Ever since I've been living with an ileostomy, I’ve heard one phrase over and over again...
“I don’t know how you do that, I could never do it.”
Occasionally, I’ve also heard...
“I’d rather die than have to live with an ostomy.”
The first one is understandable, because who would think about living with one and be excited, or think ‘yeah I can totally do that?’ Of course it’s scary, and anyone would worry about it. But the truth is, you do it because you have to. It’s the hand you were dealt and it’s really just like accepting any other reality. However, the second one? “I’d rather die than have to live with an ostomy.” That one blew my mind. Really? You’d rather die? DIE? Actually STOP living??
This confirms to me one very obvious truth: You obviously have NO IDEA what it’s actually like to live with an ostomy, and that is the only reason why you could say something so outrageous. Well, to me it’s outrageous, because I live with an ileostomy, and most of the time I don’t even think twice about it.
I’d like to point out why living with an ileostomy is awesome, and sometimes downright hilarious:
1 - I’m still alive and symptom free.
I’m just going to start with the most obvious reason. I owe that to my ileostomy, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
2 - I never have to race to make it to the toilet.
You know when you get “the runs” and you literally have to RUN to the bathroom. That no longer exists for me. There is literally no urgency. I just empty when I need to empty. Nice right?
3 - When my ileostomy “farts” it doesn’t sound like a fart.
Have you ever accidentally farted at the most inopportune moment and wanted to just pass out from embarrassment? Well I have. Thank you Crohn’s disease. But now, when my ileostomy “farts” it doesn’t sound like a fart. So ‘let it rip’ however often it wants. Not only will you not smell anything, but you probably won’t even know what the noise was, much less who it came from. Awesome!
4 - With an ileostomy, I just quickly sit and empty.
How much time do you waste sitting on the toilet going #2? If you’re an IBD’er, then it’s probably A LOT. With an ileostomy, that's all went away for me. I just sit and empty my pouch. It literally takes the same amount of time to empty, as it does to sit down and go pee. That is awesome!
5 - I don’t actually have to sit on yucky public restroom toilets.
Okay, so this is probably my favorite thing about living with an ileostomy. You know when you walk into a public restroom and it’s DISGUSTING? And what about using a Port-A-Potty? GROSS! Then it occurred to me, I don’t actually have to sit. I can lean over and empty into the toilet with my clothes on, without ever sitting on the seat. How many of you can do that? Well with an ileostomy, you can. It’s awesome!
I hope what I’ve shown you, is that not only is an ileostomy a life-saving surgery, but that it can change your life for the better. You can also have some fun with it and appreciate other little benefits along the way.
This post originally appeared on Life, Lemons and Lemonade.