THANK YOU, MY STOMA

Telling someone you have a stoma is never fun, especially when you don't know them personally. You never know how others will react to it. I noticed that people usually are surprised and tell me they can't see it while staring at my stomach. For a while, this reaction made me angry. Our society stigmatized my stoma as something big and ugly, and as something that is visible and mostly happens to older people. You need to have a stoma to understand all the benefits that comes with it. I am happy to be an ostomate woman, and I don't want people to associate these stereotypes with me. I am a young adult. My pouch doesn't show or smell. And to top it off, I am proud of it and think I'm lucky to be an ostomate.

Surgery brought me many long-term benefits. Let's be honest, it's hard to see all those benefits at first because of the adaptation and acceptance process. Not seeing the benefits a stoma brings right after your surgery is totally normal.

I celebrated Toma's second anniversary this year. Yes, my stoma has a name! I have been healthy these past two years. To live is the first benefit I got from my surgery. Keeping my colon would've brought me straight to my grave. I regained my quality of life. This is very important, because what's the point of being alive if you're not physically and mentally healthy? You can start enjoying life again after your surgery. No more big cramps, hemorroids, blood, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, anemia, going to the bathroom every two minutes, etc. Personally, I was able to go back to school, find a job and do my daily activities. I hadn't been this healthy in a long time. The difference is night and day.  

Then there are the small benefits you don't fully see at first. Ever since I was a baby, I NEVER liked passing stool. I would voluntarily refrain from going and let myself suffer, because I was afraid of pooping outside of my own home or when someone else like my best friends or boyfriend was present. I was ashamed of this essenetial need. My stoma took a weight off my shoulders. I can't control when I poop and I don't have to worry about going to the bathroom in a public place or at a friend's house anymore. And I can fart when I want! Like I say every so often: "When it comes out, it comes out"! It does make a little bit of noise, but you mustn't be ashamed about it. Everyone farts, so you have to laugh about it. Plus, ours don't smell, at least not when they come out! A stoma also allows you to start a family. One of the best benefits is not defecating when giving birth. At least our kids won't be born in poop!

The most important thing is to find all the benefits in your lfie. The surgery can be seen as a second chance that life gives us. We need to take it and enjoy it. There is nothing shameful about being an ostomate. I am proud of the pouch that changed my life. Everything became lighter, happier and more beautiful. I am eternally grateful to my stoma for everything it gave me these past two years.

Thanks Tomie.

Laurie-Anne

This article is sponsored by our partner: Premier Ostomy Center