Fall in Love with YOU
Since October 2008, I have written many stories for our Ostomy Secrets readers about my experience as a woman with an ostomy. I have shared thoughts and said words I would have never said publicly. I have written about explosive poop, swollen stomas, sewn up rectums and everything in between. Not gonna lie; it’s been pretty cool.
As I sit to write another installment of Cricket’s Corner under a theme of “Fall in Love with YOU,” I think about how I have learned to love and accept myself over this 20+ year journey as someone with a permanent bag hanging off her belly. I can honestly say I do love myself (not in an unhealthy narcissistic way) and have fully accepted my ostomy. As a matter of fact, when I go through the puffer machine at the airport, I just tell them straight up, “I have an ostomy,“ like I would say, “This is my husband” or “these are my kids.” No shame. No embarrassment. It is what it is. I am who I am.
This summer I flew to Ohio for a wedding. On my outbound journey, I was flagged at security because something showed up on my belly. I told them what it was, but they still wanted to check me. They had me run my hand over my stoma site and then they tested my hands for traces of explosives. I so wanted to say, “If you only knew the explosive power I have locked up in this little item on my belly! I could clear a whole airport!” I know better than to ever say “Bomb” or “Explosive” in an airport, so I just did what they asked and kept moving!
Humor has been a big part of accepting this lot in my life. Instead of being mortified about that airport experience, I just laughed at what I really wanted to say. Looking for the humor in any situation makes it easier on everyone.
Like when people walking their dogs carry their dog’s poop around in a bag. I find myself wanting to say, “I carry my poop around in a bag, too!” Or when they ask me at the grocery store if I want paper or plastic, I always say, “Plastic…but I brought my own bag;” then I pull out my reusable bags. It’s a funny little game of “If They Only Knew” that I play in my mind. A little weird? Maybe. But even in these confessions to you, I feel a little more complete! It helps me love a journey that could otherwise be really miserable.
Today, I encourage you to laugh, to keep the sun shining brightly, and to fall in love with all you have accomplished and what you have been through. It’s the story you’ve been given to share.
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October 4th is Ostomy Awareness Day.
It’s estimated that nearly one million people in the U.S. have an ostomy, and that more than 120,000 ostomy surgeries are performed every year. To raise awareness and build support for people with an ostomy, the United Ostomy Associate of America (UOAA) has proclaimed October 4, 2014 as Ostomy Awareness Day. The aim of celebrating this day is to help patients live a normal life following surgery, to help the medical community learn about the needs of ostomy patients and to share our stories to raise awareness about ostomies throughout the United States.
To accomplish this, the UOAA is asking the medical community, industry leaders, government officials and the general public to spread the word about ostomy surgery and how it can make a positive difference in the lives of people with an ostomy.
For more information on the events planned to celebrate Ostomy Awareness Day, go to www.ostomy.org.