Traveling with an ostomy

I have 4 children, all living across the United States. I also have an elderly mother as well as 5 siblings, again from one coast to the other. I have had to travel. In the 3 years since I had my ileostomy, all 4 of my children have had destination weddings, one in Vegas and another on a cruise. Now I have 2 grandchildren. I would have missed so much if I gave in even though I have had to have 2 major surgeries since the original one.

Lessons I've learned while traveling

I’ve learned to laugh and cry throughout this journey but life as one can see, moves on and it’s up to me to enjoy its exciting adventures. Of course my husband doesn’t like for me to release the air out of my bag when we are traveling in the car. I did this one time, hoping to buy some time before we could find a bathroom that was convenient. Never again! I’ve learned that I shouldn’t wear a one piece bathing suit all day as my skin broke down enough to create an infected sore. I had to see the doctor on board our cruise to order an antibiotic.

I traveled with an elderly lady as part of my job. I had only met her the day before. While TSA was patting down my ostomy, she was trying to get through herself. The TSA employee was concerned that something was setting off the X-RAY on her and with that she pulled down her pants, showing him her knee brace and standing there in her tidy whities. My ostomy took 2nd place as I tried to help her. The first time I went through TSA, I cried knowing that I would never again get through an airport like I use to but I try to see the humor in it. Once TSA asked me what the clip was for. I wear it so that there is less chance that my bag will come undone. I said without hesitation, it's so that poop doesn’t come out. Horrified, she let me through without further questioning.

Supplies to bring on the road with an ostomy

As far as supplies I make sure I have plenty of bags, both ostomy and doggie bags. I always carry bleach wipes, baby wipes and disposable bathing cloths. I get to know where the toilet bowl cleaner is at every place I stay. I make sure I stay hydrated by bringing powdered gatorade and marshmallows to slow down my output. I bring a good ostomy belt because suitcases can be heavy. I have a few pretty ostomy bag covers but I’m waiting for when my grandson sees my bag and get curious. I will try to see the humor in it, knowing that had I given up on life, he would never have heard me read him a story or play walk a walk a walk a. He is learning to walk and with a stoma, I try not to pick him up so I take his little hands and walk him.

Fighting for myself and my loved ones

Life is good. I’ve danced with both of my son’s for their weddings and gone bridal gown shopping with my daughters. I’ve spent the hours spoiling my mother and held my sisters hand as she goes through radiation. I’ve partied with my brother on New Years Eve, gone creek walking with my dogs and always kiss my husband during our fading sunsets. We were one of last to get off the dance floor held at a wedding to see what couple was married the longest. I owe it to everyone I love to continue with fighting my health challenges but mostly, I owe it to myself.

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