What advice would I give to new ostomates?
Throughout the six years that I’ve been an ostomate, I noticed that I learned a lot about the world of ostomates and my own ostomy. Like most people, I didn’t really know what to expect after my surgery, and some of my fears were unfounded. I kind of felt like parents expecting their first child. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to take care of my ostomy by myself, I was hoping I’d be able to sleep every night, and I wondered how my life would be when I’d have my ostomy. Back then, if I’d been in touch with other ostomates, they would’ve probably shared advice with me, like this:
Inquire and check your options. I didn’t do it because I was pretty sick. My experience was good overall, and I had a good surgeon, but I didn’t ask any questions to see if there were better alternatives for me. I would’ve liked to discuss and look at my options more. Be wary of the information you find online. While there are excellent blogs and other sources of information, there exists bad ones too!
Don’t be afraid to continue living your life. Don’t chase after happiness… make it happen! It’s by focusing on the advantages of being an ostomate that you will be able to accept your body and find peace.
Don’t buy anything ahead of time. You will have to try multiple ostomy devices before finding which one’s right for you. Don’t give up, because the first month’s the month of acceptance! I promise it’ll get better as time goes on!
My advice to new and old ostomates is not to settle for an ostomy device that doesn’t suit you and deal with the problems it brings. Try as many devices as possible to find THE one for you. Being comfortable is essential! Don’t forget that companies are here to give you free samples. An ostomy is a second chance, not a punishment…
My advice would be to take it one day at a time, step by step. Take the time you need to accept the situation and get on with your life.
My advice would to choose an ET nurse with whom you feel comfortable, as they will help you with your ostomy device. A good ET nurse will take good care of your peristomal skin, recommend different products suited to you (and they may even give you samples!) and be an invaluable resource throughout this process.
After my surgery, I had to face new things, just like parents of a newborn do. I faced them one at a time while reminding myself that I could deal with them. I have a lot of advice to share, but one of the things that I think is very important is not to find reasons to justify why you stop doing things you enjoy doing now that you are an ostomate. You like spending time with friends? Go out with them! You like to discover new places? Travel! You like spending time in the pool? Do it! Listen to your needs. If you’re an ostomate, it’s mostly to enable you to meet them.
We’ll see you in our next article where our team answers the following question: When did I feel comfortable with my situation?