An Open Letter: To The People Telling Me “You Have An Ostomy Bag – Suck It Up!” 

Today, I have received numerous anonymous comments telling me that my blog posts annoy them, asking me what “makes me so special?” Telling me, “woe is me, you just have an ostomy bag, like hundreds of other people – suck it up!”

I wouldn’t normally justify these sorts of negative comments with a response. But I feel the need to write to these people, out of respect for the awareness I am trying to raise.

So to these anonymous people, this is my response to you:

To the people telling me to “suck up” the fact I have an ostomy bag,

I must firstly apologize for the fact you are obviously so deeply offended by my blog. The blog that has helped me deal with the indescribable amount of emotions that attempt to eat you up after ostomy surgery. The words I write aren’t even half able to explain how I feel inside. My blog is pretty much an open diary. I’m not a journalist. I’m not writing for thousands of people wanting to read news, gossip or any other genre. I write about my life. I don’t write to please people, I don’t write to spark controversy, I write for me. I write to raise awareness. What I write is real, it’s truth.

On 26th January 2015 I was rushed into hospital, in pain you couldn’t even imagine. After countless operations, scans and colonscopies, I was finally admitted to theatre for emergency surgery. After a four hour surgery for a stoma, I did nothing but scream in pain, shake in fear and cry myself to sleep. I couldn’t even look at my stomach. I cried every time somebody tried to talk to me about it. I lost my job, I struggled to keep my flat and I nearly lost me. It is an extremely hard time to talk about, even now the situation fills me with nothing but sadness.

The only thing that has kept me going these past few months is my blog. I am lucky to have a loving, supportive family, friends and a great boyfriend. But this blog is the only thing that has helped me deal mentally with what has happened. So it has hurt me that you feel the need to write to me such nasty comments. Would you be able to “suck up” something that could scar you mentally for the rest of your life? That does scar you physically?

Let me just ask you. If somebody’s family member had passed away, and they decided to write to deal with their grief – would you tell them to “suck it up, because hundreds of people die every day”? No. You would not. So why do you feel the need to do it to me?

And you know what, hundreds of people do have ostomy’s, you’re right. More, even. And a huge percentage of them deal with it privately. Another percentage of people do it privately because they feel too scared to speak out. Some people struggle to even deal with it at all. So what about them? How will they have the courage to speak out if they feel doing so will cause them a backlash of negativity. People are always saying “talk about it, it’ll make you feel better”, convincing us that “we’re not alone” – but how can we freely talk about it when we’re classed as attention seeking, and being told to “suck it up”?

Keeping my surgery a secret for the first few weeks, were the worst weeks of my life. I lived in fear of embarrassment, I felt ashamed of myself. The situation in itself was not only confusing, mentally draining and heart wrenching for me. It was the darkest place I feel I’ve ever been. It was an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. What happened to me was emotionally, physically and mentally devastating. And I have every right to talk about it. To FEEL something about that.

Speaking out was the best thing I’ve ever decided to do. It has helped me come to terms with what has happened. It has helped me embrace my body for what it is. It has taught me to appreciate the life I am given. I’ve turned my life around in just four short months. Tell me, could you do the same? Did you stop to put yourself in my shoes before telling me I should just “suck it up”?

photo(13)I nearly lost my life, but my surgery saved me. It’s saved so many other people too, and for those people, the people that feel too scared to do so themselves, the people that want to learn, the people that want to understand – I write about it. I write about a huge part of my life that I haven’t let ruin my mindset. And theoretically, I have done nothing BUT suck it up since. I’ve sucked it up so much that I’m confident enough to wear a bikini in public, to go to places like Thorpe Park, to wear skin tight clothing an to abseil off the f***ing tallest building in the UK. And that’s what makes me special. The fact I haven’t let it absorb the life style I’ve always maintained.

So, to the people who took the time to send me these lovely anonymous messages: let this annoy you instead: I have a fantastic life now, and it’s all through the help of my blog. Suck that up.

15 thoughts on “An Open Letter: To The People Telling Me “You Have An Ostomy Bag – Suck It Up!” 

  1. Kadie Taylor says:

    I first started reading your blog when someone shared your blog on a newspaper article. I’ve read it ever since, and I really enjoy reading it. I could not imagine going through what you have gone through, especially at such a young age. As I’m only a few years younger than you it’s mad how you’ve gone through so much, and faced so much pain already in your life already, but you’ve fought it through. You are beautiful inside and out, and your ostomy bag is now a part of you, which makes you more beautiful and strong. To those anonymous comments that told you to ‘suck it up’, if they had to go through what you’ve had to go through ( at your age) they wouldn’t be saying that. So many people look up to you ( including me) and not only do you tell us your journey, you tell all the people reading your blog to believe in themselves and that every person on this earth is beautiful. I thankyou for writing this amazing blog, and for giving people more confidence just by telling your inspirational journey. Thankyou x


  2. Denise says:

    Hi Hattie, I hope you don’t mind an old bat who’s old enough to be your Grandma commenting here. Take no notice of these people – they’re not important so don’t waste your precious mental energy on them. You are young, intelligent and beautiful – they’re ugly and stupid. Pity them and move on because you’re better than them and you always will be. Keep blogging and keep well. Much love x


  3. Lucy says:

    Amazing Hattie. You tell them. In my opinion I love your blog because you are spreading so much awareness and understanding. Keep up the good work and do what makes you happy 🙂 x


  4. Karen says:

    I know how you are feeling, I went thru 3 surgeries and ended up with 2 stomas. People never understood me and I also lost my job. You are so brave for putting it out there and trying to make people aware. Please keep writing your blog as it truly amazing.


  5. backtowhatever says:

    I believe that such things come back around in life and hit you like a truck. You can’t behave like an assho** and expect your health and happiness to last forever. Even though I’m not a bg commenter I love your blog and your strength to deal with that bag. I don’t know how I would do this if I had one. I have survived a war, but I believe that this is nothing against what you are put through sometimes. Keep your head up.


  6. ellenwoolley says:

    Hi Hattie! I started reading your blog after I had the same surgery as you 8 weeks ago and it has helped me so much!
    I found it really hard to accept what had happened to me because the surgery was emergency surgery and I was told that I probably wouldn’t need an ileostomy. Also the fact that I’m 22 and had just started a new job 2 days before I was admitted to hospital made it worse!
    I just wanted you to know that you have really helped me to come to terms with the fact that many young people are in the same postion as me! So ignore the ignorant comments and keep doing what you are doing because you are really helping people and as you said writing the vlog can really help yourself too!
    Ellen x


  7. Terry says:

    Being in a similar situation to you, but much older than you, your blogs are an inspiration and also underline your own bravery… it annoys me tremendously that certain individuals should criticise you in any way for what you have communicated through your well written blogs. So please keep communicating in the knowledge that any critical comment you may have received will have in my opinion another 1000 individuals applauding you for what you are doing.


  8. Hollie says:

    My beautiful Hattie!
    The people that do this need to get themselves a life if they feel like they don’t have anything better to do than to send you abusive comments.
    Judging by the amount of support you get i’d say their comments are invalid!

    You are beautiful, strong and courageous and what you have done with this blog is extremely commendable!
    In future, just laugh off the negative comments because you clearly have an army of supporters behind you to back you up!

    Love you


  9. Lorraine Alikhanizadeh says:

    We do live in a democracy and so with that comes freedom of speech but sometimes it can be hard to hear what people have to say. Some thoughts are best kept to ourselves, at least until we’ve given them the depth of thought before necessary before deciding to share them with the world and all those who will be hurt by them.
    I am sorry Hattie you have had to deal with such ignorance but that’s exactly what it it… IGNORANCE. Leave them to it and continue your good work through your fabulous blog. You are helping so many people, awareness is key and that’s what you are spreading.


  10. Steve says:

    Hi Hattie,

    When I was 12 I had ostomy surgery (ileostomy due to U.C.). That was over 40 years ago. Only recently did I realize I’d never affirmatively dealt with it. I applaud you for speaking out. I wish I had done so, and that I’d have had a venue for doing so. I was told by my parents and doctors, essentially to “suck it up.” Which was clearly not good advice, not for me. Everyone adjusts in their own way. I never did adjust, not really. Oh sure, I survived, but had things been handled differently the trajectory of my life would have been much better. I would have had a better job, been happier, and my marriage probably would have been saved. I’m glad people like you are speaking out. It helps people like me.

    Thank you, Steve


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