Complimenting your body with an Ileostomy

Everyone likes to feel good about themselves, right? And with an Ileostomy Bag it can sometimes take a while to do so. Not everybody lives life with a bag on their stomach and for some people that do, it can be a little uncomfortable wearing the same things other people look good in.

Browsing through Sainsburys I came across these support pants, for bums and tums. There are special sites for supportive underwear especially designed for those with Ostomy bags, but they aren’t cheap. These support pants are just £5. And they work wonders for when you want to wear something skin tight, and don’t want to worry about your bag! A little bonus too – they give you a lovely flat stomach!

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Below are some examples of a few outfits I love to wear with my support underwear!

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– High waist jeans! My favorite jeans in the world. I never thought I’d be able to wear these again. What bag?!

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– My black crop top and black skorts. They look great on my legs and are tight against my stomach, and so comfortable!

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– Tight black crop top & skirts. The red skirt is a skin tight midi skirt, this is one I was a little worried about, I was sure the bag would bulge out a little. But nope, look at the flatness on that! And my favourite skirt, my cute yellow tartan that sticks against your stomach. Again, a lovely piece of clothing that I can wear with ease.

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– My floral skirt is great for the summer, and I can wear this with ease knowing my bag is supported. The zip can occasionally rub against my skin so the supportive pants also protect me against sore skin. Again – so comfortable, and so pretty!

Once my swelling starts to settle down a little and my scar begins to fade I will try a little some more adventurous outfits, but for now, I look pretty damn good!

9 Funny Advantages of having an Ostomy Bag

Having an Ostomy Bag is a life changing experience – but it doesn’t have to change you. Yes you need to learn to adjust to a new routine, yes you may need to change certain aspects of your life to keep yourself comfortable, such as eating habits or a change in exercise routine; but it doesn’t need to take over your life. You don’t have to let it!

Some days I wake up struggling to find the positives in the bag, no matter how small. Some days I want to hide under my duvet and cry. Today is not one of those days. I mean, what’s the point? I’ve already endured a horrible illness, I’ve already gone through such traumatic surgery and I’ve already had so much strain on my body. Why put it through more?

Below is a list of some of the funniest advantages of having an Ileostomy Bag! Yes some are a little silly… but they’re true!

  1. Ironically, you have more control over your bowels. No more running to the toilet every 2 minutes, terrified of publicly embarrassing yourself. Your bag saves you time. (Hopefully a lot of it).
  2. You can get away with eating a little more junk food and not feeling guilty about it! We deserve that bar of chocolate!
  3. You don’t have to worry about accidentally blocking the toilet at a friends house. Nope. Never going to happen.
  4. You save money on loo-roll! (Yeah… that surgery really was worth it for the cut on loo roll).
  5. Your ass hole will forever be gleamingly clean. You will literally have the perfect ass hole. Even if it doesn’t work.
  6. You always have an excuse to avoid those awful family gatherings and nobody can say otherwise. “Sorry, would’ve loved too, but my bags not having a good day”.
  7. In fact, you can practically cancel on anything with that excuse. Duvet days with tubs of ice cream are worth it. Until your bag hates you for all that dairy.
  8. You gain a friend! Everyone names their bag right? It sort of becomes, a part of you… Like, are you going to ask Nelson what he thinks of your dress too or?
  9. You could be being hit on by someone at a club or on a romantic date, and going to the toilet at the same time. They’ll never know. What a hilariously sly little devil you are.

Where did my confidence go?

I’m currently in my first month of recovery following an emergency surgery, which has resulted in me maintaining an ileostomy bag. It has so far been a complete roller-coaster of emotions. Each day unpredictable, my brain is irrationally confused with whether I want to laugh or cry. I want to be brave and strong and write my first blog post as someone who can deal with anything life throws at them but I can’t pretend to be something I’m not. Yes I believe I can be strong-willed and there have been days throughout recovery where I have woken up believing that this day will be better than the last, but I can’t pretend I smile when I look in the mirror. I can’t pretend I don’t wince when changing my ileostomy bag. I won’t pretend I don’t feel a little bit crushed when my friends avoid talking about what’s happened because they’re either too scared or too awkward to approach the subject.

Don’t get me wrong; there are people in my life who haven’t reacted at all. They’ve treated me the same as they always have and I can’t thank them enough for that. That’s all I want – normality; though it’s a little difficult to maintain that normality which enduring the early stages. I’m in a relationship and I’ve been out with friends for drinks and dinners, but it’s not the same. Before, having sex would be a spontaneous thing, it would be romantic. Now, I have to deal with draining and changing the stoma bag beforehand, and hear “are you okay? Am I hurting you?” consistently throughout. Dinner has turned into me hoping my stoma behaves and I don’t have to deal with any public embarrassment, whilst late night drinks have ended up with me having to leave early and hearing about the rest of the night the morning after.

These are all such minor things and I feel guilty complaining because my stoma saved my life, but at the age of 19 I still want to have a social life. I want to enjoy myself and I want my self-confidence back. I must admit I am really feeling the need for attention lately. I just want to be told it doesn’t matter what’s underneath my shirt. That I don’t need to hide anything, that I’m still beautiful. I wish someone could just shake me until I wake up and realise how lucky I am to still be here. I feel so selfish complaining about such meaningless things. I know I need to be strong and I know I need to help myself. I need to drill my confidence back into myself. From here on I am going to look at myself in the mirror each and every day up until my next post and point out something I like about myself. I am going to compliment myself. I am then going to document how I feel inside when I do so. Lets do this.

A letter to my Ileostomy Bag…

Dear Ileostomy Bag,

Although you were scary, you made me sore and were completely unexpected; I can’t thank you enough for saving my life. In just a month you have managed to alter my mind set in a number of ways. You have turned me into this positive, dedicated person that I actually respect. I must admit still look in the mirror from time to time and feel a little irritated when I look at you, but it’s not because of you; more for the fact that you’re covering up most of what I now love,  most of what I used to hate; the stomach I used to squeeze and cry and insult – the stomach I wish I appreciated before I was forced to. Although you weren’t my first choice, I mean I wasn’t really given a choice – you took my pain away and I finally feel free for the first time in years. My life no longer revolves around stomach cramps, frequent runs to the toilet and a dependency on tablets. You’ve given me control over my life. You’ve given me a chance.

I spent so long wanting to write, but I struggled to find anything I was passionate about. I loved performing and I loved writing music, but I didn’t love writing about it. I tried my hand at fashion, but I found no interest in writing about the seasonal change of materials. I tried lifestyle writing, composing lists that I felt other girls could relate to, but they were never good enough. They were never things that came naturally. I’d spend ages planning, writing, deleting, re-writing… and I’d end up with something I wasn’t proud of. But this? Writing about you? Writing about the thing that saved my life? The thing that I carry around on my body with pride? You come naturally. You’re something that deserves pride. You deserve recognition. I don’t even need to think about what I’m writing when writing about you. I don’t worry that something’s too open, too embarrassing – you’ve given me this need for honesty that I just want to share.

I’m sorry for every time I’ve wished you away. I’m sorry for every time I’ve felt angry with you and blamed you for things going wrong in my life. Things that couldn’t possibly involve you. I’m sorry it’s taken me time to accept you. But know that I will never look back to before you entered my life. Before you saved me. Not just physically, but mentally. I finally appreciate the person I am, and others around me.  I finally appreciate that it doesn’t matter how much makeup I wear, how little I eat, and how much others like me. What matters is far more than that. I feel embarrassed that it took me so long to look beneath you. The idea scared me, it took me weeks, I was convinced I’d hate what I saw; but when I looked at you, I felt okay. I felt relief. I felt lucky. I realised that all I could focus on now was moving forward, and you helped me do that. I guess it’s true what they say. Beauty really is skin deep.