Dear New Ostomate – Please be patient with yourself.
I promise you, it gets easier
It’s not easy having a colostomy bag. Adapting to new changes. A whole new way of living. No one can tell you that it’s going to be easy. It’s not easy even for the strongest person.
But I promise you, it will get easier! You will get used to it and you will be braver as time goes on.
People will ask you questions. Lots of them.
Some of them will be awkward
“but what about your bum, don’t you poo out there anymore?”
Others will be about their own curiosity
“what does it look like?”
Some will be silly
“I thought only old people get them”
You don’t have to answer anything you don’t want to. You don’t have to tell anyone about your ostomy if you don’t want to.
I chose to educate people so that they know what it is. I didn’t want people to continue living with no clue that you can have an ostomy at ANY age! Even tiny babies have them so no, it’s not just for old people.
At the end of the day, most people are just ignorant and they don’t mean to be offensive.
When your ostomy let’s out a loud fart and people laugh, it’s because they don’t know how else to handle the situation. Farting in public is so taboo but when you can’t control what sounds come out of your stoma, they will react in the only way they know how.
Don’t feel ashamed. It’s not you. It’s them. Really.Dear new ostomate, it gets easier - I promise! #OstomyAwareness Click To Tweet
You will have bad experiences
Your bag might fall off in public. Yes, true story! You might feel the world of shame rushing down on you. You will survive.
You might wake up in the middle of the night and your bag has burst. You might have to clean up a huge mess. It’s just an icky part of being an ostomate.
You might get sneered at for using a disabled loo
“BUT YOU DON’T LOOK DISABLED” but that’s okay. That’s their issue not yours. Not all disabilities are visible. Yours especially isn’t. You can flash your bag at them if you like (that’ll shut them up) or you can choose to just walk away.
You can choose to explain to people what it means to have an invisible disability. Or you can choose to laugh it off. The shame isn’t on you.Not all disabilities are visible #OstomyAwareness Click To Tweet
It might take a while to adapt
You might date someone new. If you’re single and not in a relationship. They will probably not know how to handle it. I promise you, a normal relationship is possible. Please don’t feel ashamed or like you’re not good enough.
If you want to go on and have babies, it’s possible for plenty ostomates and having a stoma doesn’t mean you can’t have a normal pregnancy.
You will find that alcohol makes your output more runny and that you either have to cut back on drinking or be prepared for your bag to fill up and then fill up again! It’s just a part of your new way of life. You will get used to it. You may never like it, but you will learn to adapt.
You will discover that some foods cause problems, some create more gas and some cause blockages. Don’t panic. Over time, you will learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Hint: gassy drinks are a no-no in public 😛
You will ask yourself questions like “WHY ME?” and you will be sad that this is your new normal. You might feel like a weirdo or a freak or like you’re being punished for something. I think these kinds of feelings are normal but please remember, you aren’t a freak and you’re not being punished.
Be patient with yourself
It helped me a lot when I thought “why me?” to remind myself “why not me?” – This happens to so many people on a daily basis that the odds really are that it could happen to anyone.
I constantly reminded myself that my stoma saved my life. It helped me so much when I felt sorry for myself to remember that the alternative was dying. I didn’t die. My stoma saved my life.
I know it’s not easy but dearest new ostomate, be kind to yourself. You will adjust and you may never truly accept your ostomy but I promise you, it gets easier to know how to live with it.
You can still wear normal clothing and most people will never know it even exists. It’s your choice to tell people, or not to.
But please, never be ashamed of yourself or your stoma.
People with stoma’s are normal people too. They are people like you and people like me. They just have a different normal that’s all.
Be kind to yourself. Love yourself.
I promise you, life goes on and people accept it and you more easily than you think.
Please be patient with yourself.
It gets easier!