Things No One Tells You About Having an Ostomy
Having a surgery that results in an ostomy is a huge, life-changing event. It can feel scary and there are so many ‘unknowns’. Asking questions, and gathering as much information as possible before your surgery will help to prepare you for your new life and routine.
Based on others who have had surgery before you, we have put together a list of ‘five things no one tells you before your ostomy’. These are 5 things many ostomates wish they had known before adapting to life as an ostomate. We hope this list helps to prepare you even more, and encourages you with moving forward into your new lifestyle and routine.
1.) You are Not Alone
You may feel like your ostomy alienates you from your world, but you are not alone in this. There are many people who have had surgery before you and there is an extensive and supportive ostomy community available to you. Your adjustment process may take time, and if you are experiencing discouragement, talking about it with someone who understands can be helpful. There are also numerous ostomy blogs and websites dedicated to sharing stories and experiences, as well as tips on living with your ostomy and how to avoid common mishaps. Once you have settled into the routine that works best for you, consider adding to these resources or reaching out to someone you may know who is struggling with their new ostomy.
2.) Your Quality of Life May Improve
Most ostomates are happy to find out that they are able to do everything they were already able to do before their surgery, and often, even more. There’s a chance that your illness leading up to your surgery was debilitating and left you with little to no control over your own life. If this was the case, having an ostomy will be a profoundly new experience in which you have more control and less limits. You will be able to check items off of your bucket list that seemed impossible before.
3.) There are Amazing Products Available to You
In the first few months to a year after your ostomy, you may take some time getting used to your appliance and how to change it out and clean the skin around your stoma. In addition to helpful information and tips online, you can also find an array of different products to help you manage your ostomy on a daily basis. It’s amazing how far science and technology have come, and companies such as Coloplast, are continuing to develop new products with you in mind.
4.) It Takes Time to Adjust - And That’s Ok
While your ostomy should not hold you back from seeing and doing new things, it also is a big adjustment and there is no timetable on how and when you do this. Be patient with yourself and take the time you need to feel confident with caring for your new stoma. Use the information that is available to you, but do so without comparing your progress with that of others. Every body is different, so don’t rush your recovery with unrealistic expectations and goals. Be kind to yourself.
5.) Diet - Most of the Same Rules Still Apply
As far as diet and exercise, they are just as important after your ostomy as they were before. If you were a healthy person before your ostomy, continue to treat your body well with what you put in it and how you use it. Keep in mind that the foods that were good and healthy for your body before your operation are still good for you. Hydration is key. It is important to drink lots of liquids with an ostomy.
When you are in the hospital, chances are you will be given a list of what foods to avoid. Eating simple and bland soft foods directly after your surgery will be easier to digest, and will help your recovery. As you heal, it’s okay to incorporate other foods into your regular diet, but it is recommended that you try them slowly and possibly even one at a time. Again, every body is different, and what affects someone else may not affect you in the same way. Keeping a journal or diary of how your body responds to different foods can be helpful.
For more information, visit www.coloplast.us
Editor’s note: This educational article is from one of our digital sponsors, Coloplast. Sponsor support helps to maintain our website www.ostomy.org and the free trusted resources of UOAA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.