I read an article by a lovely young lady the other day called Bethany Gallagher. She was doing her bit to raise awareness and dispel myths, fables and stigma of stoma owning.
It was a great article where she shared her experience of ill health - back to better health once she had her stoma. She wanted to show it’s not the end of the world (a very good point, because it’s literally not). She’s absolutely stunning with a cracking figure, the article had photos of her in her clothing and in her undies and she looked equally fabulous in both. From my point of view she could only be commended for her willingness to give stoma wearing a positive spin.
I loved her energy, positivity and her body confidence.
Anyway I moved on to the comments, I really shouldn’t have, I’ve read enough of the Daily Mail onlines comments pages to know you should never look at what some people on this planet feel is acceptable to say to others from behind a keyboard.
But one man’s comments stuck in my mind. He was apparently “fully supportive” of her and wished her well but felt if she was really as cool and calm about having a stoma she should just quietly move on with her life and not feel any need to share anything about it with anyone.
.......because that’s how information and knowledge is passed on, we all silently keep our mouths shut about any experience we’ve had?!?!?
Put it this way, I share my mundane weeks activities and experiences with people because I believe knowledge is power, I believe a shared experience can help someone - even if it’s just ONE person, I believe that being open and honest about stoma owning can demystify what can be perceived as a rotten situation.
I wrote an article myself a while back that was republished on an online ostomy site last week. In it I took on a newspaper article, which had described a colostomy as the worst case scenario. Making a stoma into the worst case scenario in my mind is as foolish as it is offensive. The whole point of having a stoma put in for most people is to avoid the most obvious “worst case scenario”...for me the worst case scenario of having stage 3 cancer would have quite obviously been death. For heavens sake a stoma is a delightful walk in the park if you consider actual worst case scenarios.
For a lot of IBD sufferers the worst case scenario is to stay in debilitating pain.
....and then I foolishly moved on to the comments section on the site that had published my piece...for the most part people agreed that a stoma isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. Yey! Great! Like minded souls.
Apart from one commenter that is, who must have felt aggrieved by my perkiness. And reeled off a list of horrible issues they had been suffering since stoma surgery;
I’m not unsympathetic to the problems that some people can have with their stomas and never once in my blogs have I ever suggested that every surgery has a happily ever after like mine....Well I say like mine, but as it happens, yes I have suffered the indignity of leaks, I appreciate not continuously and not to the degree this reader is suffering but make no mistake sometimes you get unlucky and they leak. But also whilst I had undiagnosed cancer I had the indignity of accidents then too...in the old fashioned way. A rather large tumour up ones arse tends to have that effect.
I feel very sad that this commenter is going through a dreadful time, it sounds truly horrendous.
Any form of surgery carries risks and possible complications but no one’s hating on Caesarian sections because some people have had a bad time with them. Complications can happen, and for that I’m truly sorry. That is grim.
I’m not a doctor, I can’t help with medical needs, I’ve never professed to be an expert. I’m just a house wife mum of two, soon to be grandma of one that’s happily loving stoma life and sharing my journey along the way.
Forgive me and allow me my sheer delight of firstly not dying and secondly not being in the excruciating pain I suffered for about 5-7 years pre diagnosis and thirdly never having to dread and fear passing wind in public ever again (Because sometimes is wasn’t just wind).
My personal opinion is factual and is pragmatic - it’s MY experience. I’m merely sharing what I know about me and my life so far with a little pink blob of bowel on the outside of my body. A body I feel proud of, a body that has kept me alive ~ because of a little plastic bag.
There’s a saying that I particularly love and revisit a lot.
“If we all threw all our problems in the air ~ you’d be glad you caught your own”
I truly believe this.
I’m not some ditzy airhead that’s just super cheery and overly positive for no reason, I’ve got very good reasons to live happily and more to the point gratefully. I just want to show stomas in a positive light because I feel positive about it.
I certainly didn’t feel positive pre op, no, pre op I nigh on had a breakdown with the very thought of it, which is why I share my good experience now. I could go around keeping quiet, not telling anyone about how well I feel and how easy I find stoma-ing, but how would that help salve a prospective patient facing stoma surgery. How could me staying quiet possibly help someone who is in the middle of that utter trauma of the unknown right now. If I stayed silent it really wouldn’t help anyone would it. So I put myself out there with hundreds of other stoma bloggers, writers and advocates to help make the transition a more peaceful, less traumatic one.
I’ll leave the writing of the blog of stoma woes to someone else. I won’t lie, I don’t gloss over the fact that sometimes it’s hard work to have a stoma but I won’t write what I haven’t experienced either. My stoma behaves itself pretty much most of the time....As it was pointed out to me, I am indeed very lucky.
I’ve experienced some rough times in my life, amongst other things my youngest son was born with a hole in his heart, we got lucky and it closed under supervision but without intervention when he was 18 months old, my first born son was diagnosed with advanced stage, inoperable Cancer (Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma) when he was just 13 years old...there’s only one thing worse than fearing you will lose your child and that is actually losing your child. We’re so lucky and so blessed and full of gratitude that they are both alive and well, happy and healthy that having a stoma, for ‘me personally’ is not the end of the world and most certainly isn’t the worst case scenario, no where near it!
I wouldn’t wish our experience in life on anyone else and I’d like to think others would feel the same about their problems too.
I choose to be happy, I Choose to be satisfied and grateful, I choose to see the positive in life.
I saw this on insta today and thought hell yes!! 100%!!
Anyway swiftly moving on, I finally fulfilled a dream I’ve had for many years on Saturday. Chris took me to a fancy garden centre in Richmond, it was lovely, but I can’t deny that sometimes maybe it’s better to just dream about something rather than visit it. Hahahahaha
I had built it up in my head to be something super amazing, it’s always advertised in the homes magazines and looked incredible! And in fairness it was lovely, but sadly it didn’t blow my mind. We had a look round at all the pretty things and stopped for an over priced slice of dry cake and left again. After nearly 4 hour round trip it was just slightly disappointing.
A slice of cake and a cuppa and then a lovely if not brief stroll to Richmond Common.
Like I said, it was very cute and aesthetically pleasing, just not what I had built it up to be to have been worth the journey over.
I had to undo my jeans for the trip over there. I covered myself up with my top, but walking round with my jeans done up is a challenge right now.
I’ve had constipation since last Tuesday, it’s been a little annoying. Passing rock hard, dry pebbles isn't as much fun as it sounds hahahahahaha. So far I’m trying to treat it with food, plenty of veg and trying to drink as much water as possible without setting off my bladder spasms. I could go down the laxatives route but I find that makes me feel bilious and upsets everything for weeks after, so they will be my last resort.
It’s time to go back to dresses for a bit. Dresses are almost medicinal when you have a stoma, great for which ever way your output decides to go. Hahahahaha
I chose the dress for the day ahead but got in a pickle choosing boots.
And delightfully I was able to wear 10 denier tights in flesh tone. I’ve not worn 10 denier in the 8 years I’ve had my stoma! They are not capable of withstanding the hole I need to cut into them. But I found these body shaping ones in Boots and they’re great! The body shaping part at the top is thick and tough, designed to hold fat in. Perfect for cutting a hole in and poking my bag through.
I’m so pleased with them. I will be ordering more.
Boots chosen I merrily went off to work, taking a friend with me for a cuppa and a catch up. I love my place of work so much I love taking people in with me. It’s one of my happiest places, no joke, I find it very restful and if you’re ever passing by Neptune in Colchester I recommend a little look see. Hahahahaha