Hiding Your Ostomy Bag With ‘Sexy’ Lingerie

Hiding your ostomy when you’re in your underwear can be kinda hard sometimes, especially when even the special support underwear you ordered just misses the top of your bag. I don’t tend to wear ‘sexy’ underwear, I’m one of those people that still own underwear from when they were about 14 (clean, of course). And as for matching underwear, who cares when nobodies going to see it? (Queue those that “do it for themselves” and sure, I admire you for taking the time to buy matching sets.) But yesterday, shopping in Brighton, I ventured into H&M to take a look at the clothes whilst I waited for my boyfriends mum to finish her tour of the pavillion. I wasn’t intending to buy anything –  I didn’t really have the money – but didn’t want to wonder aimlessly within the crowd of people outside.

For some reason I tend to avoid the underwear section in commercial clothe shops. I’m always almost certain they’ll be nothing for me. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I feel like, how can I be sexy without clothes on?

I spotted a really nice dress to the far right of the clothes shop. As I walked closer, noticing underwear surrounding me, I realised it was one of those see through dresses you wear for intimacy (oops). It was just gorgeous though, and I ended up buying it. But I still worried how my stomach would look, what with it being seethrough and all. The scars not too noticeable, but the beige ostomy bag that sits upon my tummy is pretty hard to miss.

Stressing out a little as I flicked through thong after thong, I came across a pair of silk and lacy high waisted underwear – not the overly big tummy holding pants you see in M&S. They were absolutely beautiful. I pondered over the idea of buying them for a moment before I took them over to purchase them. I love support pants, I wear them every day. But I never thought “big pants” could be sexy… until now!

They were £7.99 – IMG_2143an absolute bargain for the quality of the underwear! They really suck your waistline in without revealing any lumps or bumps, even when my bag is not completely empty, my stomach still looks flat! They also hold you in at the waist, giving you a really nice hour glass figure.

I’d really recommend to anybody feeling uncomfortable in the bedroom, or who just likes to wear nice underwear!

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My Ostomy Won’t Limit My Underwear Choices

I was out shopping the other day whilst my boyfriend was at work, just looking for clothes and makeup really. I’d spent 2 hours so far looking through shop after shop, trying on various different pieces of clothing and having absolutely no luck with anything. Everything was either too tight, too loose or just didn’t look right. Frustrated, I went for coffee and some breakfast to call my friend to see when he was coming to meet me. He’d said he’d be another hour. I sighed, and wondered what on earth I was going to do until he got here (an hour normally meant 2 in his case).

I thought about what else I could possibly attempt to shop for without getting annoyed. I’d already bought new makeup and am not really a jewelery person. I’d got a new notebook and already bought all My Chemical Romance’s old albums (yes I was one of THOSE kids). And then it hit me… underwear! I have never, ever, EVER shopped for underwear. Not once. Unless you count those times your mum buys you them as a present because she realises you’ve been wearing the same sets for the past 5 years? (All clean of course!!)

I didn’t really know how to go about this. And to be honest, I doubted I’d find anything I felt comfortable with. I anxiously wondered around shop after shop noticing that nothing had been designed for people with an ostomy. I knew this would be the case, but there was still a little bit of hope I’d find something. I had seen one underwear set in New Look, it was so pretty! But I was certain it wouldn’t look right. I was trailing around for something high waisted. I planned to wear something for my boyfriend when he got home from work. I wanted to look nice. But how can I pull off anything “sexy” with an ostomy?

It was getting late and shops were starting to close down, and I still hadn’t found anything. I felt like I wanted to cry. Everything was tiny and designed for those with nice tummy’s they wanted to show off.

I left the shop and was about to head off to wait for my friend before I had a thought. A thought that changed the rest of that day.

“You write a blog on body confidence and embracing your body. You write out to thousands of people and tell them to love yourself. What a hypocrite you would be to shame your body over a pair of underwear that YOU feel isn’t designed for you. Who says it’s not? Who says you haven’t got a nice tummy? You? Do you think those scars that saved your life deserve to be shamed and hidden away? No. Now get your arse into gear and feel good about yourself”.

And with that one thought, I headed over to New Look and picked up the pretty bra I’d first seen. And underwear, too of course!

Photo on 02-06-2015 at 17.19

I’m really angry at myself for putting myself down that day, and letting myself feel so negatively towards my body. But I’m so grateful I was able to step out of that so quickly. I felt really positive for the rest of the day, and waited for my boyfriend to finish work – in my new underwear (makeup done and everything)! And it’s safe to say he absolutely loved it. (I won’t go into detail – don’t worry). But there, it just goes to show that you never know until you try. From now on I won’t let personal negativity limit my choices. I will overcome every hurdle that lays be for me and remember that if you don’t do it, you won’t overcome it. And no, I’m not trying to give a Shia LaBeouf ‘Nike’ inspirational speech here…

What Does My Boyfriend Think Of My Ileostomy Bag?

There have been some questions in the past regarding how my boyfriend feels towards the fact I now have an ileostomy bag. And I hadn’t really thought of writing about it before, because to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure there was just one sum of thought for him. As my mentality has progressed – so has his. I mean, when you live together, your emotions bounce off one another 24/7, and if one of you is feeling down the likelihood is that your partner will feel somewhat succumbed to that.

It’s been an emotional ride for the both of us and I’ve relied on him (as well as my blog) to make me feel better about myself.

We’ve been together for a long time but one of my first thoughts after ileostomy surgery was “is he going to leave me?” I didn’t know if he’d be able to cope – back then I was a complete mess – and I didn’t know if he’d still find me attractive. I didn’t know if intimacy was going to become awkward, and actually, I didn’t know if he’d ever want to be intimate with me again. I was convinced he’d only stayed with me because he felt too scared to leave when I was in a position like this.

I made the decision whilst in hospital that in order to keep my relationship the one normality in my life, I’d hide my ileostomy from him. I wouldn’t let him see it. Maybe that way he wouldn’t look at me differently.

I made him leave the room when the nurses would come to change my bag, with my mum guarding the door until she’d finished. I made sure not to take my top off around him or expose my stomach. I was certain that in order to still be pretty to him i’d have to be fully clothed at all time.

How was I going to carry out this level of pretense for the rest of my life?

Well… it turns out I didn’t have to.

I had moved back home with my parents whilst my mum was my temporary carer, but I decided I wanted to come back to my flat to spend a night with my boyfriend. I felt a lot better physically and was able to move more, my mum had packaged up a numerous amount of pills and I was all set for the next day. At that point I wasn’t changing my own bag – I still didn’t want to look at the area itself. So, before she left after dropping me off, she changed the bag for me. I expected my boyfriend to just leave the room, like I’d usually ordered. But he just stopped, and asked my mum, “do you mind if I stay? That way I can learn what to do if she needs me”.

I’ve never felt a deeper sense of relief.

He wanted to learn. He wasn’t scared. He didn’t fear me. He just wanted to help me.

It was at that point that I realized I was being stupid. I’d scared myself out of acknowledging the fact that maybe he didn’t feel the way I thought.

My bag hadn’t changed me, it hadn’t changed the way he looked at me. He wanted to see. He wanted to learn. He wanted to understand. And that had to be a good sign, right?

It definitely helped me. It showed me that if he could accept it so easily, so could I. If he wasn’t afraid, neither was I.

We’ve had our ups and downs but he makes sure to tell me I’m beautiful, and how much he loves me every day. To him, I’m the most beautiful girl in the world (which is crazy right?! Look at Jennifer Lawrence!!!).

You may question how he feels about intimacy, I mean acceptance is one thing but being romantic with your partner is another. But, to my surprise, he actually asked me to take my top off! And one time, I’d done it without asking. Lovingly, he smiled and said, you haven’t got one on for once! It was a great feeling to not have to hide away. It’s great just to be made to feel good about myself.

So… what does he think of my ileostomy bag? Nothing. And I think that’s exactly the way it should be. He talks about it as if it’s a person sometimes and even has a name for it! But that’s about it. When he’s looking at me… he’s looking at me. Not my bag. It’s not uncomfortable nor awkward no matter what the situation. And that’s exactly what I need.

I got to spend valentines day with my boyfriend!

Going Topless! – Having Sex When You Have A Stoma

When I first had my stoma put in, I was given a variety of different links to different support groups and various charities I could get in touch with should I feel I need to. At the start of my surgery, I was pretty scared as to how my life would change, and so looked further into joining some of these groups, to meet others in the same situation as me. I’ve been a member of various groups for 2 and a half months now. These groups are open to anybody in need of support or just somebody to vent to. You’re able to post freely about whatever you like.

I have seen many posts regarding sex. Asking things like “what do you wear during sex?” and “what can I do about my bag in the bedroom?”. It seems many people buy different outfits to wear to support their bag, whilst others invest in things like crotchless underwear. These are great ideas, not just for hiding your bag or for support, but for feeling sexy. Which a lot of people can find hard to feel when you have a stoma.

But what about when you don’t want to wear… anything? I mean there’s nothing more intimate than skin-to-skin contact, is there? Is it wrong to want to feel beautiful when wearing just your skin? Is it wrong to feel beautiful in your own skin? Whatever the differences?

I don’t think so. Which is why I have been looking for different ways to feel comfortable during sex. One of those being topless.

Photo on 02-04-2015 at 15.36There are such things as mini-ostomy bags. These bags fit the same as other bags, but are a quarter of the size. There is also a velcro fastening to fold the bag in half if you prefer! This means you can be comfortable in any sexual position – even on top! With the bag being so small, there’s less weight to your stomach, and the “dragging” feeling eases.

There’s also a skin coloured stoma cap you can buy which is so small and barely noticeable. I haven’t tried it myself as I have an ileostomy but apparently it is fantastic for someone with a colostomy! Stoma-Cap-back-filter

A support band is another idea. A band that just sits over your bag and tucks it in. You can get these in lace, if you fancy something a little more flattering.

10982699_918516614872142_4787843721648344028_nGoing topless for the first time after surgery is very daunting, and I was very nervous. I waited until all of the lights were off to take my clothes off. I’d spoken about it with my boyfriend before but I’d always said I felt more at ease with a top on. Both for confidence and comfort reasons. But this time was different. I was wearing a smaller bag and felt comfortable. So the only fear left to face was regarding my confidence.

It put me at great ease to hear my boyfriend say “oh wow, you haven’t got a top on!” in such a proud manor. Nothing else was said. Everything else felt normal. There was no awkwardness, no fear and no shame. A sigh of relief rushed through my body and I felt I’d climbed a further 2 steps up the ladder.

I can’t say I found going topless easy… it was scary. You’re left wondering what your partner may say, or choose not to say… no matter how much they love you. But once you’ve done it the first time, it becomes easier the next. You never know until you try!

If you are interested in a smaller ostomy bag, 
please visit www.securicaremedical.co.uk 
where you will be able to speak to an adviser about 
getting some samples sent out to you.

Why Your Sex Life Matters More When You Have A Stoma

Sex is a big part of any relationship, it’s what breaks down the difference of love and friendship. It’s what creates an intimate bond between two people, cancelling out the question of just being great friends. Although a relationship generally causes the pair of you to become best friends, without sex there is no beyond, it is almost as if the pair of you just like hanging out with each other… a lot.

But after surgery, things can both vastly or gradually become a lot different. For many people after ostomy surgery, sex can become an issue. It can become a fear or a worry, a question of whether your partner will still want you intimately. Many people after surgery can feel unattractive, like no one will ever want them again… without their clothes on. I know I did, when I first came out of surgery I refused to look at my stomach for days. When I finally looked down I hated what I saw. I hated the fact that I had something that made me different. The ileostomy bag wasn’t even the worst of it though. I was convinced I would never be able to change it myself, I didn’t want to see what was underneath. And I didn’t, for weeks on end my mum changed it for me, every time I got close to taking a peak I broke down, apologising frantically to my mum for being such a burden. Of course, she said it was fine, but it wasn’t fine in my eyes.

photo(2)I knew that the only way I’d be able to return home to my own flat was if I changed it myself, and so I plucked up the courage to do so, determined to gain back my independence. From then on I have been able to look at my stoma, and it has gotten easier and easier as each day has passed on. But in my head, that still didn’t mean it would be easy for my partner. Even though I was starting to feel better about myself, there was still the worry of, but how will he feel about my body? Will he still want me? Will he still find me attractive? And I guess that’s how a lot of people feel. And that’s why sex can matter more when you have a stoma. Not because it’s routine and not because it is a major factor in a relationship – but because it is one way of helping you feel better about yourself, and moving on from what has happened; it is one thing to tell you, you are still wanted.

I’m not talking about one night stands and I’m not talking about a major porn style session. I’m talking about the feeling of acceptance. From one person to another. Sex is something that brings two people together in a way like no other. And to have sex after surgery for a stoma is a big thing both mentally and emotionally. It takes a lot of confidence to strip down to your most vulnerable state, especially when you’re not completely sure of yourself. It also strikes the fear that you may not be as physically attractive to your partner. It forces you through a barrier of fear yet creates a window of hope that you’re sexually attractive. Which of course, you ARE. But for some people it takes time to realise that. It can take another person to push you into realising that.

Sex matters more because once you’ve had surgery, you can reach this level of unhappiness with your body that you may not be able to fix by yourself. You have this need to feel wanted, to be told you’re still beautiful. The feeling of loneliness in a relationship is worse than actually being on your own. And knowing you’re still wanted in an intimately physical way can help guide you back to a feeling of happiness. To be wanted is a beautiful thing, especially when you don’t feel you are in your natural skin.

Everyone deals with things in different ways and your partner may have a hard time dealing too. But remember that if they love you, it is almost certainly not anything to do with the fact you have a stoma. When in a relationship, everything you feel reflects onto your partner, it’s almost as if they are able to absorb your emotions. It may effect them in a way you don’t realise, or won’t acknowledge. Think about how you feel when seeing someone cry, or hurt, or become so distressed that you just don’t know what to do. Now imagine your partner watching you fall apart, having watched you being so ill and helpless for such a long time. And now having to watch helplessly as you deal with something that they may have never experienced themselves, trying to help you come to terms with something they may not understand

Ostomy surgery can effect a relationship in so many ways, it can cause tension, it can cause depression, it can cause so much anger that doesn’t actually stem from your relationship, just the trauma you’ve been through. Sex can help you move on from this because it increases stability – normality. It is the one thing that can fill the need for intimacy which may increase to fight against the negativity you may be feeling within yourself. It is one thing that can’t be taken away from you unless you let it. And if it has been, then talk about it. Because it matters. It matters more than ever. It matters because all you want when you feel so alone in your situation is love, attention, someone to scream at you that you are still fucking beautiful.

Sex is a great thing to share with someone you love. And if you feel alone in your relationship, or are scared of their reaction or how they feel towards you now, don’t be. If they love you the way they say they do, something as small as a stoma won’t effect that. If anything, they should feel more grateful that you’re still here, that they’re still able to show you that level of intimacy.

What you’ve been through has put you in a better position physically, so please don’t let it make you feel any differently mentally or emotionally. You’re still you, you’re still beautiful. Just with a bigger story to tell.

What Happened When My Stoma Bag Leaked… In Bed With My Boyfriend!

photoI woke up this morning cuddled up to my boyfriend, with one of my cats rummaging under the duvet covers. Attempting to nestle near my stomach, I frantically tried to push him away, mindful of my ileostomy bag. With this, I felt something damp touch my hand. Warily pulling my hand out the covers, I felt something wet on my skin. With a feeling of dread , I pulled the covers off of me. Just as I had hoped I wouldn’t see. My bag had been slightly pulled from my stomach, causing it too leak during the night. Just what I wanted to wake up to.

A leaking stoma bag is bad enough, but what about when you’re spooning with your partner? It’s not the kind of thing you want to tell them first thing – “sorry babe, I’m worried I’ve pooed on you.”

Of course, being half asleep didn’t help either, I got frustrated and emotional quite quickly, waking my boyfriend up and insisting he leave the room, watching him rush out with the cats, completely bewildered as to what had happened.

As I sat in bed looking down at my stomach, I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it to the bathroom without making a mess. It was in that moment that I knew I needed him. Which was hard. My boyfriend hasn’t seen me like that before, I’d been dealing with leaks myself. So having to be dependent on him with something like that left me feeling embarrassed and upset. Tears fell from my eyes as I called out to him for help.

He bought my some wipes to help clean the mess and cover myself, and told me it was okay. Of course in my eyes it wasn’t okay. Who in their right minds wants to be covered in their own waste, let alone under the watchful eye of their boyfriends!

I was able to run to the shower without further leakage, use my adhesive spray to pull my bag off, and jump in the shower.

Normally, when having a shower, I prepare beforehand. I.e. cutting a fresh bag, placing dry wipes within my reach and setting up a little place for my skin care accessories. With the current situation, this slipped my mind. Again, I had to call for my boyfriend – who was busy stripping the bed sheets – and teach him the art of cutting my ileostomy bag.

Of course, we both got frustrated “no, not like that, turn it at an angle” with him replying “I’m trying my hardest woman”, but we got there in the end. (Well sort of, it wasn’t exactly the circle I’d hoped for!) But he tried. He sorted out my skin care accessories and left me to regain my dignity.

From then on, it was almost as if nothing had happened. Almost as if I had just decided to take a shower earlier than usual.

I’m not sure why, but bag leaks have managed to give me this sense of defeat. I think this is because I have felt I haven’t been in control of the situation. Almost as if it signifies falling two steps back. Having my boyfriend witness me in such a vulnerable state though, and being made to feel like it doesn’t matter, that it’s just something that ‘happens’ has given me a little hope. It has left me feeling as though things like these can’t alter your state of mind.

It’s easy to forget sometimes, no matter how confident you are, and how in control you are of your body, that accidents can happen. And that’s exactly what it was! Just another accident.

Sex with an Ileostomy Bag

I have had a remarkable amount of questions regarding my sex life with an ileostomy bag, and surprisingly, many requests to write about it. Many people seem to be confused as to how it works, if sex is still an option, and if the ileostomy bag changes anything. Of course, no relationship is the same, and everyone reacts differently. Some people may not feel comfortable enough to have sex, whilst for some people it isn’t an issue…

And of course, I am one of those people. There is no way I have let this bag effect my sex life. In fact, one of the first questions I asked my stoma nurse was “can I still have sex?” of course, she replied “yes” so naturally, my next question was “how soon?”

I was told I was able to have sex once I felt comfortable enough, once I felt my pain had subsided enough and when I felt confident to do so. Obviously, you’re not going to want to do it straight after your surgery, but I mean, I only waited two weeks – I’d been in hospital for so long I felt like a virgin again!
So.. How does it work you ask?

Obviously, sex works how it would within any couple… the only difference being that my partner has to be a little wary of my stomach. Whilst in recovery, I feel it’s best to just keep it simple, basic positions – you don’t want any injuries when you’ve only just escaped from the hospital! This means no porn star moves just yet!

You can get small covers for your stoma, and there are smaller bags available if you’re feeling a self-concious, but in such early stages, dealing with skin irritation from my ileostomy bag, I just keep a top as a precaution. Of course, I drain the bag before hand, and tuck it up into the second velcro strap so that there is no chance of it catching or being pulled. But I will definitely be trying out the smaller covers at one point or another!

Of course, mine and my partners first time whilst I have my bag was very daunting, I was constantly being asked “are you okay? you’re not in pain are you?” I’m almost certain he was convinced he was going to kill me!

Luckily, me and my partner have always had a great sex life. And for us, nothing has changed. A bags just a bag I’m afraid. I’m still me. I’m still his! I do understand though that it may be a little more terrifying if you’re just starting out in a relationship, and every things new. But don’t let it stop you from feeling sexy! Who looks at a stomach during sex anyway?!