The opinions of others.

22 Jul

When you first get your ostomy, or even before your op, it’s normal to worry about what others will think. Some people don’t & decide from the offset that they are going to be really open about their bag and not care what anyone has to say; positive or negative, but most people do worry about it. Before my op, I didn’t really think about what others would think of my bag, if I am honest, I was mainly focusing my thinking on how good it would feel to have a life.

After my op, I wanted to wear clothes that I liked, obviously, so other people seeing my bag wasn’t really an issue, as I’ve never been into tops that show my belly or cut-out tops, and my Mum bought me a Comfizz waistband for me to wear under my clothes.

It has never been my bag showing that has bothered me, more the scar because of the difference in scar colour compared to my pale skin. I think my scar itself is a lot more noticeable. I have a 5/6 inch scar up my stomach, to the left of my navel (as I look at it) from my operation, as they had to take my colon and tumour out via that as it wasn’t possible via keyhole surgery.

Many a time I stood and looked in the mirror before my surgery and cried at the thought of my stomach being no longer ‘bare’ and having to have something on it for the rest of my life. Even then, I couldn’t picture it or imagine what it would be like. A month or so before my operation, my stoma nurse gave me a fake stoma and some bags to get used to what it would be like to have one on my tummy and to practice changing bags/emptying them. This benefited me as it made me more prepared, but still, you never know what it’s like until you’ve had the operation and you have to deal with it, no choice on the matter.

As more time passed after surgery, I soon grew to realise that indeed, Stacey would fit around me, and that I wouldn’t have to fit around her. Of course, in the initial recovery period, there are a lot of new things to learn and life is pretty much about your new stoma and adjusting to it as you begin to get your life back, but in time, my routine I have with it for changing my bag has become as natural to me as brushing my teeth, it has become part of me. I am nearly a year post surgery, and I am still learning a lot about what food affects my output etc, but I know Stacey quite well now and am very comfortable with her.

So how do you tell others? Well, you might not want to, it’s entirely up to you, but you shouldn’t feel ashamed of having an ostomy. Of course, you can gauge who you can tell and who you can’t. I can just gauge with some people who has a narrow mind and would probably not take the news of me having a stoma in a positive light, but I can also tell with most people who would be interested in it and accept it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t use it as a conversation starter with new people, unless of course, you’re at an ostomy roadshow or something similar, but then again, I’m not scared to bring it up. If people can’t accept it, then that’s their problem, not yours.

Take a recent example, I have been quite apprehensive about how I will tell people when I go to University and what University Life will be like with Stacey, but I stayed at a good friend’s University house a few weeks back. We went round to a little gathering at another house, all these people I have never met before, and 2 hours in, there we all were talking about health and Stacey popped into the conversation. Everybody was really interested in learning about what a stoma is and how I got it, to my pleasant surprise. I then had a bit of a worried moment a few hours later about emptying my bag in the toilet as I had forgotten to put some of my Ostomy Deodrant in, then one of the guys I met came up to me and reassured me that a toilet is a toilet and it really did not matter. He reassured me that they were getting to know me for me, and that my bag is simply a part of me and if anything, makes them think a lot more of me for what I’ve gone through and being so brave and positive with it all. This honestly made me well up. For so long I had been worrying about the University lifestyle, that it couldn’t have gone any better to sway my opinion. Now I feel a lot better about going to University. Admittedly, there will be some people who won’t try to understand or I won’t tell, but I certainly won’t deny having one if the chance comes up in conversation or I get asked. Why should I? I have nothing to be ashamed of. There will be a wide range of people with different health problems there, and different backgrounds and lifestyles, and Stacey is simply part of my life and background.

If anyone ever tells you you can’t be proud, or feel sexy, or show off your body with a bag, prove them wrong! Yes, nobody’s perfect, but we should all feel proud of our bags and scars for everything we have overcome! I wonder if we’d see the people who criticise going through the hell some of us have had to go through and still come out the other side smiling? Something tells me their minds are too narrow.

Here is me braving it all 🙂 I hope this shows you all that really, having a bag is not the end of the world, in fact, it is something that has it’s own beauty & is something to embrace. Mine gave me my life, without it, I would not be here. Embrace your bag & you, you are one special being ♥!


Ostomism not Pessimism™ ♥

14 Responses to “The opinions of others.”

  1. Daniel July 22, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Ive had a stoma for about the same time as you and I am addicted to reading your posts. You tell it all in such a real way and Im really proud of the way you cope with everything 🙂
    I hope it keeps you well in the future and doesn’t cause too much trouble!
    Well done and, keep up with the blogs, it helps. 🙂

    • staceystoma July 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

      Daniel, thanks for your comment, I am glad you enjoy reading my blog!
      My friend & I run a support group called ‘My Bag & I’ on Facebook if you fancy more ostomates to chat to! 🙂

  2. julia christine stephen July 22, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    thanks for the post…my wife has crohnes and although we know that this will be an inevitability, we don not talk about it. 🙂

    • staceystoma July 23, 2012 at 12:22 am #

      thank you 🙂
      if you ever need to talk, i am here!! x

      • julia christine stephen July 23, 2012 at 12:37 am #

        that is very nice of you, thank you 🙂

      • staceystoma July 23, 2012 at 1:33 am #

        No worries, my friend Meg & I run a closed support group on Facebook if you ever need to ask questions about having an ostomy, search ‘My Bag & I’ and request to join if you like!

  3. A Guy With Crohn's July 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    I think it is great that you feel so comfortable to show yourself off. You are a very pretty woman and should never feel pressure to cover up. I hate when people think you should keep your scars and bags covered up. Guess what…it is part of life…deal with it. I myself haven’t had any CD related surgeries yet but you never know what the future holds.

    I think more people should speak up and feel as comfortable as you do with their bodies. We are all beautiful no mater what. Keep up the great blog also.

  4. classic christian louboutin pumps July 29, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    I happen to be commenting to let you know what a outstanding discovery our daughter had reading through your webblog. She came to understand a good number of issues, most notably what it’s like to possess an excellent coaching mood to have other people smoothly thoroughly grasp specified problematic issues. You really did more than our own expectations. Thanks for coming up with those important, trusted, explanatory not to mention fun guidance on your topic to Gloria.

  5. sdempster August 5, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Wonderful blog entry and equally wonderful pics from a genuinely brave and lovely woman. I’m sure you will have fun and kick ass (metaphorically speaking) at University too 🙂

  6. kissmyostomy October 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    I love your confidence and hope to get there myself. You are certainly a beautiful woman. While I’ve laid out at the pool with my ostomy bag in plain sight I can’t say that I’ve felt as confident as I did before all the surgeries and becoming an ostomate. I’d love sometime to create a photo blog/journal of beautiful and confident ostomates from around the world. I think it would go a long way to helping reduce stigmas.

    • staceystoma November 16, 2013 at 1:31 am #

      Hiya 🙂
      Thank you for such kind words! You can do anything you want to! That sounds like a good idea, if you want any help just e-mail me. My address is in my About Me section.

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