had started getting into routines and using coping mechanisms that didn’t involve the other person in order to survive. While it was necessary to get through the battle of surgery, it was damaging.

Even when I got home things felt harder than usual in our relationship. Normal, easy conversation felt like work. I could feel us getting frustrated with each other easily. We also would miscommunicate about minor things then find ourselves in a full argument minutes later.

Luckily, we addressed our issues head on. We both came to each other wanting to improve. Through dedicated time together, increased intimacy, and special dates just for us, we discovered the fun of each other again. We realized the really stressful and traumatic experience we just went through had the ability to pull us apart, but instead we dug in deeper and worked harder to have a fulfilling relationship.

You can see the joy in these photos and the love that we share for each other. I am grateful for a partner who will follow me around with a camera because it brings me happiness to have great pictures. I am also grateful for a partner who supports me through the hard days in order to celebrate the special ones.

My enchanted 28th unicorn birthday ♡

This has been a hard year with a lot of pain and struggle. But it also has brought so much adventure, change, and perspective too. Part of our reasoning for moving to California was to have my family support system closer. We have really leaned on each other in this season and it has brought us closer.

I wanted to bring my immediate family together to celebrate my birthday. I wanted to have something simple, yet fun. I wanted a party with a cute theme and lots of games. So I decided on a 🦄 unicorn theme party! It is so popular right now I knew I would be able to find inexpensive decorations and games. I was right… thanks to the Dollar Tree, Target’s low prices, and some thrifty repurposing of things the decorating was cheap and easy.

I started by selecting an inexpensive, plastic, colorful tablecloth to cover my coffee table with. I threw some confetti on the table and suddenly the room was transformed.

Most importantly on this table are my goodie bags. I included unicorn trinkets, toys, puzzles, lipgloss, pens with huge puff balls on top, and a new fashionable mask in each bag. (Hello pandemic safety!) I made the bag even more special by writing every person invited a card thanking them for their influence on my life.

I found a few fun games to play but wanted more activities to cover the whole party. So I decided to have a name tag station at the entrance of the party. Only guests wrote down their ‘Unicorn Name’.

I made a list of random words related to unicorns to create funky names. Truthfully it was harder than I thought to create this document. I wanted every possible mixture to make sense or be cute. Some of my favorites were mine Enchanted Mythical Dreamcatcher and Will’s Whimsical Wild Myth. ☆

My niece with her unicorn name

I purchased a cake with sparkles and added these adorable, glitter candles. However, I did not light them as to avoid germs on the cake.

I also found this adorable piñata from Target. I had so much fun picking out eclectic pieces to keep with the unicorn theme.

Our charming front yard served as a perfect backdrop for photos, dining, and games.

I purchased the game “Unicorn Ring Toss.” We laughed for a ridiculous amount of time during this game. There is something so entertaining about looking ridiculous.

The goal of the game is to get the 3 rings on the other persons horn.

I am so thankful for my beautiful family. I am impressed with their positive attitudes and joy. It was a treat to celebrate with them.

Deadpool unicorn brother in laws

Thank you for every person who wished me a happy day. I am starting 28 feeling stronger, more powerful, and more unique than ever before.

Dressing for a changing body

A big fear for me when I was approaching ostomy surgery was whether or not I would find myself attractive after. I had struggled with body dysmorphia for most of my life and was concerned I would hate my stoma and ostomy bag. I feared having new scars.

It was a welcome surprise when I realized I felt more comfortable with my body than I ever had before the surgery. I celebrated my body and all it had accomplished. I found beauty, strength, and hope in my scars.

One thing that did have to change, however, were my clothes! I could no longer wear tight fitting shirts across my stomach. I felt uncomfortable wearing constricting pants around my waist for months after surgery.

Even though I felt confident in my body, I felt self-conscious about my wardrobe.

I started researching ideas on styles of clothes that would not accentuate my abdomen but would still show off my curves. I found that high-waisted pants were best at this. Honestly, paired with a really wide and sturdy pair of high-waisted underwear my bag disappears. For the first two months post-op I only wore yoga pants with a sturdy waistband. Slowly I was able to start adding jeans and tougher materials. But for the benefit of covering my bag I have continued to purchase high-waisted only.

If you are experiencing a change in your body, I encourage you to embrace it. I have experienced weight changes throughout quarantine. With adjustments in my styling (and attitude) I have not feared the weight gain. I have finally reached a place of self-confidence and empowerment.

If you are shopping for new styles after a change in your body, I suggest you try on lots of different outfits and combinations. I started choosing items I had never picked before, like crops tops, and loved them. I now own several. I have grown to be comfortable enough to let my ostomy bag show. I dare you to be courageous and bold in your looks too!