It's no secret that having bowel surgery is hard on your gut. Your digestive system is essentially going through trauma, and it can take a while to get your appetite back. When you have ostomy surgery, you have to be careful with your food choices and slowly introduce new things throughout your recovery. You might react differently to foods that you easily tolerated before. You also have to be mindful of blockages, which can happen when food that is hard to digest obstructs intestinal contents from being able to pass through your stoma.

My biggest concern with going into surgery was the effect that surgery would have on my appetite and the possibility of blockages. I had read so many blogs and seen so many videos of other ostomates talking about their experiences, and I was terrified. I've struggled with emetophobia, an extreme fear of vomiting, for as long as I can remember. Because of this, I've always been a very restrictive eater. Since receiving my ostomy, my diet has gotten even worse. I spent the first few weeks feeling nauseated, and because of that, I was very hesitant to eat. And once I got my appetite, I was overly cautious of what I did allow myself to eat. I was so afraid that I would have a blockage, and if having a blockage can make you throw up, then I wanted to do everything in my power to avoid it.

It's been almost seven months since my surgery, and even though my medical team has given me the clearance to try new foods, I still struggle. Emetophobia is something that I battle every day, but I am taking steps to overcome it. I am challenging myself to try something new, carefully, each week. I remind myself that it is ok to talk about my fears. My friends and family have been pushing me to expand what I can tolerate, and their support is important to me. They help to push me past what I would typically refuse to do if it were solely up to me. I know that I will eventually work my way into a more balanced diet. I am also learning to accept that it is ok to admit when you're struggling.

Has your diet changed since your surgery? Have you ever had a blockage?

What fears do you live with, and how do you try to overcome them?