Monday, 8 February 2016

Final post - What is normal anyway?

Hello loyal readers; it's been quite a while! Given I've become rather slack with the updates of late, I've decided to make this my final post on It's the Beginning, Not the End. That's certainly not to say I won't find something else new and exciting to write about in the future but for now, I feel this particular chapter of my life is coming to a close. My blog has certainly served it's purpose in more ways than one. I've come to accept and embrace that I'm never going to be completely normal but that poses my question of my final post; what is normal anyway? I've created my own new version of normal so I'm just going to keep rolling with it.

2 years post op
It's almost hard to believe but next week will mark my 28th birthday which will also mean I've been stomach-free for two whole years. Do I miss my old friend of 26 years? I could take it or leave it. To be completely honest, I think I've almost forgotten what it feels like to even have a stomach. I do occasionally forget that I am in fact, not made like everyone else and get a little optimistic with the amount of food I think I can consume. I have also, after many failed attempts, learnt that sugar is my enemy and must only be consumed after at least eating something else beforehand (my friends enjoy reminding me of a particular pancakes for breakfast incident).

To summarize living without a stomach and what it means for me in every day life:
  • I am constantly eating - I have breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, sometimes second afternoon snack, dinner, probably another snack. You get the idea. I love food so this actually works well for me. 
  • My body doesn't absorb calories like everybody else - I trialled calorie counting according to what an average person should eat a little while ago and lost 3kg in a week. Basically, if I eat well enough, I can eat a lot and won't get fat. Another positive. 
  • I get terrible hangovers - not sure if this is something to do with getting older or to do with my operation, but seriously. Awful. 
  • I try to avoid ever going to a new doctor to avoid having to go through my story all over again with the look of shock and disbelief on their faces followed by a ridiculous amount of questions. Not enjoyable. 
  • I appreciate growing older. When I turn 28 next week, I will have lived 6 years longer than my sister. In another 3 years time, I will have lived longer than my mother. These are horrific stats that make me grateful everyday for the information I was given and the choice I was able to make. 
The past 12 months...
They say that a change is as good as a holiday and over the past few years, I have come to know change like exercise (usually pretty good for me even if it does seem to suck at the time.. see what I did there).

A few months ago, I was made redundant in a job that I didn't particularly enjoy and was forced to make a decision about my career. Although a pretty big shock at the time, it turned out to be one of  the best things that happened to me last year. Presently, I'm in a job that I love, I've moved into a house that I love and haven't been happier in a very long time.

It wouldn't be one of my blog posts if there wasn't some travel involved. After being made redundant, I decided I needed some "me-time" to reevaluate and get myself back to a good frame of mind; so I booked a trip to Bali. It also wouldn't be a post of mine if there weren't some big travel fails involved.

Guess who was the idiot who booked a trip to Bali, mid-volcano and wasn't covered by insurance because it was a pre-existing natural disaster? You guessed correctly, that idiot was me. After days trying desperately to get a credit from Air Asia for my cancelled flight, I made a decision not to risk getting stuck in Bali and went to Thailand instead. I arrived at the amazing little boutique hotel in Phuket called CC's Hideaway and basically did yoga, got massages, drank cocktails and laid on a beach for a week. After a week I decided just one week wasn't enough. I managed to get a job offer mid holiday for my current role and one week quickly turned into three. It was the best thing I possibly could have done and amongst making new friends and non-stop relaxing, I came back a completely different person and ready to conquer the world again.

Thailand was only a small part of the past 12 months. I've had the honour of being asked to be a bridesmaid in my friends' wedding and with the help of my good friend, and new housemate Shannon, managed to throw Kristy a pretty damn awesome hens party on the weekend (yes, I do say so myself). I've had a few local Aussie adventures including Byron Bay for Splendour in the Grass last year, the Great Ocean Road, a couple of girls trips away, Derby Day at the races, a couple of Tassie trips, many a brunch, champagne and red wine. I've also discovered/re-discovered plenty of hobbies to fill the time when I'm not jet-setting around the world - yoga, drawing, painting, reading, seeing the odd musical and live band (remember I'm not claiming to be normal).

Adventures of 2016 and beyond...
To say I'm excited for the rest of this year is an understatement. In just over a month, I get to stand next to 2 of my best friends when they tie the knot and in only 2 months, I'll be on another plane to the United States for a 3 week trip including COACHELLA!!!! It had to be written in capitals because it is one of the biggest and all time greatest music festivals in the WORLD!! And I WILL BE THERE!! Also WEDDING (don't want my holiday to trump your wedding Kristy and Joe.. It's just as exciting).

Who knows what else the future has in store for me but I plan to embrace whatever it has to throw at me and continue living my imperfect and far from normal life with my wonderful friends and family. I don't plan to ever stop traveling and exploring the world and as my bucket list continues to grow, I'll keep checking things off.

Thank you to everyone who has followed my story to date and to everyone who has contacted me with words of encouragement or with your own personal stories - it has meant more to me than you could ever know. Take care and until we meet again, I'll leave you with some of my biggest fails of the past 12 months (that I can remember) and some photos because what's a blog without photos.

Failing at life one step at a time..
1. Booking a trip to Bangkok whilst in Phuket to see the infamous lantern festival only to discover that lanterns were, in fact, banned in Bangkok.
2. Arriving at the  Bangkok Airport to fly home to Melbourne to discover that there were actually TWO Bangkok airports and I was at the wrong one.
3. Booking flights to Bali mid-volcano without even realising.
4. Booking a hotel in America for April. Receiving an email from said hotel asking why we hadn't arrived and advising they would be charging my credit card. Realising hotel was actually booked for January.
5. More broken glasses, bowls, plates etc than I care to count.

Thanks again for reading!

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