Poonami - Coping With Ostomy Leaks
If you are reading this then you probably think that you have a bowel disease, know someone with bowel disease, or have a bowel disease. You are most likely suffering from the most frustrating and consuming part of your life; poo - lots and lots of it.
The definition (thanks to Dr. Google!) of Tsunami (a Japanese word) is 'an arrival or occurrence of something in overwhelming quantities or amounts'.
That, folks, is what a Poonami is; 'an arrival or occurrence of something aka Poo, in overwhelming quantities or amounts'.
Oh, and that's exactly what life with Crohn's or ulcerative colitis is - an overwhelming quantity of poo!
I know, I know. It is a bit graphic, but no one is listening or watching you read. Were all friends here. :P We all know that we're so used to poo that we now only pretend to be extremely grossed out by even the word. Or is that just me? *Sheepishly shrugs shoulders and sinks back into the shadows*
Establishing, that poo, of some quantity (not quality - see what I did there?!) is already quite a part of your life and also the fact that you chose to read this, you might have heard a bit about ostomy bags and potential "leaks/blowouts".
Why do ostomy leaks happen?
I won't visit Dr. Google this time and I'll try to keep it tame from now on... But leaks or blowouts are a typical term for when poo has come out from underneath the baseplate (aka flange) which may have been caused by the bag being overly full of poo or gas. It may even be because it wasn't put on correctly. Maybe the output was too high. Maybe you had a blockage? Maybe it was a bad batch. Either way, it's not in where it should be.
Let me ease your heartracing-palpatations. Lets not totally sugarcoat it though...
You will be told that leaks are completely normal and I'm not disputing that, but I'd like to clarify. Leaks are normal; within reason.
The embarrassment that comes with an ostomy leak
Leaks are completely normal but no, you should never ever feel embarrassed if it happens. I get it though. I still do feel that pang of embarrassment when I have a leak.
What's not normal is having daily leaks or leaking so often that your skin is ulcerated and painful. Go see your stomal/ostomy nurse or your specialist if you are having reoccurring leaks. No one should ever accept the status-quo of awfulness, established by insecurity and judgments.
Just because you are told that life with an ostomy is going to be sh*t (see what I did there again?! :P ) doesn't mean that you accept it as that. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
When you get the "itch" - a delightful thing that you will understand when you've had it - or the warm feeling on your bare skin, smile and deal with the poonami however you possibly can. Once that's resolved you can take whatever moment you need.
Do you need a cry?
Cry as much as you need. You will do it a lot in the beginning. That is totally understandable and okay.
We've all been there and understand the feeling of a leak
However, you still need to finish it off with a laugh.
We all have a hilariously awkward poonami story. You may have one of your own and you may have even topped us all!
Most of all, remember; Whats a little poonami between friends?! :P
How open are you about being diagnosed with IBD?