Today is my 62nd birthday, an occasion I almost didn’t get the chance to celebrate at all, due to the medical negligence I endured in 2013. In summary, I had just a 44% chance of survival and I doubt it was anything much other than luck that pulled me through. I left the hospital with a colostomy and the worst episode of PTSD of my entire life – and I’ve lived through a lot of trauma including war so that’s really saying something.
I often see fellow ostomates online celebrating their stomaversaries (not a real word but you know what it means).
This is of course a huge deal for some people. I know one lady who has a party every year for hers!
When a person has a debilitating illness like inflammatory bowel disease, especially for a long period of time, then a stoma can provide a quality of life that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Some people have their lives saved by stoma surgery, and I can see how they might want to celebrate that. Escaping ill health and turning your life around would be a reason to hold a party or remember, for sure.
My stomaversary doesn’t feel like something to celebrate.
But for me, I was ill for just a few days. I wasn’t diagnosed until it was too late, and I almost died. I had diverticulitis and abscesses which had burst internally, I was full of poison with four quadrant peritonitis. I wasn’t ill over a long period of time and I didn’t have months to get used to the idea of a stoma, so my stomaversary doesn’t feel like something to celebrate at all. In fact, I doubt the day will ever come when I celebrate my stomaversary – but who knows? I’m not in my dotage yet so I’ve got time to work on my fears, I know that. I am determined to get my life back, however long that takes.
But my birthday? Now that I will celebrate!
I’m meeting one of my best friends and going to the seaside this afternoon. Sounds good doesn’t it, even if I do have to wait until my stoma has finished before I set out on my journey. There isn’t a service stop on my route to the beach for at least an hour (and that’s as long as the traffic isn’t bad!). I trust my Aura Flushable pouch, but I’m still going to wait a little while for my stoma to finish up.
Once it’s done, I’m going to put on some nice clothes and make-up, spray on a bit of perfume and get in the car. Today I am going to celebrate my birthday with a special person by the sea. Today the sun is shining and the petrol tank is full. Today is a day for fun. Today I shall celebrate life, there may even be some fish’n’chips involved! Today I will pretend I don’t have a stomaversary at all!
Do you celebrate your stomaversary? Let me know. Until next time folks…