Today I visited my stoma nurse. I had my colostomy surgery 14 months ago and have really been blessed with a smooth ride in terms of adjusting to having a stoma. Today’s visit was the first time I’ve seen a stoma nurse since my surgery and it was really just a nice chat about how I was going, what applicances I’m using and did I have any issues.
There is something really comforting about being able to speak to someone who completely understands what life is like living with a stoma. People who have a stoma are generally referred to as an Ostomate. For those who don’t know, a stoma is a surgically created opening on the abdomen which allows stool to exit the body. Sounds horrific but it is not as bad as it sounds and the stoma bags that Ostomates need to manage their stoma output are so easy to use. We have a lot to be grateful for living in the 21st century that’s for sure. For me having my colostomy ( a left sided stoma) has been a positive experience as my life before it was one of severe abdominal pain, infections and generally never feeling well. Hard to believe this was all due to a rectal prolapse and a congential condition that caused my rectum to be at a severely abnormal angle. I managed to not know that for years, as I didn’t know that “my normal” was very abnormal until my bowel prolapsed…..probably just as well really!!
My biggest challenge at the moment is managing my stoma when I’m out while I’m still on two crutches and having to get into a disabled toilet ( my broken femur story!) Thank goodness my husband doesn’t mind carrying my handbag….we have made it look as much like a man bag as possible for him, though I can’t wait until I can at least do that for myself again. I also can’t believe that it is so obvious that I am on 2 crutches yet people still walk straight into me when I’m in public places. This morning that happened at the hospital after seeing my stoma nurse. One of the Specialists running a clinic in the outpatients section just turned around in the passageway at full flight and walked straight into me….thankfully I was only pushed to one side and didn’t topple over completely but it really can be a jungle out there for people with disabilities and I am learning that every day. The poor Dr apologised profusely but it was a case of we were both in the wrong place at the wrong time and no harm was done thankfully.
To end the stoma nurse visit on a high note we headed out to lunch at my favourite Westfield shopping centre and I now am celebrating (inwardly) achieving being out for 4 hours in total today and not feeling too bad as a result…..my husband just piped up in the background “not yet anyway!” Bless him, he knows me so well!