Remember that the body is an amazing thing, it can adjust over time and learn how to work in a way it was never supposed to.  I’m seeing those results now that I’m three years out of surgery and you, hopefully, will too.

When I first got my pouch I was reading on forums about the different types of food that people struggled with and of course it’s another situation where it depends from person to person. Well my thing was chilli, which was really challenging for a spice lover like me.

I learnt the hard way early on that even the slightest hint at chilli, or in the initial days even chilli seasoning on things like potato chips, would cause extreme “butt burn”. The stubborn side of me still pushed the boundaries and I settled on a middle ground where I would try and mainly avoid chilli, unless I wanted to have a “why not” moment and just deal with the consequences.

My aha moment came a month or so ago, where I accidentally ate a really spicy curry and was nervously anticipating the after mark – which never came! Knowing my body and being really careful about what level of spice sets me off, I knew that my pouch a year ago would not have tolerated that.

I’ve learnt over the years to ease back into it, and I do still mainly try and avoid really spicy things just to be safe.

It was such a simple victory but when I realised that I had adapted a little to spice again, I couldn’t get the smile off my face.

It then got me reflecting on my bowel habits over the years and the progress is quite phenomenal. My skin has adjusted and is no longer as sensitive, I can sleep through the night much more than I used to be able to without a toilet break and my frequency is pretty consistently around 5 times a day.

I remember my surgeon being persistent that I had to wait at least three months before reversing my stoma to be sure that the j-pouch was strong enough. I am so glad that it wasn’t rushed and I now have such a healthy and strong pouch.