Why I’m Keeping my Stoma Bag | World Ostomy Day 2017

Today is World Ostomy Day and I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while now. I’ve spoken about why and how I came to have my ostomy quite abit – you can read more under the category ‘ostomy‘ – but recently, I’ve been considered what would happen if I went permanent.

You see, my ostomy is technically and surgically temporary.

Which means I have my rectum and anus still intact. Part of this is because when I lost my colon to my disease – it literally ate it from the inside out in the Summer of 2016 – I was so unwell, my surgeon didn’t think I would make it through a full removal of not only my colon but rectum and butt too. So he left it there as an option to come back to. We discussed it in my first review after surgery here.

How do I feel about my stoma?

Well, now that I am healthier and happier, me and my stoma get on well most of the time. She can, of course, play up and annoy me, but I have gotten use to changing my bag and dealing with all the considerations of having an ostomy entail. I see how better my quality of life is now that my colon is no longer living inside of me, trying to kill me slowly. Now, if that small bowel disease could just calm down abit, I’d be a very happy lady!

It’s been fourteen months since my surgery and I’m pretty sure since about Christmas 2016 I have wanted to make my stoma permanent. But, life has gotten in the way and I am happy it has! I’ve been able to live and live well after being spending so much of the past couple years, unable to. I know that making it permanent would mean another planned surgery, another (possible) scar and a significant recovery period. It’s a question of scheduling it in, planning it for the right time. And, fortunately, that would be for a long while; I have big plans for 2018 and they do not involve any under-the-knife action, thank you!

Why talk about this now if its not happening yet?

Because I want people to know just how much of an improvement a stoma can be to your life, if you ever need to have one.Β 

Here are some facts for you:

  • 1 in 500 people in the UK live with a type of stoma.
  • The NHS perform around about 6,500 ostomy surgeries every year.
  • Ostomies are not just for the old; young people (<40 yrs old) have stomas too.
  • Not all stomas are created as permanent, many are temporary.
  • You wouldn’t know who has one and who hasn’t.
  • Living with a stoma does not mean you can’t live a normal life!

I used to think the worse thing that could happen to me with my IBD was to need to have an ostomy. It turns it, there was nothing to be scared about! The quality of life I am able to have now is beyond comparison. Having a stoma has made me a more well informed and proactive patient; not only for my ostomy but for my IBD too. It made me wake up and realise what was truly important. It’s made me appreciate the small things in life and I take care of me, in such a self-caring way, that I never fully achieved pre-ostomy. I’ve grown to love the scar on my abdomen, the curves I have and the image of my body I see every day.

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