I’m currently in therapy to help deal with all the traumatic events that led up to my stoma surgery and the dramatic change in lifestyle. It’s brought a lot of things to the forefront of my mind.
I’m a committed stoma advocate but lately I have realised there are many things I haven’t totally accepted about my life as an ostomate… this has been hard.
When I’m with my fellow ostomates and talking in Patient Meetings, I am part of a shared world where everyone is in the same boat. Listening once more to a radio interview that I did with BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service ) I realised that the reason I felt understood there was because the Radio DJ’s wife works for SecuriCare. But now I need to look at how I can become more comfortable with this ‘thing’ I am stuck with, when in other social situations, outside of the community.
Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I love to travel, but usually I have my own room and have often declined offers to stay with people out of embarrassment of my stoma. Check out my Malta blog and you will see that sharing my space since having my stoma is still an issue for me. Well it was until now…it’s finally changing.
A few weeks back a friend of mine called to say she was moving back to England from Norway.
“Great” I thought (although sad for her as to the reasons why), it would mean we could once again share those face to face chats and spend time together. Then she threw me a curve ball. “I need somewhere to stay until I get myself back on my feet, any chance I could use your spare room for a while?” she said.
The friend in me didn’t hesitate, that’s what friends do… they step up to the plate when someone they care about is in need. However, after I put the phone down a little panic set in with the realisation: with my one small bathroom, how would two girlies manage when my stoma has a mind of its own?
Families cope with it all the time, seemingly without issue, but my feelings and my embarrassment have been something I’ve had to look at of late. It’s something I know needs working on.
Nothing can change the incontinence and everything that goes with that, but I can alter my own thoughts and how I choose to think about my stoma and its behaviour.
A person of my word, I couldn’t just change my mind and knew that however uncomfortable it would be, this was an opportunity to deal with a few more feelings around this pesky stoma that I hate so much. Yes, there I said it out loud, I hate it! But keep reading, because this is going to change…
My friend has been here a couple of weeks now which I smile at when I think of the last blog I wrote about friendship! I feel like I’m 19 again with my new housemate. We laugh together and cry together as good friends should, and I need not have worried after all. My friend is considerate and doesn’t hog the bathroom in case I need it. She has also asked me questions about my stoma sensitively as she knows I’m still not at peace with what happened to me.
It has been years since I shared my personal space with someone, but it feels quite nice. Sometimes we can ignore things we don’t want to think about and then circumstances make us deal with them head on. I still find it embarrassing to pass wind without warning, and I don’t always manage to muffle it in time but my friend just smiles - it doesn’t faze her at all and therefore it bothers me less.
Coming to terms with things is about acceptance and sometimes the biggest gift others can give us, is the acceptance of who we are.
This is a new chapter for me as I begin to move past the openness of Patient Meetings and the ostomy online groups. How can I be a more positive role model for others if I’m only okay with parts of it? Now it’s time to make peace with this ‘thing’.
Having a housemate is a new phase and I quite like seeing two sets of shoes in the hallway. Once again though, I find myself so grateful for my Aura stoma bag. It still makes me feel about as normal as I can in the circumstances. I wonder what my next adjustment will be, I guess I will find out soon!