Air Travel With An Ostomy Has Been An Interesting Experience

TSA love-fest.
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This post was originally published on Cancer Owl.

I like posting comics about ostomy bags because I had one and it's such a unique experience. With my true story comics, I like to show the kinds of things that cancer patients experience and for many colon cancer patients/survivors, an ostomy bag is part of the experience.

My good friend and Colon Club sister, Diana Sloan, has a colostomy bag. The future of whether she will lose the bag is unclear, but she takes on this life change with an incredible humor and spirit. I can tell you from personal experience that crapping from your stomach into a bag takes a huge mental and emotional toll initially, so having a healthy sense of humor is so key.

Note: Below is the original story submission on Cancer Owl. Diana's freaking awesome. She just is, and she's a great writer. Definitely read her story which goes into more hilarious detail about the Transportation Security Administration:

I have had a colostomy, affectionately known as Fred, for a little over two years. Air travel with Fred has been an interesting experience. From always taking an aisle seat to being very thankful for super smelly soap to cover the funk that could kill small animals when I burp my bag in the plane bathrooms, I have made adjustments without much trouble. The biggest change is the TSA love fest I experience now. Every. Single. Flight. It is a given that I will be tested for explosives because of Fred and our bag. I press all over the bag and stoma, get swabbed, the machine gives the okay, and I am on my way. No big deal, but recently I have been getting my luggage pulled and the full on frisk.

When I went to Colon Camp, two of my sisters got to see my entire suitcase dumped and the very thorough pat down I received. They took pictures because it was a rather lengthy process and it was pretty funny.

Well, when I went to Chicago this week I got the supervisor/trainee pat down. Now keep in mind TSA is always nice and offers to take me to a private room for screenings. The only problem with that is I have to leave all my stuff on the conveyor while being checked. That's a big ole nope for me. Not getting my stuff taken so grope away for the world to see.

Anyway like I said trainee. She starts the normal what do you have at your waist. So I tell her. She asks is there any part sensitive and I say, "Yes here on the stoma." Her eyes got so big y'all and she says, "A what now?" I repeat what it is and I know she doesn't know what I'm talking about. I told her just don't press down hard here. No biggie. Well, I got thoroughly and completely frisked. Then she tells me to "hold on to my belt loops so my pants don't fall down." Now it was my turn to be confused. Do what now? She proceeded to shove her hand down my shorts all the way around my waist. Holding on to the belt loops was great advice because I surely would have dropped trow in front of the entire airport if I hadn't. And nobody wants to see that.

Then on the way back I had my normal frisk and swab, but my luggage was pulled again. Emptied and swabbed for explosives three times. Apparently baby wipes, various ostomy supplies and makeup removal wipes are not my friend y'all.

So, if you see me in the airport hanging out with my friends at TSA, I promise I'm not shady. Hanging out with Fred just makes me very popular. I expect paparazzi for him at some point.

Cancer Owl - TSA love-fest