Getting an ostomy can be a difficult adjustment, but you can still enjoy nearly all of your favorite activities by following a few simple tips.
Ostomies save lives, but living with an ostomy isn’t always an easy adjustment. If you’re an ostomy patient, you might find yourself isolating more than usual, and feeling depressed or hopeless as a result. But once you adjust to — and even celebrate — your ostomy, you can enjoy a more active and fulfilling life.
Because other people’s ostomy bags might be hidden underneath their clothing, it’s difficult to see just how many people in the world do have ostomies. Feelings of isolation are normal, but they aren’t inevitable. Try to view your ostomy surgery as an opportunity to enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle, and to live more freely and comfortably than you did before.
Here are some expert tips on how to stay active, engaged, and hopeful in your new chapter of life.
Remember not to be too hard on yourself at first. After your surgery, focus on getting some rest, and don’t feel pressured to push yourself out of your comfort zone just yet.
After a few weeks, you will likely realize that life goes on. It’s understandable to feel self-conscious at first — but don’t let it prevent you from doing what you love. Your ostomy bag likely won’t get in the way of your daily routine (unless you engage in high-octane athletics), and you’ll be able to enjoy most, if not all, of your favorite activities.
You may not see a lot of other people with ostomies in advertisements or on your favorite TV shows. But it’s important to remember that many others have been where you are now. It can help to find images of people with ostomy bags who are embracing their new bodies, such as Gaylyn Henderson, who modeled for the viral #AerieREAL campaign.
It’s important to find other people who know what you’re going through so that you can talk openly and honestly about your experience. Fortunately, ostomy support groups are everywhere. In-person support groups are available in most towns and cities, and online communities are always meeting up to discuss the challenges and triumphs of life with an ostomy.
Finding a support group is more than just a way to make new friends. Support groups are helpful to learn about how others take care of their ostomies, with tips and tricks for ostomy management. You can talk to your ostomates about some of your more personal concerns, like wearing a bikini at the beach, or having sex with your partner. Finding age-appropriate support groups can be exceptionally important for young patients, who often feel like they are the only young person in the world who has an ostomy bag.
Most importantly, ostomy groups allow you to realize that you’re not alone. Thousands of people across the world are dealing with ostomies too, and they understand how you feel.
An ostomy can be less overwhelming if you understand exactly what your procedure has accomplished, and how ostomy management works. You can learn more about your ostomy, and how to enjoy your new lifestyle, at the Center for Ileostomy Surgery in Los Angeles.
Lead by Dr. Don Schiller, our ostomy center provides medical resources, connections to the world of ostomy patients, top-tier surgeries, and management checkups. Give us a call or send us a message to set up an appointment.