Wednesday, November 3, 2010

There are not many things that are more entertaining than going to see the wound/ostomy nurse here. She is very very nice, and has a lot of things to say. About everything.

First of all, my wound is doing well but since I am more than over even having a rectal wound, I think I'm going to see a plastic surgeon for a consult. There is a procedure called a flap rotation that apparently will fix it. I'm a little worried about any surgery working since my rectal wound didn't heal the first time. So we shall see. Now that we're only changing the dressing once a day (or twice at the most) with the iodoform, it's not such a pain in the ass (haha...that joke never gets old, man).

So the other stuff she said.

The office manager asked me about a flu shot. I told her we don't do flu shots. We chatted a little about my views on vaccines. Then the nurse came out to get me and the office manager said she asked me about flu shots and that I don't get one. First raised eyebrows. Nurse asked me who my oncologist was and said he would probably strongly suggest that I get a flu shot. I piped up and said that I didn't get a flu shot last fall during cancer treatments either. More raised eyebrows. I know, I'm a freaky freak. Suspecting she wasn't going to change my mind, the Nurse dropped it and brought me to the back.

I got a breast exam lecture, which was actually helpful and the first time anyone had been very specific about what I should be feeling for and what to look for, and to suggest that in addition to fondling myself, I should also be paying attention to what my breasts look like.

Then after checking the rectal wound, I asked if she would mind taking a look at my stoma. I have some ouchy skin. She said that was no problem and we chatted about wafers and ways to keep output from leaking under the wafer. Last time she tried to talk me into wearing a belt to give more support to the wafer. Um, no, I'm not wearing a belt. She asked me again today, helpfully telling me that there are lots of different sizes. Still a no, thanks. So her suggestion was to try eating more fiber to make the output more firm. I already eat a goodly amount of fiber, but okay, I can try that.

Oh! Then she asked if I'd like to talk about sex. !! ?? I said, "Um, do YOU want to talk about it?" She said only if I did, so I said, "Sure." So she asked me if I felt uncomfortable with the pouch, which I don't. And she suggested wearing a teddy that is connected at the bottom and that I could buy something from Frederic's of Hollywood. (!!??)

She talked about Beano too, in case I am embarrassed by the gas from the stoma (I'm not).

During the visit, I got the idea that she sees a lot of people who are very uncomfortable and embarrassed by having an ostomy. Although the things she was saying were kind of funny to me, the idea that somone would be so ashamed of an ostomy made me sad. I'm not ashamed, embarrassed, uncomfortable, etc. At all. Does that make me weird? Am I going to get to a point where everything catches up to me and I freak out and start feeling all bad about my ostomy?

I wish I could meet every single one of the people the nurse has worked with who have such awful feelings about their ostomies and give them great big hugs. And I wish I could talk to them and explain why I don't feel bad about mine. My ostomy saved my life. What if there wasn't an option like an ostomy for me? An ostomy isn't so bad, really. I'm not saying that to make myself feel better, I'm saying it because it's true. I still do all the stuff I did before. I keep up with my children and am intimate with my husband and go swimming and walking and whatever I want. Do wacky things happen sometimes? YES. But I've read some pretty wacky stories about poop from people who don't have ostomies.

I don't know, it's just...sad. I think you have to work with what you have. Is it always easy? No. Is it always terrible? NO. Things could be a hell of a lot worse for me than an ostomy. I have a feeling I'm not alone in this.

Big hugs, fellow ostomates. If any of you ever want to chat, leave a comment or email me. I'll talk your ear off about why we rock!


  1. As long as you don't have infected pee this time, it should heal just fine!

  2. Thank you Sheri for this post and for talking about your ostomy.
    I'm having my operation next week and still not feeling positive about my permanent Stoma and colostomy.

    It does help when I read that you are so positive about it and hopefully one day soon I'll be able to be the same.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this xx

  3. Just catching up reading.

    Flap rotation, they have the best terms for bottom stuff don't they? I hope it works if you decide to go for it.

    Today I told chemo nurse I wished I still had my stoma, because I get to leak from my non-rectum, half a colon on crappy chemo which is quite possibly the worst thing when you don't have access to a shower (i.e. whenever I leave the house). I never had a problem with the stoma, with bags leaking and raw skin yes, but that was a problem with it being a loop ileo with a late discovered tiny perforation causing the trouble. Being incontinent without a stoma is harder than incontinent because of a stoma.

    I went swimming, even had a fling when I had my stoma - didn't last, he was slightly mad, but I didn't have a problem with sex either (apart from having had sex with a mad man of course). Very sad that people really do think it's the worst thing to happen, but it saves so many lives :o(