Does it hurt? I think the most common question I get is “Does it hurt?” and the answer is no! I can only feel it when it’s being really active and moving around. The only part that hurts is if I get irritation on my skin around the stoma OR if I eat something I shouldn’t have and get a stomachache. Otherwise, I am pain free.
Are you embarrassed by it? A lot of my friends and people I meet for the first time always say that they had no idea I have one and never notice it. I don’t wear anything extra to conceal so I’m always happy to hear that people can’t see it. I’ve had people ask me if I’m embarrassed by it. Sometimes, but only if it makes noises. Otherwise, I’ll rock a two-piece bathing suit and rock it. I’m not embarrassed from an image standpoint at all. I embrace it.
What is it and why have I got it? I’ve had my ostomy for long enough now that my family and most of my friends don’t ask me anything and forget that I have it. When I meet new people, they ask the basic questions of what it is and why I have it. Sometimes people ask if I can swim and do “normal” things. Of course! There isn’t one thing I can’t do with an ostomy and I try to remind people of that all the time.
Can you have children? I’ve been asked if I can have children (I hope so!) and whether I can have sex with it (yes!). I remind people that the only difference is where we poop.
Educating people is so important and I really enjoy teaching people about living with an ostomy. I enjoy when my friends ask me new questions or if I meet new people and they want to know more about it. I am spreading awareness by doing this and normalising it. To me, that is the most important part of this journey.