Colostomy - How do you Feel after Surgery?

doctorAfter your surgery you may feel very sore in the abdominal area and if the rectum has had to be removed your “tail end” will also feel rather uncomfortable.

As you lie in your hospital bed your thoughts are mainly negative, particularly for those whose surgery is not of their own choosing. You tend to dwell on all the things you think you will not be able to do and the changes that this colostomy will make to your life. Admittedly there will be some changes, but these are small compared to what your life, or lack of life, would be without the operation. As for the things you cannot do, forget it. As one colostomate recently said, the only thing she could not do was wear a bikini!

Your ostomy should not require you to alter your occupation or lifestyle. Heavy lifting can cause a hernia round the stoma, and rough contact sports are not advisable, unless protection is used, after obtaining your surgeon’s permission.

Regarding sexual relations, your own attitude is central: sufice to say that many males have become fathers, and many females, mothers, after surgery.

Colostomates travel the world without problems; just remember to carry an adequate number of appliances with you. Your local Ostomy Society can supply you with a medical certificate which may be useful when going through Customs and they may query the packs of plastic bags in your luggage!

As regards social relationships, only those you wish to tell will ever know you are an ostomate. Many people have wrong ideas and attitudes about ostomies. You can if you wish educate such people if they are important to you. In dealing with others your own attitude towards your stoma will be the most critical factor. If you make your surgery the centre of your life, others will also. If you view yourself as a person who happens to have a stoma and don’t see it as a problem, then this attitude will be transmitted to others.

Your complete rehabilitation will depend largely on your own attitude. You must think positively at all times. There will be bad days, for sure; sometimes you may feel that you have lost all your dignity and pride but these times will pass. You must realise that you have just lost a very eficient, hygienic method of body waste disposal, to be replaced with a system that you may have doubts about, but never despair. Help is always available through your physician, stoma nurse or local Ostomy Society, whose members are only too willing to visit you in hospital or at home, should you so desire. To talk to a well adjusted ostomate who has been through it all can be a great help. Contact with the Ostomy Society can be made directly or by your stoma nurse or hospital staff. Never look on your colostomy as a handicap, rather look on it as a second chance for a better life!

Think positive and don’t forget your sense of humor, there are few incidents in life that don’t have a funny side to them! Keep smiling!