It’s World Ostomy Day, and so I’m going to chat about something I know intimately. Which is, of course, my stoma.
It’s been eight months since I had my ileostomy fitted. And I now think that I am qualified to give my thoughts on living with one.
Of course, every stoma is different. Every person living with Crohns or UC has a different experience, and I am by all means not casting us all with the same brush.
But here’s my two pennies.
Living with a stoma bag is not all easy. It’s not the prettiest thing for a start, and you have to get used to emptying your bag and changing it, and cleaning the skin around the stoma.
It’s not all that glamorous. Is what I’m saying.
Sometimes it bleeds a little and sometimes you may get the occasional brief pain from it, but mostly the only thing that irritates me is the itchiness. Which can be very frustrating.
However, after a couple of months you get used to it being there. And it’s then quite rare that you feel it at all.
I think the hardest obstacle to overcome is the physical aspect of it. It’s hard at first to see it in the mirror, and even when you get used to it you may still find yourself wistfully wishing for a smooth stomach again.
But here’s the thing. Even with all the cons, I am incredibly grateful for my stoma.
It has given me my life back, in every sense of the word.
I can now eat again. I can eat more or less whatever I want without fear of pain or needing to rush to the loo within ten minutes.
I can go out, without having to pop half a dozen painkillers first, and without having to plan my routes around toilet stops.
I no longer look like a stick.
I feel healthier, I am healthier, and I am no longer constantly weighed down by fatigue.
I am, for the most part, happy.
And that’s largely because of my stoma. So, on World Ostomy Day I’m saying thank you. Thank you to all the doctors and researchers and surgeons and nurses (especially the nurses!) who help people like myself who need an ostomy.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you!