Colostomy Bag: Not Horrible
When I first found out I was going to get a colostomy bag, to find the information I wanted I searched for blogs written on the subject, because medical websites are sterile. I wanted to hear what it was like from real people. What I found was generally negative, but still very helpful. It’s true there are downsides and it is good to be prepared to deal with them. That being said, it’s not all bad. Let me be clear before you read on, I’m about to take a pile of shit and put a pretty wig and some glitter on it. A colostomy bag isn’t a treat. It’s a heaping pile of shit. Now let’s dress it up!
I’ve only had my bag for three months now and I’m adjusting to it. The bag itself doesn’t bother me, and it’s slowly slipping into the background. It’s an adjustment like flossing your teeth after backsliding on the tooth care. Sure, it can be hard to adjust to new habits, but after years and years of it, it becomes normal. I’m not there yet with the bag, but I can feel it moving in that direction.
Now turn away if you don’t want to read about poop. It’s time to get dirty! There are plenty of CON lists out there for the bag. I’ve made a PRO list. Yeah. I’ve made a pathetic attempt to put a stupid silver lining on this experience. I’m not proud.
1. No more sitting on the toilet longer than a minute. Once you get the hang of the bag and the right products it’s a fairly fast potty break. I recommend m9 liquid in the bag, it makes evacuation a squeeze. 🙂
2. Choose when you poo. Gone are the days of running to the toilet. I enjoy relaxing on the sofa while I poop. Haha. Serious luxury.
3. Being different. This is not a plus for everyone, but I enjoy standing out. For me, this is another item on my list of things that make me who I am. I like anything that separates me from the herd, good or bad.
4. It’s less annoying than a menstrual cycle. I’d rather have ten of these stupid bags pasted on me. Wow. What a selling point. Do you have a friend who is not sold on colostomy bags? Just tell them how it’s not as bad as a menstrual cycle. Surely that is all they need to hear.
5. Fashion. I’m excited by it now because instead of being fun, it’s a difficult challenge! (You should know this is literal. I hated shopping before. Now that it’s beyond impossible it’s turned into a hilarious experience.)
6. No farts. No stinky farts ever. I’m a proper lady! For those of you curious, gas does sometimes inflate the bag a bit, and I take it to the bathroom to let the air out. With the M9 in my bag (and depending on what I’ve eaten) there’s little to no smell. WARNING: there is an adjustment period to get here!! For at least a month after surgery the smell was intense and my bag constantly inflated with gas as my system adjusted. The doctors couldn’t tell me if this would change one way or another, but it did for me, so don’t be worried if things start out rough. It will probably get better, especially with a good diet, lots of water, and eating slowly.
7. There’s a product for any issue that arises. Well, there has been for me so far, and even though I have a few kinks yet to work out, I’m hopeful it will only get better. It took a handful of samples til I found the bag I liked. I prefer the SenSura one-piece, EasiClose, WIDE-Outlet, Convex Light with a soft cover. Most bags have a clear plastic cover that shows the entire contents of the bag. Um GROSS. The soft cover type I use is basically a super thin skin-toned cloth so I only see poop when I want to, and if my shirt pops up and the bag is accidentally exposed, I don’t have to worry about anyone else seeing poo. Eventually, when chemo is over and I’ve adjusted to bag life, I plan on trying out the irrigation method. If you’re curious, google it. I won’t do a good job describing it until I’ve tried it. Simply put, it eliminates the use of a bag, but also takes about 45 minutes a day. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I do want to give it a try. It might be a good thing to do the morning before I shoot a wedding so I don’t have to worry about it while I’m out on an extra-long shoot.
8. I sometimes go all day forgetting I have the bag on. A whole day? Yep!
If I had the choice, I would not have this bag. It would be an easier life to not have to rely for eternity on having health care to cover the costs of bags I glue to my skin. I just want everyone to know that if you don’t have a choice, it’s not the end of days. It’s just ALMOST the end of days.