My Five Messages Of Hope For Anyone About To Have Stoma Surgery

Aleesha Black And White

As a volunteer patient mentor at my local hospital, I come across a lot of people who are understandably upset and afraid of undergoing ostomy surgery. I have been there, and hope these messages provide you with the strength and encouragement to move forward.

1. I wish I had got my ileostomy years ago

Prior to undergoing surgery I had lost control over my entire body. My incontinence was unmanageable. I would wake up every day experiencing a new symptom. The thought of having to leave the house would give me anxiety. As soon as I met Rosie (my stoma) I had control of my body again and my quality of life improved immensely. I was living a pain free life, with zero medications which felt strange but amazing.

2. Ileostomy life is the new normal for me

I have had a permanent ileostomy for many years now. I am very lucky that everyone around me has accepted me for who I am and the bag I come with! It most definitely has taken some adjusting to - having emergency bag supplies in my car, my partner’s and my dad’s car, and my family dealing with the odd leaks I have at home or on a road trip, has become second nature to us all.

3. You can do it!

It’s natural and expected to feel a rollercoaster of emotions before the surgery. I used to cry myself to sleep and behind closed doors for months. But then I remembered that if it wasn’t for my ileostomy I wouldn’t be here. We have to remember it’s a life changing experience but one that should change your life for the better. Life as an ostomate isn’t straightforward, but it’s all about making the best of things. Keep fighting, you can do it!

4. Whatever you love doing, you can still do it with a stoma

I had my ileostomy when I was 18 years old, I went on to do my A-levels, and graduated from university. I finally passed my driving test after years of trying to attempt lessons while ill. I have been abroad five times with my ileostomy and even swam! I also started going to the gym and attending yoga classes. These are just some of the things I have achieved with Rosie. When I sit back and reflect, I realise that my life has changed for the better, and there’s nothing that my ileostomy stops or restricts me from doing! Want to start exercising again or in need of some tips? Check out SecuriCare’s physical activity advice page. 

5. There is a rainbow of hope after every storm

Adjustment to an ileostomy will not happen overnight. There will be a lot of highs and lows. But you will soon find out that an ileostomy is a small price for you to pay for having a better quality of life and still being here to tell your story!

“Whatever you love doing, you can still do it with a stoma.” - @leeshverma

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by Aleesha Verma

Aleesha Verma

About the author

My name's Aleesha Verma - also known as the Gutless Warrior! I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease at the age of 18 and now have a permanent ileostomy bag - not a Prada bag, unfortunately. You can also follow me @gutlesswarrior on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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