Over the course of the 6 years that I’ve been living with a Colostomy/Ileostomy, I have heard one phrase over and over and over again: “I don’t know how you do that, I could never do it.” Occasionally, I’ve also heard: “I’d rather die than have to live with an Ostomy.”
The first one, is understandable… because who would think about living with one and be excited, or think ‘yeah I can totally do that?’ Of course it’s scary, and anyone would worry about it. But the truth is, you do it because you have to. It’s the hand you were dealt and it’s really just like accepting any other reality. However, the second one? “I’d rather die than have to live with an Ostomy.” That one blew my mind. Really? You’d rather die? DIE? Actually STOP living??
This confirms to me one very obvious truth: You obviously have NO IDEA what it’s actually like to live with an Ostomy, and that is the only reason why you could say something so outrageous. Well, to me it’s outrageous, because I live with an Ileostomy and most of the time, don’t even think twice about it. So today I’m here to highlight some benefits of living with an Ileostomy. If you’ve been around my blog for a while, then you’ve probably read my FAQ post about living with an Ileostomy, but if not – definitely take a second to check it out. It’s a great place to start: Life With An Ileostomy: Celebrating 6 Years!
Today I’d like to point out 5 Reasons Why Living With An Ileostomy is Awesome, and sometimes – downright hilarious:
1. I’m just going to start with the most obvious reason: I’m still alive AND I’m symptom free. I owe that to my Ileostomy and for that, I’ll always be grateful.
2. You know when you get “the runs” and you literally have to RUN to the bathroom in order prevent a very unpleasant accident? Or you’re preparing for a colonoscopy and having to spend the evening right next to the bathroom? That no longer exists for me. There is literally no urgency. I never have to race to make it to the toilet, I just empty when I need to empty. Just whenever I feel like moseying on over to the bathroom. Nice right? Especially for Crohnie’s who totally get the horror of constantly feeling the urgency. It goes away. For good. That’s awesome.
3. Have you ever accidentally farted at the most inopportune moment and wanted to just pass out from embarrassment? Well I have. Thank you Crohn’s Disease. But now, when my Ileostomy “farts” it doesn’t sound like a fart. And it doesn’t smell. So it can ‘let it rip’ however often it wants, and not only will you not smell anything, but you probably won’t even know what the noise was, much less who it came from. :o) Awesome.
4. How much time do you waste sitting on the toilet going #2? If you’re an IBD’er, then it’s probably a lot. With an Ileostomy, that goes away. All you do is sit and empty. It literally takes the same amount of time to empty, as it does to sit down and go pee. That is awesome.
5. Okay, so #5 and probably my favorite thing about living with an Ileostomy, is avoiding public toilets. Make sure you read all the way through this one, so you don’t leave with the impression that I don’t use public restrooms, because I do. You know when you absolutely have to go and it just can’t be avoided? Then you walk into the restroom and it’s DISGUSTING? I seriously hate that and I take issue with most public restrooms, it just grosses me out bad. So imagine how I felt when I was at Austin City Limits a couple years ago and had to use the Port A Potty? Horrifying. I stood in a line that forced me to acknowledge all the many, MANY people who would be sitting on that seat before me. GROSS! Then it occurred to me, I don’t actually have to sit. I can lean over and empty into the toilet with my clothes on, without ever sitting on the seat. How many of you can do that? Well with an Ileostomy, you could. :) Awesome.
By the time you’ve read all this, it might sound like an advertisement for an Ileostomy. I’m obviously not saying you should wear it as a fashion accessory, but I hope what I’ve shown you, is that not only is an Ileostomy a life saving device that can change your life for the better… but also that you can have some fun with it and appreciate other little benefits along the way. Hubbalicious and I have pet names and phrases we use when referring to mine, and inside jokes that bring us closer. Not only are we keeping a secret that most people don’t know about underneath my clothes… but it’s a symbol of all we’ve gone through. We’re proud of the life we live together and the trials we’ve overcome as a couple. My Ileostomy represents our strength and faith in each other and in our relationship.
I hope that if you’re faced with this particular scenario, that you’ll remember this post and realize that a Colostomy/Ileostomy is far from a death sentence. And that maybe, it’ll even make you happy.