Reflections on a potential second stoma
Every so often, I see people's stories about their ostomies pop up on my social media. And I read them. And sometimes, I reflect on how I feel about my own ostomy.
What does a stoma feel like with IBDAnd I've realized that, after 8.5 years since the stoma was created, I don't mind it. That's the strongest statement I can make. It's just there? It would be weird, by now, if it wasn't there.
I think I adjusted fairly well to the initial creation of the ostomy, at least once it was actually imminent. I may or may not have made some VERY dramatic comments regarding ostomies when I was mistakenly briefly scheduled for one at the age of 14.
I'd need to put a trigger warning before the actual words I used. But at 18 when it was actually created, I was just kind of done with my colon. It wasn't doing me any good, so I wasn't going to argue in favor of its preservation.
What is life like after surgery?
I think I did self-limit a little too much in the first 4-5 years after my surgery.
I didn't REALLY believe I could wear normal pants, which led to some rather odd fluctuations between sweatpants and dressy skirts on school days.
And I handled broaching the subject with my first boyfriend by just...not telling him? He knew I covered my stomach when my clothes were off. I made no statements as to why. He eventually told me that he'd figured it out pretty much right off the bat, but that was the end of us really discussing the issue.
What are some ostomy problems?
I guess the only time(s) my ostomy is sort of annoying is when I'd like to do lengthy, outdoor activities in a place with minimal or no access to bathrooms.
I have to pretty much fast for the duration of the activity, not to mention quite a few hours beforehand, which severely limits how much or often I can actually participate.
I have some VERY strong thoughts about public access to restrooms, but it feels as political as personal.
I'm currently anticipating needing a revision of my stoma due to some fistulas that have cropped up and decided not to go away with meds, and my biggest concern is that my new stoma will somehow be way more dramatic than this old one has been.
There are a lot of complications that can occur, and I escaped the majority the first time around. If I could snap my fingers and change anything about my health, I wouldn't get rid of my stoma. I'd just make it work right again.
I'm not sure how to wrap this up. I just have trouble relating to a lot of stoma stories that I read online, maybe because my Crohn's has been a reality since before I could form long term memories so I've never had a life where this wasn't a normal thing to consider.
All I feel is, I didn't handle this whole thing and accept it so willingly just to NOT have a good long-term outcome. Because there's a lot of 8-9 year periods left in my life. I can't get a new stoma at the end of each of them.
So, fingers crossed I guess. Cause if nothing else, I do not want to go through 8 years of trial and error with jeans waistbands again.
What is your comfort level disclosing your IBD to your employer?