No one reacts the same when they first see their ostomy. Some are fascinated while others are disgusted or relieved. When I first saw mine, it felt like it had always been there. The only thing I was afraid of were the 21 staples on my abdomen. Seeing my ostomy never really bothered me, but I still can't touch it.

Like me, our collaborators all reacted in their own way and I was surprised to see how different it was for everyone. Maybe you will recognise yourself in one of their reactions!

When I first saw it, everything was happening very quickly and I didn't really understand what was going on. For the first couple of weeks, I didn't even want to look at it.

I thought it was pretty! Before the surgery, they told me how big it was going to be, but when I saw it I thought it was tiny and perfect. I loved it so much I kept asking nurses and doctors to see it. I know it's weird, but I think I needed to be proud of it to accept it.

I always thought having a part of my small intestine coming out of my stomach is terrible. At first I didn't want to touch it, in case it'd hurt. Two years later, I still find it weird and I don't really touch it. I guess it's psychological. However, I don't find it disguting anymore. After all, Georges saved my life!

I studied it to death. The first thing I noticed was that it was bright red and pretty big. I couldn't stop looking at it, especially when it was moving. It was both fascinating and weird.

Seeing a part of your intestine come out of your stomach is pretty impressive, but I kept repeating the one thing I promised I would tell myself: "This is not changing my life for the worse. This is not a handicap. This proves I am strong and determined to perform better than before".

I am not sure how to answer your question. I don't know what to say other than I retched.

The first time I looked at it, I put my hands over my eyes and peeked at it through my fingers. I was wondering how the ET nurse felt comfortable touching it with her bare hands. I was also surprised that I didn't really felt anything when she touched it.
Stéphanie S.

Honestly, I was relieved! I even thought it was kinda cute. My mom and I even named it "Snow White's mouth". It really helped me accept the whole thing!

All in all, I don't think the way you react is what's important. What is important is to get used to it at your own pace. Take the time to become comfortable with that little piece of intestine that isn't exactly where it's supposed to be.

Don't miss our next article where those close to our collaborators answer our next question: How did I react when I learned I would become an ostomate?