On September 24, 2013 I had permanent ileostomy surgery due to Crohn’s disease. Having a stoma may have its challenges and take a bit of getting used to, but for me it's truly a blessing and has given me back my life.
Here are 10 reasons why my life is great with an ostomy:
No longer does my life revolve around being close to a toilet. No longer are the bathrooms the first thing I scope out whenever I go anywhere. I can do all those things I love without the fear of having an accident. My sense of freedom returned when I began doing all the things I love — overseas holidays, concerts, road trips, going for long walks, shopping, going out for dinner... it all became so much easier.
2. I Can Literally Poo Anywhere
I love the fact that I can "go" anywhere – on the train, sitting at m desk at work, in bed, at the dinner table, midway through a conversation. And unless my stoma decides to get a little noisy, usually no one is the wiser.
3. Having A Stoma Means LESS Of So Many Things That I Want Less Of
Less doctors and hospital visits, less medication, less side effects, less pain, less anxiety, less worry, less reliance, less stress. Less of these things means MORE of the good things. More independence, strength, resilience, money in the bank account, confidence, and more time and energy to spend on better things.
4. A New Companion
My stoma is there for me through thick and thin — with me always and everywhere. I refer to my stoma as my "little buddy." I care for it, talk to it, protect it.
5. A Healthier And Happier Life
For most ostomates, ostomy surgery is lifesaving. Having a stoma can be a difficult adjustment at first, but hopefully it leads to a significant improvement in health and quality of life. Being healthy definitely contributes to my happiness (and vice versa).
6. An Excuse To Eat Jelly Beans
If my output gets a bit too liquid, I have the perfect excuse to eat lots of jelly beans! There are many other foods I eat that help thicken or slow output like peanut butter, marshmallows, cheese, bananas, apple sauce, rice pudding, pretzels, yogurt and mashed potatoes. But remember, a balanced diet including all food groups is important too.
7. A Greater Understanding Of Personal Values
Most of us with a stoma have been through some pretty life-changing experiences. I’ve done a lot of soul searching since having my ostomy surgery. I definitely appreciate my life and value the little things that bring me happiness.
8. Gratitude For My Life And Relationships
Having an ostomy has helped me reassess my priorities and figure out what is really important to me. I have closer and stronger relationships with those I love and a greater joy of living.
9. An Opportunity To Meet Lots Of Like-Minded Awesome People
In December I had the absolute pleasure and privilege of attending my very first Purple Wings Charity event since moving to the UK. For those of you who don’t know about Purple Wings Charity, their vision is “helping sufferers of IBD with ostomies regain confidence and self-esteem.”
10. STOMA-LICIOUS WAS BORN
An incredibly important and personally significant reason for me is that I started a blog and Facebook page to help raise awareness for IBD and create an open, honest forum to talk about ostomies. The birth of Stoma-licious happened on May 19, 2015 to coincide with World IBD Day, and I also participated in the #UnitedWeStand2015 video campaign.