WithI found out I was having surgery and an ileostomy the day before it happened, It all happened pretty quickly but as I had been a member of a few IBD support groups for about 8 months by then, I felt a little calmer and more assured after seeing so many amazing people still living their lives post ostomy surgery. The stoma nurse came in and drew the black circles on my belly the morning of my surgery. She explained they would try and place it so that it wouldn’t interfere as much with clothing, waistbands etc.
My recovery post surgery went pretty smoothly, My stoma started working really quickly and my stoma nurse was coming every day to help me change my bag which I was slowly getting used to. I was being allowed to eat and started gaining some weight. My next thought was, once I have to lose the PJ’s what the hell am I going to wear with this? Not only did I have the bag to contend with, I was still swollen from the surgery too.
I have always been a girlie girl. I enjoy getting dressed up and doing my hair and make up. I think as I have been poorly since being a baby, it has been one way I make myself feel a little better about myself and a bit more confident. I can cover up my under eye circles, I can moisturise the dry patches, I can put on my a fierce outfit and pair it with a special necklace which means a lot to me. I don’t look as much like a sick person I suppose!
So I started online shopping from my hospital bed, first purchasing a pair of high waisted leggings and a pair of high waisted trousers with a couple of new tunic dresses to try them with. When I got home I sorted my wardrobe and threw out a lot of my old clothes… short tops which wouldn’t cover my bag so I thought I wouldn’t be able to wear them again and alot of my normal jeans as I felt these would just be so uncomfortable I thought I would have to be in leggings for the rest of my life. I had got on better with the high waisted leggings but did not find the trousers comfortable at all. I resigned myself to tunic dresses, long and baggy tops and leggings and although you can buy some nice ones I found myself wearing the same things over and over.
Then one day, a few months post surgery, on a trip to New Look I saw the jeggings which I had bought before and had a thought. The high waisted trousers I had bought were too restrictive and felt uncomfortable, especially in those first few weeks after my operation. But the swelling had gone down and I was a good size 8 (whereas I had dropped to a small 6 before the surgery). I picked up a pair in a size 10. They looked like jeans, but had a little more stretch to them and with being that little bit bigger went over my bag no problem and without feeling restrictive. I felt like I had had a minor breakthrough! I have since purchased jeggings in black, light blue denim, dark blue denim and white. They are a staple in my wardrobe and I couldn’t recommend them more to people with ostomies who struggle with the restrictiveness of high waisted trousers and jeans. You can also buy low waisted jeans to wear underneath your bag with a long t-shirt as another option!
I still tended to wear longer tops but the last few months and especially with the weather getting warmer I’ve started experimenting with shorter tops. As I can wear the jeggings over my bag it’s still not on show and I’ve got more and more confidence as time has gone on.
Next – dresses and skirts. Dresses through the winter weren’t an issue as I would normally wear my high waisted leggings (I recommend the New Look ones by the way!) or tights underneath. I found when I went to go to a family party that I struggled to feel comfortable in the dress I had chosen as I felt my bag was sticking out. That’s when my Jasmine Stacey high waisted knickers came to the rescue. They smoothed out the lumps and bumps created by my bag and gave me the little extra support that I normally get from leggings or jeggings. I instantly felt better in my dress once they went on! I’ve also recently bought a couple of skirts which I wear up around my waist and tuck my vest top in. I feel this is another small step forward in confidence and as the skirts are a nice cotton material and not as tight, you can’t see my bag at all. The pleated skirts are great for this. Result!
Playsuits are also one of the comfiest items of clothing I find in this weather! No worries about the bag showing and not restrictive at all. Extra comfy for those bloated days and there are some super pretty ones about!
And last but not least…you can always wear your bag out and proud! This is how I was dressed on a trip to IKEA the other day. It was hot, I didn’t want my bag tucked in my shorts so I popped in one of my amazing bag covers from Stoma Style and went for it! Nobody said anything and I didn’t see anyone overly staring either. But then I was in IKEA, one of my favourite places, and looking for house stuff so maybe I didn’t notice!
I’m sorry I’m unable to give as many tips to my male readers but Ste has told me that the longline t-shirts in Primark with the curved bottom are great as they are low enough to cover his bag and there are some really nice ones at good prices!
The purpose of this post is to hopefully inspire some new wardrobe choices, show that you can wear anything you wore before surgery with a little time and some growing confidence and that a stoma does not mean you are stuck in leggings for the rest of your life! I hope the amazing photos I’ve been sharing this week have given you more ideas. Thankyou so much to all the ladies who have sent me photos! The men are welcome to join in too!
If you have any questions or would like some advice or support I am more than happy to try and help. Either pop a message in the comments or PM at http://www.facebook.com/thespooniemummy