I’m lying here tonight and I’m so thankful for our wonderful NHS. Just over seven years ago a surgeon skillfully removed my colitis ravaged bowel and gave me a stoma for life. It’s a quality of life I could only have dreamed of when I was so ill.
Having an ostomy can be the start of your journey - not the end. The only limits are the ones you set yourself. While it’s true that everyone is different, coping and adapting in different ways, anything is possible with a positive attitude.
Immediately after surgery, the biggest goal is accepting your stoma and a whole new way of doing things; changing bags, ordering appropriate ostomy products, deciding whether to tell people or not to tell people - ultimately that decision is yours. I chose to tell the world! Personally, I believed that being open about my circumstances would help others to come to terms with their ostomies and their new lives.
Going back to work is often a big hurdle, but it’s absolutely possible with an ostomy and many employers are increasingly aware of just how big the ostomate community is. My employers, First Cymru, are amazing in their support in any and every way. Over the last seven years the awareness raised has been massive and this has been a real benefit to all of us.
My message to you today is simply, ‘you’re not alone’; we’re all in this together. If you experience a problem of any kind, there’s always an ostomate out there who has been through something similar and who is willing to help and advise.
My experience has been extremely positive so far; I hope it will continue for many years. I am always open to questions, and if I can’t help, I will certainly put you in touch with someone who can. Leave a comment on this article or connect with me on social media to follow me and join me on my positive journey.
Facebook: Keith Thomas Twitter: @keiththom2014 Instagram: @keiththom2014
Positive attitude is helpful in all aspects of life. I’ve had my stoma 35 years and have never really talked about it as it was as normal and part of me as any other body part!
I never really appreciated what it was like to have problems with bags etc until I had a fistula following a hysterectomy. I now have 3 bags and I find it difficult to be positive all the time, I try to be realistic instead.
Hope your positive journey continues Keith
Thanks I am sure it will continue, I have lost so many friends and family to many illnesses that I am determined to enjoy every second that I have on this earth .