THIS HAPPENED is an ongoing series where readers share firsthand experiences living with an ostomy.
If having cancer has a stigma, then having an ostomy bag must be like a hundred times more. When you read this comic you might think, "No way! She's making that up!" I can affirm that: NO, this really happens. I had a co-worker who went around telling my other co-workers that he could smell my bag, and it was humiliating.
Below is the original story submission on Cancer Owl from my cancer survivor friend, Heather. Her true-life experience takes the cake for shocking things that people can say to – and about you – when you poop in a colostomy bag.
At 25, I was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer. As a result of all the nastiness in my colon's playground, I received an emergent loop colostomy. I hated it, despised it, was embarrassed by it, and nervous to be around people. As luck would have it, the time period was around Christmas, so as soon as I vacated the hospital my family members were calling to invite me to their holiday parties.
Mostly everyone was very sweet and accommodating, simply asking how I was doing and if they needed to get me anything special during my visit. Mostly everyone did not include one snarky Aunt, we'll call her Liza. The first words out of her mouth were, "Well if Heather is coming she needs to hang some of those car air fresheners around her neck; we don't need no (sick) poop smell around the lasagna." True story. The end.
This post originally appeared on Cancer Owl.