My Life as a Colostomate
Since I've had my
colostomy since I was five years old I really
don't know what it is like not to have it, so
I guess my situation is a little different
from the usual ostomate story.
I had my usual ups
and downs growing up but I think my lowest
point was when I told a "friend" about my
colostomy and she promptly passed it on to my
whole class. I was nine years old.
It was pretty hard dealing with all the
questions and the usual curiosity of the nine
year olds. However, I lived to tell the
tale! It was because of that incident that I
kept my "secret" to myself and didn't tell
anyone unless I absolutely trusted them, or I
had to. Now in hindsight, I realize
probably everyone knew anyway.
My teen years were
better as I really have some close friends who
were in on my secret. However, I guess
as hormones raced through my adolescent body,
it was at this time my colostomy gave me a lot
of problems. I missed school as I had
diarrhoea almost constantly and nothing would
alleviate it. I'm sure you all can
identify with what a mess that is at the best
of times. Well as luck would have it, I
survived my teen years intact but only barely
and only through the support of my friends and
Dating isn't a
problem. People always ask, when do you
tell someone that you have colostomy?
Well that's hard for me to say, as I would
wait for the opportunity to present itself.
Sometimes my "dates" would never be
told. When and if I did tell then, they
almost always said, "I had no idea'. By
this stage I was a Master of camouflages.
My life completely
turned around when I came to Australia in
1989. Not only did I marry a wonderful
man, I was also put in touch with a Stomal
Therapist (I had no idea these people
existed!) and put on an irrigation therapy
that worked wonders for my confidence.
It seemed I was always at the mercy of my
colostomy, now I had some control over
it! I was also surprised the supplies
were free. I had to pay up to US$56.00 a
box for thirty stoma bags, which sometimes
didn't last for very long as you well
imagine. Not long after, I learnt of the
Y.0.U. Group and well, the information and
friendship I have gained from it are
immeasurable. I always felt so alone
before, like I was the only one in the world
with a colostomy. Imagine, actually
talking to people who are going through the
same things you are!
The point I would
like to make, is a colostomy is not the end of
the world, it may feel like it at times, but
it's manageable and we cope. I'm living proof
["Thoughts of YOU"
Editor's Note: Teddi was 22 when this
was written. Since then she has had
Reprinted from the
"Thoughts of YOU" membership folder.
Most stories were written from the early to
Young Ostomates United Inc