Nothing’s Going to Stop Me Now!!!
I have an ostomy. Wait, did I just say that? Yes, I did, and these haven’t always been easy words to say. Let me explain.
I’ve had an ostomy all my life. You would think by now those words would be like saying hi, hello, how are you? This is why it wasn’t.
As a child my ostomy was never talked about. I guess if you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist. Not true. When I became an adult, I realized not talking about it did affect me and it affects other ostomates too.
Depression – I know you feel alone. I did, like I was the only one. Talk about it, it’s not an ugly word. You’ll be surprised at the positive responses you’ll get.
Remember, I’m writing this, I have an ostomy. You’re not alone and you are not the only one. Why me, why not me, why not you. Because of our ostomy we have a story only a select few have.
Anxiety- Oh the anxiety. I know people smell me. Why is this thing so loud? I’m sure everyone in this place can hear it. That’s why everyone is looking at me. No! I think it’s leaking, did it get on my shirt, that’s why they’re looking at me. That anxiety is normal. But guess what, we don’t smell, and pouches are made from material that prevents smells.
Remember, everyone’s stomach makes noises. Right? Sometimes even loud. Leaks can cause a lot of anxiety. I remember a time I was far from home, had a leak, and had nothing with me. I learned quickly to reduce the anxiety by always being prepared. Carry supplies and extra clothes in your purse or car so you’re not caught off guard. You will be surprised by how much having supplies on hand, at all times, reduces anxiety.
Self-esteem- I’m not going out with this bag, someone might be able to see it through my clothes. They won’t understand, and I don’t want to answer the many questions they may ask. What is the worse that could happen if someone asks? Nothing, because you would be the best person to educate others. The more you educate others the more you educate yourself. Then you become more comfortable and confident with who you are. In no time, you won’t think twice about answering questions.
Do you like compliments? You should. Having an ostomy can make this difficult. Why would anyone want to compliment me? I have scars on my body and a bag on my side. Yes, you do have scars and a bag on your side. Your body does look different. This does not change who you are. You deserve those compliments, embrace them. Repeat after me, this bag doesn’t change me, this bag doesn’t change me, this bag doesn’t change me. Continue to believe that!
I don’t trust my own opinion and I’m not capable of doing things that “normal” people do. This thought really showed up when I was in nursing school. On the way out from taking my NCLEX, I picked up the brochure on steps to retake the test, because I was sure that I failed. Wait, someone with an ostomy can go to nursing school, pass the NCLEX first time, and be a nurse? Yes! I can do anything! My ostomy is not going to stop me, and you should not let yours stop you either.
If you have an ostomy or if you are facing ostomy surgery, remember these things: an ostomy is not a bad word so talk about it, you don’t smell, you are the same person with your ostomy and the most important thing is that you can do anything.
Don’t ever let your ostomy stop you!!