My first year of blogging has been one where I haven’t talked about ostomy clothing because it makes me feel different than other people. I have found that I can wear the same clothes that other people wear (with a little trial and error) and it makes me feel less like a person who has a bag on her stomach, and more just like everyone else.
Throughout my 13 years as a patient with ulcerative colitis, I have just wanted to feel the same as my peers, wear the same clothes, and be able to enjoy pretty much the same activities. Losing control of your bowel movements at such a young age, and then needing to undergo numerous (14 to be exact) life altering operations was a tremendous amount for me to deal with, both physically and emotionally.
I had a jpouch when I was 15, my first ileostomy from the ages of 16-19, a kock pouch from 19-24 and now I live with a permanent ileostomy.
Needless to say, it hasn’t been easy and for those of you who know me, it has only been recently that I have began to stop fighting life as an ostomate and IBD patient and began embracing this incredibly strong and powerful community. I started this blog a year ago which helped me to connect with other people who were going through similar things as me. It allowed me to not only see that I wasn’t alone with my feelings, but I have also learned a tremendous amount from fellow activists about how to make life easier and better given the hand I have been dealt. There is just so much fighting you can do before you eventually come to accept your reality.
For me, I now know I was destined to live my life with an ileostomy. It isn’t without its challenges but it has given me my life back. And now, in this next phase of my life, I am committed to doing everything I can to make my life and the lives of other people who have undergone this type of surgery better.
The company, Awestomy (http://www.awestomy.com/), sells undergarments and swims wear and is dedicated to showing both ostomates and the public that you can live a full and happy life with an ostomy. One of their missions is making sure that patients know that having an ostomy in no way shape or form makes them unattractive. They even created a banner that shows many pictures of people with ostomies, and illustrates just how beautiful and sexy EVERYONE is.
When I had my first ostomy as a teenager, it became my identity. I thought everyone knew I had this wretched thing on my stomach. I felt like I was a walking bag. I spent so much time and energy hiding it because I was afraid that if I directly told someone that I had an ostomy bag, that I would be considered unattractive. As a result, I don’t think I ever felt more alone in my entire life. I felt like I was broken in many ways and I couldn’t imagine anyone other than my family loving me or accepting me the way I was. As I got older and continued to go through more health challenges, my views began to change but the issue of needing and wanting to feel beautiful, confident, and accepted is something we all strive for.
Awestomy currently has a kickstarter program going on which you can view at the link below
Any donation you are able to make will be truly appreciated by those wonderful people who work hard every day to take the stigma out of being an ostomate. Jessica and Jason (the co- founders of Awestomy) have created an incredibly fun, fashionable line of undergarments for people with ostomies. There is only 9 days left for this program (although feel free to show your support anytime!).
Thank you everyone for all the love and support you continue to show me each and every day.