If you’re scheduled for a stoma operation or have recently had one, you may have a million questions running through your head. How painful will the operation be? Will having an ostomy completely change my daily routine? Will it really alleviate my pain? Along with these pragmatic questions, you are probably experiencing a host of emotions as well. Perhaps you’re feeling anxious, scared, or like you’ve lost your sense of control. Disgust or anger with your body are also common responses. All of these questions and emotions are completely normal; you are going through a life-changing event, after all! Although the healing process may seem long and drawn out, rest assured that with a little effort, you will find your new normal, and here are some tips to help you do just that!
Before and After Surgery
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We’ve all heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” So, if you’ve been pondering something in your head, go ahead and blurt it out! Doctors and medical staff are there to help you, and they’ve without a doubt already heard any imaginable question you come up with. You will most definitely feel better once you get the answers you’ve been lacking!
It is also important to take your doctor’s orders to heart. They will likely give you a list of dos and don’ts, and each item on that list is there for good reason. You may be anxious to get back to your regular routine, but rushing the recovery process may actually end up extending it. So, take your time and be patient!
Once you get home from the hospital, creating new habits will help you get settled into a new routine. Find an easily accessible area in your home to keep your ostomy supplies, and make sure you have a system in place to recognize when you’re running low. Using a mail-order service such as Comfort Medical’s free membership program can ease a lot of the hassle of obtaining your supplies on a regular basis. They will customize a program for you to ensure you get your supplies when needed, and they even take care of insurance claims on your behalf!
Back to Work
Depending on your line of work, you may or may not feel the need to tell your boss about your ostomy. This is a personal choice and entirely up to you. If you prefer remaining discreet about it and your daily job duties aren’t affected (in most cases, they’re not), by all means, do as you please. Don’t forget to bring extra supplies to work with you, and if you have a personal space like a desk or a locker, it’s a good idea to stash some supplies, a change of clothes, and maybe a deodorizing spray there as well.
Social Life & Intimacy
If you feel comfortable, tell your friends and family about your ostomy. Being open and frank can help mitigate the pressure you may be feeling to keep it a secret. Once it’s out in the open, most people won’t even think twice about it! If you do feel the need to be discreet, that is completely fine, too!
When it comes to dating, be sure to talk to your doctor about how your stoma operation may have physiologically affected your sexual organs. Chances are, you won’t experience any functional changes, but you may, however, be feeling a little embarrassed at the thought of a new partner seeing you au naturel for the first time. Talking openly about your ostomy with your partner is key to easing both of your potential concerns.
Physical Activity & Sports
If you are an avid athlete, you may have the urge to get your body moving as soon as possible after surgery. Make sure you consult your doctor first and start out slowly. Once you have the green light, there’s no reason having an ostomy should keep you from your typical exercise routine or playing the sports you love.
You may be worried about the logistics of traveling as an ostomate, but with a little planning, you can enjoy the wonders of the world with ease of mind. Remember to always have extra supplies with you, and if traveling for an extended period of time, make sure you have enough to last the entire trip and then some. If traveling by plane, pack your ostomy essentials in your carry-on. If your checked luggage gets lost, that will buy you some time before seeking out a pharmacy at your travel destination.
If you feel the need for emotional support, seek out ostomate groups in your area or make an appointment with a therapist. There are countless forums and social media groups filled with members who have been through the same or similar situation as you. It always helps to get advice and tips from fellow ostomates, and simply knowing that you’re not alone may prove to be a huge relief.
Once settled into a new normal, many people claim that they no longer give much thought to their ostomy. As long as you’re prepared for any situation, life post-stoma surgery can be as comfortable, professional, sociable, and enjoyable as life beforehand. Comfort Medical is here to help you find your new normal by ensuring you’re using the best supplies for your situation and that you never run out.
“I would definitely [recommend Comfort Medical]. They’re very accommodating. They’re very helpful. They’re very good in every way.”
-Marilyn Butler, Comfort Medical customer
Give us a call at 1-800-719-1663 to talk about your individual needs and we’ll get your first set of supplies out to you right away!