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My first World Ostomy Day as an ostomate - Gemma Savory

Tomorrow is World Ostomy Day (3rd October 2015) and my very first one as an ostomate. In fact, the very first year I’ve even been aware of this day.

Gemma Savory

It’s a day where I can help create awareness and maybe even change people’s perceptions of what having an ostomy is really like (guess what, we’re not old people who smell) but what does it really mean to me?

My experience with an ostomy has been really positive and I’m lucky that everyone around me has been really supportive. I’ve read some upsetting comments where people have said that that they would “rather die than have a colostomy”. That’s hard to hear as I have found out, that, life really doesn’t have to change because of one small bag on your body. In fact, in my most cases it has given life back to those who have suffered from cancer or had chronic illnesses for years.

My ostomy was born from bowel cancer back in November 2014. Wow, nearly a whole year ago now. I can remember sitting in my surgeon’s office and he was very matter of fact about it. “ We’ll do a colostomy as it’ll make treatment more comfortable and you’ll be able to eat better. Is the 12th good for you?” I was then shuffled off to see a Colorectal Nurse who would explain the surgery in more detail.

It was overwhelming and I didn’t really feel anything at the time. I was still trying to deal with the fact that I had cancer and this just felt like another slap in the face. I sat and listened to the nurse explain what a colostomy was and go through a training pack which had practice bags that I could take home with me to familiarise myself with them. I nodded in all the right places but I didn’t really ask questions, it still didn’t really feel like it was happening to me.

Back at home, I got my training kit out and placed a bag on my stomach for the first time. Reality kicked in and I cried my eyes out. I wore the bag for the day, I even went out with it on and then refused to look and touch another one until after my surgery. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my belly being bagless.

In the days leading up to the surgery, I was becoming increasingly ill and struggling with the symptoms, I was almost looking forward to the surgery just so I could feel better.

Well surgery happened and I surprised myself with how well I was dealing with it. I was feeling much better and I was actually hungry and eating! So, I got out of my hospital bed and just got on with life and my treatment. I just felt grateful that this pink blob on my belly had started me off on the journey to saving my life and had made me feel much better.

And, after further major surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, I still feel the same. Along with my other scars, this little front butt of mine is my constant reminder that I am still here and able to live my life. In fact, after a hard 11 months slog, I have just started a new job. The first step in gaining normality again, which is something that I wouldn’t be doing without my colostomy.

Don’t get me wrong, we fall out sometimes. In fact, we’re having trouble seeing eye-to-eye at the moment because it doesn’t like my chemotherapy treatment. We always make up though. We are stuck together forever and I wouldn’t change that now.

So, on this World Ostomy Day, I would like to say a big thank you to my stoma. Without you my little pink, crinkly friend, I wouldn’t be here.

Visit Gemma over at her blog site

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