Monday, March 17 2014
There have been many things I have had to do for the first time since having my stoma, and some are things I thought I wouldn't be able to do.
I had heard from other ostomy members in the past year that they can no longer go swimming as their bags just fall off.
So you can imagine hearing (well reading since it was online) just how humiliating it could be.
Here in Australia we are blessed with great temperatures all year round and some of the most beautiful beaches and swimming places in the world, especially here in Coffs Harbour.
So imagine my upset when I thought I would never be able to go swimming again in public or in company of family or friends.
The summer just passed would have to have been one of our hottest summers ever and boy did I feel so alone!
My husband and family would spend days/afternoons at the beach or would go and visit family who had pools and while everyone was having fun and enjoying themselves, I was sitting on the poolside faking a smile that I was enjoying watching everyone have fun.
But the truth was I wasn't. I felt so alone and so excluded that I decided I wouldn't go along to any family functions if they involved being at the beach/pool as I just felt like I didn't belong.
Although people were quick to judge and ask if the reason I wasn't swimming was because I was fat and embarrassed with some answering "well.. just fix it".
But I would just hold my head high and say something along the lines of "I can't swim with my ileostomy". No one ever asks why, thankfully it saved me embarrassingly having to say I was worried my bag would fall off and output would go everywhere. I know it sounds graphic and gross but thats how I feel sometimes.
Last week I went away for a few days with my husband and we stayed at the Nambucca River Tourist Park. We needed a break and the last holiday together was our honeymoon in 2011.. so it was well over due.
Being mid-week in middle of March there wasn't many people staying but more the pool wasn't crowded.
I decided I would give swimming with a stoma a try, since after all we were on holidays and the pool looked so refreshing.
I did the 'get into the swimsuit' dance and made sure my bag was tucked in securely and wondered on down to the pool.
I was so anxious and nervous that my bag would fall off and it would be a disaster but much to my surprise it wasn't!
I was swimming around in the pool for over an hour and just relaxing with my husband.
He commented that he hadn't seen me so happy and smiling and having a good time in forever, that he had forgotten what happy Talya looked like.
In that hour I totally forgot that I had a stoma and was enjoying the first time in 2 years that I had been swimming.
We went back to the villa we were staying in.
I was going to change my bag but as I was going swimming again tomorrow I decided not too as once it had tried it was basically intact!
In fact even 2 days after my first time swimming when I did do the bag change (knew I wasn't planning on doing more swimming as we were leaving the following morning) it was still an effort to get the bag off, that it had that much tack to it.
So I don't know why people were saying that their bags just fall off when they were swimming, and it certainly was a lesson learnt that I should always do things first and try myself before taking the word and advice off of someone else.