Whilst having a stoma might have its challenges and take a bit of getting used to, for me it truly is a blessing and has given me my life back. So here are my TOP 10 REASONS LIFE IS GREAT WITH A STOMA!
1. FREEEDOM!!!! No longer does life revolve around being close to a toilet. No longer are the bathrooms the first thing you scope out whenever you go anywhere. You can do all those things you love without the fear of having an accident. Your sense of freedom returns as you return to doing all those things you love but perhaps can’t do in the middle of a bad IBD flare. Overseas holidays, concerts, road trips, going for long walks, shopping, going out for dinner … all become so much easier.
3. Having a stoma means LESS of so many things that you want less of. Less doctors and hospital visits, less medication, less side effects, less pain, less anxiety, less worry, less reliance, less stress. Less of these things means MORE of the good things. More independence, strength, resilience, money in the bank account, confidence, and more time and energy to spend on better things!
4. A licence to tell as many FART and POO jokes as you like!
5. A new COMPANION. Your stoma is there for you. With you always and everywhere. You care for it, talk to it, protect it. I also refer to my little guy as my little buddy. He is there for me through thick and thin! Check out my previous post: https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/introducing-my-little-guy/
6. A HEALTHIER and HAPPIER life. For many of us a stoma is lifesaving. You have probably suffered with a serious illness, whether an IBD, bowel cancer, or something else, and ostomy surgery was needed to make you better. Having a stoma can be tough and difficult to adjust to, but hopefully for most of us, surgery leads to a significant improvement in our overall health and quality of life. The World Health Organisation states that “better health is central to human happiness and well-being”. Being healthy definitely contributes to our happiness (and vice versa).
7. An excuse to EAT JELLY BEANS!!! If your output gets a bit too liquid and runny, you have the perfect excuse to eat jelly beans, and PEANUT BUTTER and MARSHMALLOWS!!! Or any of the other awesome foods that help thicken our stool or slow output like cheese, bananas, apple sauce, rice pudding, pretzels, yoghurt and mashed potato! Do remember though, a balanced diet including all food groups is important too!
8. We win TOP PRIZE for the STINKIEST POOS! If “most stinky poo” existed in the Guinness book of World Records, an Ostomate would definitely take out the title! Okay, so this may not be a GREAT thing (in fact, it can be a downside to having a stoma), but there’s not a great deal we can do about it, so may as well make the most of it!! In a weird way, I have an odd sense of pride in having the poo with the greatest perfume in my household. I have to giggle when Michael walks into the bathroom after I’ve just emptied my bag, complaining about the stench. Hehe, let’s just call it payback for all his stinky farts and for the many times he has ponged out the bathroom for me! And nowadays I would definitely beat my sister in the farting competitions (on sound and smell) we used to have when we were kids!!
9. An OPPORTUNITY to share your experiences, help others, spread awareness, increase understanding and meet lots of likeminded awesome people in the process.
10. A greater APPRECIATION for life and understanding of personal values. Most of us with a stoma have been through some pretty life changing experiences and hardships, with our health, careers, relationships and life in general. I’ve done a lot of soul searching in the lead up to and since having my ostomy surgery. I definitely appreciate life more, and especially value the little things. It’s helped me reassess my priorities and reevaluate what is really important to me (for the better). I have closer and stronger relationships with those I love, and a greater sense of gratitude for life and the joy of living.
Until next time,