Christmas is well and truly in the air! Shop displays of tinsel and wrapping were out weeks ago, Christmas trees are up and decorated, supermarkets are playing carols and selling mince pies. Is it just me, or does it start earlier every year!?
This will be my 3rd Christmas as an Ostomate. I was hoping to offer some helpful and mind-blowing tips on what it’s like having an ostomy during the festive season, and potential disruptions or things to look out for. Apart from the obvious, I’ve come up a bit blank! The most important thing is to ENJOY Christmas and the festive season whilst taking care of yourself and knowing your limits.
I am incredibly fortunate I’ve had no major issues since my surgery, so for me Ostomy + Christmas = Positive, Festive Cheer (I so wanted to use a Santa sack pun here!).
Of course the festive season can be a crazy time of year with parties and over indulgence especially in the form of too much food and drink. My advice would be no different to any other time of year. We all know our limits. We have a pretty good idea of what our stomas (and bodies in general) can and can’t handle.
If you want to (and know it won’t have any consequences or go against doctors’ orders!), have that extra piece of pudding or that glass of champagne. Dress up for your work Xmas party, dance, go out and have fun! At the same time, don’t overdo it. Everything in moderation. Make time to rest, stay hydrated, eat what you enjoy within reason (just make sure you chew properly!). Rejoice in all your favourite Christmas traditions, whatever they may be!
To be honest, having an ostomy has only impacted my festive season in a good way. Last year my Christmas was on the beach in Vietnam. This year I will be spending quality time with my family and friends at various get-togethers, which before an ostomy, I would have struggled with.
The usual joy surrounding Christmas in the years prior to my ostomy surgery were somewhat detracted from due to my Crohn’s disease. Christmases with Crohn’s can be difficult. I’ve had some less than perfect Christmas days, not overly enjoyable when I was rushing urgently to the bathroom, feeling sick, barely touching any food, and often not in the mood for revelries or merriments! Despite this, I still had many other things to be thankful for, like spending quality time with my loving family, enjoying the simple things like playing a board game or watching the carols together on Xmas Eve. That’s another important part of Christmas for me – giving thanks.
I am so grateful that I am now well. I am able to enjoy the great Australian Christmas tradition of a hot Christmas, maybe on the beach with some cricket, and definitely a few BBQs, beers and don’t forget the garlic prawns! I have my ostomy to thank for that. I am thankful for everything my ostomy has enabled me to do, for another year of health and that I am again able to enjoy the festive season like I used to.
I wish the same for all of you. For anyone with or without an ostomy, or who may be struggling during the festivities this time of year, know that things can get better, and that you are not alone. I hope that everyone has something they can find and give thanks for. Enjoy as much as you can within your own limits. Remember to take care of yourselves and others. I wish you all well, and a Christmas full of simple pleasures, fun and frivolity, and look forward to 2016 with hope and promise.