Happy Valentines Day everyone!Instead of doing you're normal valentines themed post, I thought I'd share with you some reasons as to why I love my stoma. It's very easy to see your stoma in a negative life and let it get you down, and it's totally normal to feel that way at times, but there are so many reasons why you should celebrate and be happy about your stoma too and that's what today's post is focusing on!
It saved my life
It's likely that if you have had ostomy surgery, it's probably because you were pretty ill - they don't just do it for the sake of it. When I'm feeling down about my stoma, I always remind myself that if I didn't have it I probably wouldn't be sat there feeling sorry for myself. Not only did it save my life, it also gave me back my life (because sitting in bed watching films in pain gets pretty old pretty quickly!) and for that, I will always be thankful for my stoma
I can eat just about everything
Before I had my ileostomy, I couldn't eat a lot of things. McDonalds? nope. Fish & Chips? no way. Salad? not if you don't want to be in pain for days. Every time I went out for food, or was just cooking for myself, I had to think about what effect it would have, whether I had much on in the next few days and whether or not the short term enjoyment of the food was worth the pain and toilet trips for the foreseeable future. With my stoma, the only food I don't eat is popcorn (which I don't like anyways!), whole nuts (which I hate) and mushrooms (which I am sad that I can't eat!). I have to be careful with raw fruit and vegetables and make sure I chew properly but apart from that, I don't have to worry and it's great! I've always loved food and I love that I can actually enjoy it now.
I can go out and not panic about where the nearest toilet isI always used to get so paranoid about where the nearest toilets were. I also used to get stressed if I was with a group of people, or at school, and having to go to the toilet because I knew I could be a long time and that used to stress me out. It's so nice to go out and not have to even think about where toilets are or how far away from one I am - I can actually enjoy my time in places now! (although I do now have a sixth sense about where toilets are!)
It helps show you how amazing your friends are
When you've got a chronic illness, you quickly realise who your real friends are and I am so grateful for my stoma because I really saw who my true friends were. The ones who came to visit me and sent me well wishes and continue to this day to support me through everything! That's what you need in life in general and having a stoma really helps you cherish the good friends and weed out the one's who weren't there for you
You can drink without getting a hangover (and, you know, actually drink!)
I'm not a big drinker but one of the great things about my stoma is that I can now actually drink alcohol and I don't get a hangover because it goes straight to the bag! The only downside is that it can make you really dehydrated but it's easily solved with these tips for keeping hydrated
I'm not on medication
Since having my stoma, I'm not on any regular medication - in fact I went a year and a half with none whatsoever. I was recently put on to a 10 day course of steroid suppositories but compared to the 17 tablets I used to take daily, it's nothing really!
You can travel
I remember the last holiday I had before my ostomy surgery mainly because I came home on the monday and was admitted on the thursday. It was pretty horrid - I was hardly eating and didn't want to go anywhere in case there wasn't a toilet and don't even get me started on the journey home - I have no clue how I coped! Since having my stoma, I've been on quite a few holidays and had such a great time exploring new places and trying new food - if anything, having a stoma has made me more willing to try new things!
You always have an excuse for having snacks and eating
I use this all the time! I nearly always have snacks with me, just in case the bag needs it! I've even sorted it that I can take snacks into exams with me, because you never know when that bag is going to start demanding to be fed!
I'm not in pain anymore
I still find it weird to not have that constant stomach pain and cramp - I still get phantom bowel from time to time but nothing compared to the agony I was sometimes in!
It helped sort my mental health out
This isn't something I've talked about much on the blog, but I do plan on doing a post on it soon. Before my surgery I suffered with anxiety quite badly (since before I was ill!) and as I was getting sicker I was starting to become more depressed. Being on steroids didn't help either and after having my surgery , my depression and anxiety got worse. However, my parents and doctors all became more aware of my mental health and as a result, I actually went and saw a CBT therapist and I can honestly say it was one of the best things I did because now I am probably at my most healthiest, mentally and physically and it's great!