This post was originally published on Gladrags & Bags.
Upon reading an article in the Daily Mail, you could be forgiven for thinking that having an ostomy of any kind – be it a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy – would be a living hell. I understand this particular article was bringing with it joyous information about incredible pioneering work being done on benign polyps. Meaning, people who previously would've needed a permanent colostomy can now possibly have the polyp itself removed without excess damage to the area, thus cutting out the need for a stoma.
I would indeed be miffed if I ended up with a colostomy for something that wasn't wholly necessary, but at the same time, the (assumingly non-stoma) tabloid reporter portrayed ostomies in a very negative light. I'm not sensitive about having a colostomy but there are people who (understandably) struggle with theirs, or are soon facing surgery and don't need to read about it in a negative way. Some sensitivity and compassion wouldn't have gone amiss. Reporting on new medical breakthroughs is important, but do it without alienating and upsetting whole swathes of people. We just don't need it, thanks.
Let me ask this question. Does my life look particularly negative or dreadful to you?
No, of course it doesn't. I have a dream life and I'm very grateful for it. Some of it’s luck, some of it's making smart choices, some of it's making the most of what you have, and some of it's hard work. The fact I have a stoma is in some ways irrelevant to the quality of my life. Without it, I wouldn't have a life. And I don't mean poor quality. I mean I would be dead. No ifs, ands, or buts!
That's what my stoma did for me, it saved my life, therefore I feel very affectionate towards it. I have an amazing life with it and because of it. I'm passionate about spreading positivity about having a colostomy, mainly because it isn't the end of the world... it's a whole new beginning!
Is it ideal to have one? Depends where you're coming from. If you're perfectly fit and healthy and everything is in correct working order then no, I wouldn't advise it. But if you're in a terrible state due to disease or conditions of the bowel I would say hell yeah! It literally will be a game changer. I'm very pro-ostomy for obvious reasons. They do have many positive features, besides the whole still being alive extravaganza!
On our trip to New York, I did get frustrated having to wait around for hubby's toilet breaks! Hahahahahah. I suggested that everyone be fitted with a colostomy just to save faffing around waiting for the right time to nip to the loo! These toilet dwellers are so parochial with their old-fashioned ways. ;)
If you are facing life with a stoma, please be reassured that invariably things are never as bad as you'd imagine them to be. I, myself was out of my head with disgust and trauma before my AP resection and then instantly "fell in love" with my little pink blob of a stoma once I came round post-op.
Nothing could be further from what I imagined it was going to be, and apart from me not being able to wear slinky silk dresses (and let's face it with this chubby little body wearing silky frocks wasn't in my future anyway lol), life is pretty darn good!
Maybe it's age or maybe it's life experience but I'm perfectly body confident these days. Although my husband may very well disagree with this bold statement, as he is (for his sins) my official photographer for Gladrags & Bags. Christopher takes thousands of photos for me to find two barely acceptable ones. I'm body confident in respect of how I look when I see myself naked in the mirror with my bag, but not so much when it comes to getting the perfect photos to accompany my blog posts. I'm a perfectionist and a little bit of a narcissist — oh what a fun time we have when I ask the poor thing to take my photo. Hahahahahah!
So my final thoughts: medical advances are fantastic, hallelujah for that, but a bag for life isn't such a bad thing... it isn't a thing at all. Having a colostomy is something I have rather than something I am. And to all the tabloid reporters, just stick to the facts about ostomies and leave your personal opinions out.
P.S. It probably wasn't my best plan to wear white jeans on a dog walk. I was attacked by two overly friendly pugs who covered me in thick wet mud, much to their owner’s mortification. But after a very long soak in Napisan (the jeans that is, not me) they've come up almost good as new. See this post isn't just on ostomies, I've got cleaning hacks too. ;)