Sunday, February 23 2014
Charles Darwin stated that:
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
When I was told I would be joining the 'ostomate club' as a permanent member I knew there would be changes and things to get used to, but I never really understood or realised just how much my life would change.
I knew that my toilet habits, confidence, clothing, food and lifestyle would need changing and adapting, and I think I have done pretty well at learning things on my own.
I knew there would be a massive change to get used to in the sense that I couldn't just go to the toilet like a normal person and I knew that the whole changing of the bags would be confrontational and overwhelming, but I guess its just something you never would expect to have to do. I mean after all for 22 years I had just done things differently.
I also knew my confidence would take a hit, and it certainly has! People criticise me and tell me I am being silly, but how would they feel if no matter where they were and what they wore they constantly had this bulge on the right side of their stomach that only became more prominent as it filled up. If it were in the centre of my abdomen it wouldn't be so bad but sometimes it looks like it is a massive ball on the right of my stomach and people do stare.
There are days where I wish that I could just be 'normal', whatever that means as some days are harder than others. It is hard to consciously think about what I can and can't eat, knowing the days and scheduling when bag changes need to be made, setting alarms or reminders to empty my bag, remembering to drink specific electrolyte drinks and also to remember to take supplies everywhere I go.
I use to love being able to have pineapple especially on a pizza. I didn't have pizza all the time but the odd ocassion we would. A few months after my surgery I ordered a hawaiian pizza not consciously thinking about the fact it had pineapple or the consequence. Lets just say that pineapple doesn't break down before reaching the large bowel and when you don't have a large bowel it comes out whole (regardless of how much you chew it. It isn't very pleasant either passing whole chunks of pineapple.
Other foods that don't break down are peas, corn, celery, mushrooms, coconut, nuts and most raw foods. So to avoid blockages and uncomfort I know now to eat food that is well cooked and able to dissolve and be chewed.
I have had to buy a completely new wardrobe of outfits, which have all had to be not just what feels comfortable but also has to be clothing that doesn't make my ileostomy obvious. I have recently purchased a heap of new clothes from City Chic which are bubble hem tops and peplum tops as they really hide having an ileostomy and are so comfy too!
I also can't wear button or zippered jeans as where my ileostomy sits its right on my waist line and it cuts off my bag (its really unpleasant having things constrict your bag). I have found the most perfect pair of jeggings (leggings that look like jeans) and are elasticised waisted and are super comfy! I have around 4 pairs only because they are the only thing really I can wear!
You might think it sounds weird or silly that I need to write down so much or set reminders to do things like remember to change my bag or when to empt my bag, and its because I have such a bad memory and get so busy I lose track of days (seriously some days I don't know what I would do if my head wasn't screwed on).
So it is all a learning and adaptive process, but 10 months in I am getting there.