If someone were to ask you what you value most, I’m sure that relationships with friends and family would be at the top of the list. When a person you care about is living with an ostomy, they’ve likely been through a lot. It's a life-saving surgery for many but it’s also life-altering.
It's the little things in life that mean the most. Here are five simple, yet meaningful ways to make the ostomate in your life feel special on World Kindness Day or any day!
1. The Gift of Hydration
One of the most important things ostomates should maintain at all times is hydration. It’s a habit that takes discipline and constant maintenance, but you can help by reminding them to drink up! If you’re out at the store, pick up an electrolyte supplement, a refreshing coconut water or a reusable bottle. These small gifts are reminders that you care and can make a big difference.
2. Books Can Heal
Ostomy surgery can be intimidating. Fear of the unknown, changes in body appearance and wearing an ostomy appliance may cause anxiety. Books have helped many ostomates through some tough times. It can also help pass the time while recovering in the hospital or at home. There are several uplifting books written by ostomate authors available in paperback and Kindle.
3. Healthy Meet-Up
Instead of meeting up for coffee, perhaps suggest a great spot for tea, juice or smoothie instead. Juice bars are all the rage nowadays, so it won’t be hard to find one near you. Raw fruits and veggies are sometimes hard to digest for ostomates, so cold-pressed juices and blended fruit smoothies are a great option. The nutrients in freshly prepared fruit and veggies can help give your ostomy-buddy natural energy and the benefits will last longer than a quick caffeine fix… you’ll benefit too!
4. Learn Something New Together
Coping emotionally after ostomy surgery is different for everyone and some ostomates go through very dark times. If you’re trying to comfort your friend who just had ostomy surgery, but just can’t relate to what they’re going through you’re not alone. Look for an ostomy support group in your area and attend a meeting with your friend. Making face-to-face connections with others who have gone through the same challenges can be one of the best sources of comfort and encouragement. Learning from others plays big part in moving forward when everything seems overwhelming.
5. Mood Boosters
It’s the simple gestures of caring that seem to work every time. A hug, a heartfelt compliment, even a smile—no firecrackers, confetti or summersaults needed. If your ostomy-buddy lives far away, call them up on the phone and say, "I have nothing important to discuss, but I just wanted to hear how you’re doing.” Listening without judgment can help someone feel loved and understood. Sometimes saying "don't give up" will help get them through the day.