Reflection on my 5 year ostomy journey

Reflection on my 5 year ostomy journey

Like many people, when you go through a big change in life or a trauma, you will always remember the date and its anniversary, with me it’s not different. Thanks to my ostomy who gave me a second chance to live. On September 21st, It’s gonna be 5 years of living with a colostomy bag. Yes, 5 years!!  For some it’s only 5 years but for me it has been 5 years of learning, acceptance, quality of life and freedom.

So what has changed? A lot has changed in the past few years and I wish I had known so many things earlier. 

I remember having uncountable stays in hospital due to Crohn’s flare where the stenosis and the inflammation had reached a concerning medical state. My doctor, who had always tried to avoid surgery, didn’t have much of an option rather than presenting me with the possibility of an ostomy bag in order to prevent future cancer. 

I remember how scared I was, I couldn’t even think about the fact that I would have a bag permanently attached to my tummy, for me this was the most horrifying possible solution. To be honest, I guess I always knew that one day, sooner or later, it would happen. In reality I just didn’t want to face the truth, I was afraid of losing my freedom and perhaps my identity.

If I say that it was easy, I am lying because it wasn’t. It was hard especially because I didn’t know much about the possible complications one might have. Obviously we never want to know about it, but sometimes it’s necessary. I ended up having complications and having more surgeries than expected, spending endless days in hospital. I suffered and struggled but most importantly I overcame it. Little did I know that I would have lots of fun and adventures with my bag.

I moved countries twice, hiked high mountains, camped in forests next to bears, snorkeled in the sea, swimmed in pools, I realized that I was able to do anything I wanted, most importantly I didn't have to worry about finding a bathroom anymore. Of course, I do sometimes need to find a bathroom to empty my bag, but this doesn’t happen all the time and with a bit of planning I can spend the day without needing a bathroom as I have a colostomy bag, in fact I would even recommend one for every one..:-)

Jokes aside, when I look back upon my life, I see how far I have been after becoming a permanent ostomate. I left all my fears behind and I decided to live my life to the fullest. Life gave lemons, but I’ve decided to make a delicious lemon tart. What are the good things that have changed in your life after your ostomy?