Happy Saturday ad happy World Ostomy Day 2019! In honour of the theme of today I thought I would share some interesting and fun facts about life with a stoma, which you may not have realised were a part of living with an ostomy! I thought this list would be something other ostomates could identify with, but will also be a good read for non-ostomates who may be surprised at a few or more of these! Let me knew what you think in the comments below.
1 – You can’t ‘fart’ (at least out of your bottom), when you have an ostomy!
Seriously, this is still (3.5 years on) my Aunty’s favourite thing about my stoma – she thinks it is hilarious! As our intestines are no longer connected (in the case of a colostomy/ileostomy), we get no air coming out of there! However, we DO get it come out of our stoma (see point 2). Honestly, I don’t miss pooing in the ‘normal’ way at all, I went through years of hell on the toilet from being a small child. However, I do miss being able to fart on occasion!
2) We do however, fart from our stomas and WE CAN’T CONTROL IT!
You know when you re in public and you have to hold in a fart until you are out of ear/smell shot? Yeah, we can’t do that. We don;t even always get a warning, and an ostomy can be REALLY loud! For example when you are in a Mindfulness class at an IA Information Day when everyone is supposed to be quietly contemplating… it was Bag Daddy Steve…not me ha ha!
3) They vary in shape, size and ‘spoutiness’
We actually have to measure our stomas to ensure we fit our bags correctly. They are always bigger straight after surgery and will then shrink down over the following weeks. Some are bigger than others, some are flush to the skin, some form a good ‘spout’ and some even retract inwards.
4) Hair free is best
Men (for the most part) often have to shave their bellies so they can get their bag to stick correctly. Hair can get in the way of a good adhesion, so many men have to get rid of any hair in the area.
5) We do it in different positions
Some like to stand, some to squat, some to sit and some even do it sitting backwards! I am talking about emptying your bag! Everyone has their own way of doing it and some find certain ways easier than others.
6) Our stomas are pretty active, most of the time
Yes so while we talk to you, eat, work and even sleep – it doesn’t stop! That is why you won’t often meet an ostomate who manages a full night’s sleep as we are like old people and have to get up lots in the night – just to ‘poop’ instead of wee!
7) We use even mnore toilet roll than we did before!
I remember my lovely brother trying to cheer me up right before I went down for surgery – ‘Just think of all the money you will save on toilet roll – he quipped. Fat chance of that! I use more now than I did in a Crohn’s flare as I can empty my bag roughly eight times a day!
8) Yoyu learn how little time you spend chewing your food!
Everyone ends up with sweetcorn in their poo but we have all sorts come out of our stomas whole – mushrooms, buts, many vegetables (especially if not well cooked and soft), french fries, beansprouts, peas, baked beans… the list goes on.
These can cause painful and sometimes dangerous blockages, so we have to be very careful with what we eat.
9) Sometimes we like to watch
It is kind of relaxing at times to sit and either watch your stoma at work (you can’t generally feel anything so it is quite strange) or – as I like to do – sit playing with your bag and the contents within. I often find myself sat giving my bag a squish and trying to work out what has come out that I haven’t chewed properly, or popping peas as they come out whole. Gross, but true, and I know I am not the only one!
10 ) Sometimes we look as if we are about to float away!
Often, for me, this happens when I wake up. Obviously even though I haven’t eaten for a few hours my stoma will still be active but it will be chucking out loads of air. As this has nowhere to go, you often wake up with what can only be described as a mini hot air balloon stuck to your belly. Then, you have to perfect the slide and roll to get out of bed, without making the bag ‘pop’ and leak all over you! Sometimes we may ‘burp‘ our bag but it smells, really bad! I only do it when I an in bed and can blame the dog generally. Although my brother’s and Dad decided they wanted to take me on my brother’s stag do as I could burp it at the bar, clear the area which meant they would get served quicker… got to look on the bright side right?
One thing you definitely need is a sense of humour and when you don’t mind a good poo or fart joke, you are kind of set! Luckily I have two young boys at home who LOVE a bit of poop humour and a supportive, funny family who help keep me smiling.
I really hope anybody who may be struggling with their stoma or is facing stoma surgery can smile at this post and please – feel free to message me anytime with questions and I will try my best to support and help people.
Hey! Day 5 and I am still going – bring it Blogtober! Happy Saturday everyone,