This Saturday (7th October) is World Ostomy Day and it will be my third one with a stoma. It’s crazy to think I’ve had my ileostomy for nearly three years – sometimes it feels like I’ve had it forever and other days it feels completely new.
This years theme is #SuperStoma (keep an eye out on Saturday for all my #SuperStoma posts). Instead of sharing my story (because I’ve done that a lot on here), I thought I would reflect on the past three years with a stoma and look at how much I’ve grown because of my stoma.
It’s safe to say my health has improved a lot over the past three years. Yes, I still suffer with fatigue and joint pains. I still have pain where the last bit of my bowel is and I still have bleeding from my mucus fiscula. BUT it is so much better than it was. I’m no longer malnourished and I can eat what I want. I’m not having to run to the toilet every five minutes and I don’t have anywhere near as much pain as I used to.
There’s also been a lot of improvement with my mental health. Prior to surgery, I was really struggling with anxiety and depression. This got a bit worse after surgery however my doctors and stoma nurses were really aware and I actually got help. Whilst I still occasionally get anxiety and feel anxious in certain situations, I can now cope with this and have ways to help get out of it.
This is a strange one. Some might think that having a stoma bag would make you feel self conscious. Sometimes it does. However, overall, having a stoma has made me feel more confident in myself. I’m much more healthier now which makes me feel more confident. Going through something like this makes you stronger and I try to have much more of a why not attitude. I always say I’m about 90% okay with my bags now. I still have my bad days. I still have days where I feel shit and feel self conscious but they’re definitely in the minority.
I remember the first week after surgery thinking how is this ever going to feel normal. The bags felt so foreign on my body and almost heavy. I had no clue how I’d wear normal clothes or how I’d even walk normally. Even a year later, I’d sometimes think they’d feel strange. However, now I sometimes forget they’re there as they feel so normal. It might only have been three years but already I’ve started to forget what it was like before they were there. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I’m 100% aware they’re there (especially when I’ve eaten a lot or it’s been a bit sore/noisy) but mostly they’ve become the norm.
You can get involved with World Ostomy Day by sharing your #SuperStoma by either taking a picture with your bag, or a clothed super stoma if you don’t want to show your bag or don’t have one. Instead, you could do a thumbs up where the bag is meant to be!
I can’t wait to see all of your #SuperStoma selfies!
Katie May ❤️