The theme over on the SecuriCare blog this month is change. Change is a big part of life with a stoma; there’s a change in your body, change in your day to day, change in your health.
I thought I’d use the theme to reflect, and share, how my life has changed since having a stoma. It’s safe to say my stoma, and ulcerative colitis, have changed my life and I definitely have times where I wonder what I would be like, and what my life would look like, if I hadn’t had them.
Having a chronic illness, and a stoma, is often perceived has such a negative thing and they can ruin lives. Don’t get me wrong, life with a chronic illness is difficult and not ideal, however I think its made me a stronger person.
3 ways my stoma has changed me and my life
Having a stoma changed my confidence
I’ve spoken a little bit about this before but having a stoma has made me sooooo much more confident. It sounds a but strange, you’d think having your body change so much would make you more insecure however recently I’ve found I’m a lot more confident.
Initially after my stoma surgery, and for the first year or so, I definitely struggled a bit with body image. I felt very different to my friends however I always reminded myself I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have my stoma.
I find every so often, I get a new wave of confidence and I’m amazed at the new level of love for myself (I know, that sounds a bit dickish but it’s true!)
Having a stoma changed my outlook on life and made me try new things
My ostomy surgery saved my life. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t had the surgery and it’s safe to say that it’s changed my perspective.
Since having my surgery, I’ve had a lot of amazing opportunities, I’ve traveled to lots of different places and I’ve definitely said yes to a lot more.
I push myself out of my comfort zone so much more and I have a few theories as to why this is. Firstly, I know that life is short and to make the most of your time. Therefore, when I have opportunities, I try to take them and make the most of them.
Secondly, me and my body have been through a lot. I think of all the pain, surgeries and medication and think if I can get through that, I can get through everything.
One of the best quotes I’ve heard is;
You’ve survived your worst days
and it always puts life and things into perspective. I’ve become such a believer in the ‘why not’ and I try to push myself out of my comfort zone because I’m so lucky to be here!
Having my stoma changed my attitude towards my mental health and made me face it head on
I remember the first big panic attack I ever had. It was the night before my first GCSE exam and I thought I was dying. My chest was so tight and I couldn’t shut off my thoughts and I burst into tears over Sunday dinner, saying that I was a failure.
This was about a year before I was first ill and I spent the rest of the summer thinking I was going to pass out almost daily and die. I always spoke to my parents about it but I managed to just deal with it (partly down to my mum forcing me to leave the house and do things which I am, in hindsight, very grateful of).
Being diagnosed with an incurable illness definitely impacted my mental health. Not only did my anxiety get worse, I also found myself feeling more depressed. I would see friends and people online living their loves and getting to go out and do things whereas I would feel isolated and unable to go out.
After my surgery, I noticed the depression get worse, which I wrote about in this post, and it was then when I decided to go and get professional help. I don’t know whether I would ever have done this if I had remained ‘healthy’ as it didn’t seem as much of a priority which now seems absolutely ridiculous!
Let me know in the comments below how having a stoma, or chronic illness, has changed your life 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼