Traveling Tips for an Ostomate
I’m here to call BS!
I had my first surgery at the age of 22. Although the doctor didn’t specifically tell me that I couldn’t swim or travel, I just didn’t even consider that it would stop me. How could it? If it contained my poo then surely it was waterproof so swimming was still an option. Maybe I couldn’t rock my 2 piece bikinis anymore but realistically I had never been one for showing off my stomach.
Traveling didn’t seem to be out of the question either. I would just need to be prepared, right? Some people don’t travel far but still like to keep spare ostomy supplies in their purse or car. Some even keep a change of clothes somewhere near by.
International travel is a whole other traveling challenge.
With today’s security and body scanners in all the airports it can be overwhelming and fearful. And how would you be prepared completely for it?
At 23 and after my surgery, I moved from Australia to Greece for a Greek man. That relationship worked for 2 years and I stayed an extra year on my own.
Moving to Greece I had to figure out how I was going to manage to still get my supplies! Luckily, I wasn’t going to be the only person living in Greece with an Ostomy and they have Holister and Dansac suppliers there. They all speak English and I would just call them with my order and I would have to pay for it but they would deliver it to wherever I was.
That was for living there but if you are just traveling then I would suggest packing 1.5x more than what you require, having a back up plan of suppliers for where you are traveling and separating the supplies into 2. 1 you take on board the plane with you in case your luggage is lost. Make sure you DO NOT PACK IN YOUR HAND LUGGAGE ANY SCISSORS!
My other suggestion is to have a nice fresh ostomy bag on, or one that isn’t more than a day old.
At least then you know it’s going to stay sticking on and you should have a good idea if you will be having any leaking issues – i.e. the itch…
For me the smell on a plane from emptying my bag is awful. I get so embarrassed that I get all anxious when needing to go. I’m not sure if everyone has heard of PooPurri but it is freaking amazing!!! Your poo doesn’t even smell. You spray into the bowl, not the bag. 😉
Now, I am a 2 piece lover.
I hate one pieces but it’s an individual choice. One thing to be mindful of if you are also a 2 piece lover, is making sure your ostomy association actually sends you the correct supplies before an international flight…
Yes, cue my mental breakdown on my honeymoon!!! I had been sent 2 different sized supplies for 2 months. On changing my bag a week into our honeymoon I discovered this mistake. To see a 30 year old woman have a massive tantrum must have been quite the amusement for my new husband!!! Luckily I had one baseplate left, could speak the language (we honeymooned in Greece!) and knew that there was a supplier I could get my bags from! Phew!!! So don’t make my mistake!!!!
As for the intense security for international flights…
Firstly, I worked for many years in security (even as an ostomate) and I still know so many in the industry. They are just doing their jobs if they have to pat you down or see something unusual in a body scanner. Who would honestly even know if we didn’t point our ostomies out to them?! I can assure you that they wouldn’t have had a clue until you flop it out for them to see. 😉
DONT BE ASHAMED! Don’t even be embarrassed! They are probably feeling more embarrassed for embarrassing you! I have had it all done. I always offer to get it out for them and they usually decline. Most likely because they’re squeamish themselves hahaha.
MOST IMPORTANTLY!! Have so much fun! Keep a little man bag or lady purse with some supplies on you and enjoy your life beyond illness!!! xxx