There’s a number of things that go through your head when you have an ostomy, some good, some bad… some you just never expected to have at all! I rounded up a few other ostomists to see which thoughts had most stood out to them since having an ostomy.
1. “Will my bag look big in this?” Every piece of clothing you try on is accompanied with the thought.. will my bag look big in this? I.e. does it look like I have a whoopie cushion hiding under this dress? Or am I good?
2. “Will my partner still find me attractive?” A lot of feelings hit you after ostomy surgery. You can begin questioning yourself, your appearance, how others may see you. But anyone that see’s you for anything but YOU is not worth it. And you know what, your partner, or the person you fall for, is probably more focused on the fact that they’re lucky enough to still have you there with them.
3. “Do I just do it? DO I EAT THE POPCORN?” If you don’t have an ostomy, you may not know that you are pretty much warned to stay away from popcorn. This is because it can cause a blockage in the stoma. BUT, you always want what you can’t have… and being told not to do something makes you want to do it ten times more!
4. “My bag better not fart in this exam!” Or any other important event for that matter.. especially when the room is filled with empty silences. Annoyingly, gas is one thing you have no control over… it happens when it wants to… you have to accept that!
5. “Do you think they can tell?” Going out in public amongst people who have no idea about your ostomy (and why should they) can be a little daunting, because you can be curious as to whether it is noticeable under the clothing you’re wearing. (But who cares if it is!)
6. “Do they really go like that?” You can become so accustomed to your ostomy bag that you literally forget how other people go to the toilet. I know when I see my boyfriend heading into the bathroom and sitting in there for half an hour I’m left thinking… what the hell is he doing?! It only takes a minute!
7. “I’ll never be able to go on a sun holiday again and wear a bikini!” You spend time planning all different kinds of holidays avoiding the ones where you may have to wear a bikini, until you remember… who am I trying to please?
8. “To bathe or not to bathe… Will my bag float away?” There’s always that wonder of whether you can still take an hour long bath with netflix by your side. It’s the best part of anyones week for sure. But can you still do it??? Will the bag stay stuck in hot water? The answer is yes. So get back in the tub!
9. “I didn’t know I could produce that much wind!” Most mornings you awake with a helium balloon on your stomach – if you haven’t woken up 3 times already to empty it during the night. I guess it stops you sleeping in though! (Sometimes)
10. “Am I the only one?” Ostomy surgery can be very lonely, especially if you choose not to talk to anyone about it. And sometimes, this can be the case because you feel like you’re the only one dealing with it. But, there are many people out there in the same situation, and so to answer that thought – no, you are most definitely NOT alone.
11. “I’m never eating that again.” This seems to be quite a frequent thought. Although I never stick to it because I’m basically obese at heart. Food after ostomy surgery is all about trial and error. Some things work with your new digestive system… some things don’t. But some things just… really don’t.
And just one more, that a lot of people tend to think, no matter how long it takes them to think it…
“Thank you… you saved my life.”