For nearly two years, I’ve been coping with a life that included three different types of ostomies but I only concentrated on dealing with the medical issues. Surviving cancer and learning how to adjust to the many adventures surrounding the medical products needed for my colon and urinary diversions was all that I could handle.
Now I’m on the path of returning to normalcy and I’m starting to examine my new attitudes and beliefs… some positive and many negative. I wonder how to tell family and friends about how I’m feeling wearing ostomy pouches filled with poop or urine. I’m also single, so who in the world could I ever meet that would want to snuggle up to me with my intestine and artificial bladder hanging on my belly instead of where it should be like everyone else. And heck, how can I exercise, start going to the gym, get on my bike or learn to play in a vigorous sport.
Sure, all reasonable questions. And, already asked at the hospital, to my ET nurse team and during home care nursing visits. Yup… got the answer… don’t worry you’ll be fine. You’ll learn to live a normal life. Your restrictions will be few. There are thousands and thousands of people with ostomies and everyone goes on living without major difficulty.
Well, I was comforted but truly didn’t believe what was being said. Especially since for two years my life has been in chaos and feeling normal was definitely not my norm!
But things have changed after an incredible conversation with Carole at Ostomy Canada Society. She pointed out the real value of online support groups and YouTube videos. Sure, I’ve been on the net frequently looking for advice on how to handle my medical issues but I had missed reading or watching posts from patients and survivors describing their journey. Why in the past I ignored getting their advice on what it was like to live with an ostomy is a mystery to me. But for the past week, I’ve joined in the online discussions and listened to stories of bravery, strength and survival. Not just how to deal with the surgery, it’s complications and medical issues but, how to find your place in the world… how not to see yourself as something in disrepair, not fitting in or being alone for the rest of your life. Wow!! There are people just like me but they have found a way to smile, exercise, play sports, spend quality time with friends and even date.
Wish I had found this incredible support network months ago. Wish I had been encouraged by my medical team to take advantage of the healing power coming from online forums and personal videos. No matter… my online community is now part of my daily routine and I’m smiling. I can see and more importantly feel, that my future is full of happiness and not just a life of compromises and restrictions. Hey, I might even meet someone special and share a life together.
Yup… today is a good day and I expect more to come!Share