(Disclaimer it isn’t),
There is a story circulating on social media (I will not link to it as I don’t think it is healthy to bring your attention to it, especially if you are facing/new to a stoma) about a woman who hates it as she experiences so many leaks and bag changes per day.
This is not the norm – it is a daily newspaper looking for headlines, for shocking stories, for making ‘disabilities’ appear so horrific we could not possibly cope if it happened to us. I would like to say with stomas, this is not the norm, you have options, different bag choices, stoma nurses to speak to, adhesive bands and removers, this woman’s problem seems predominantly to be a an adhesive one. I hope she can get it sorted, find a product that works for her, but I would just like to say it IS UNUSUAL.
Most of us with bags, don’t want them, (obviously) but find something that works and generally deal with them. Yes, there can be leaks and inconvenient moments, but on the whole you deal with it, move on and realise it happened because of an anomaly.
To roll out headlines about how horrific it is, just isn’t helpful. When I faced mine, it was almost 10 years ago (wow, where did that go!!), I knew so little about it, there was no social media about it and I genuinely thought I was dealing with the most horrific thing known to man, I thought I would be wheeling that baby about on one of those drip poles for the rest of my life!!
If I had known it wouldn’t be like that, that I could still wear the clothes I like, have sex, date, swim, wear cropped tops, lift weights, run (pushing it now…!) then I may have considered it before it was life threatening. I might not have been so ill, so near death, may have been saved from blood transfusions, life or death surgeries and many, many medications, then, I may well have considered it. (we’ll never know, I was never given the choice).
I have said before, nobody wants a bag, we don’t, if we could do anything but not have one we would. I miss some things about not having one (mainly my ability to eat sweetcorn and that’s about the only thing that springs to mind 😉!). Look, of course, there are things that change, but doesn’t life change anyway? Things happen to us that change us. Yet we adapt. I miss certain stuff, but, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s we can bloody well accept a change in life!
I have also said this so many times, but if a person you are dating can’t accept it, move on, if they are struggling to deal with it, chat to them, have an open conversation about how you can both accept it and move on (but always, always get rid it they use it to make you feel less then you are, have they been through what you have – no – so hello and goodbye!!).
But if we look at stoma’s (still in 2021 AND in a pandemic) then what hope does that give to people maybe facing a stoma or just living with one. And it is not just an ‘old person thing’ it really can happen at any age. Mainly due to debilitating bowel conditions (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, which usually happen in teenage/early twenty years as well as bowel cancer, to name a few)
It’s so hard to be out and proud with a stoma, but here I am, nearly 10 years down the road, I refuse to not walk around naked in front of someone, I refuse to cover it up, I refuse to not wear a ‘normal bikini’, I refuse to be silent about it, I refuse to try and ignore the sounds it likes to make, I refuse that someone won’t be intimate with me or not like me because of it.
Ok, it’s not all plain sailing, but we all have stuff that isn’t ‘plain sailing’, so can we stop with the sensationalist headlines and give people confidence that they will live a good life, they will find a ‘bag fit’ and facing a stoma really isn’t the worst thing it can be.
Surely, I am proof of that – I mean if you haven’t read my other blogs or followed me on social media (then why?!?!) then you will see just how much can be achieved and I beg you, do it, live your best life, don’t let that fashionable little accessory stop you 😉