Teddi’s Story

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 family.

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 three children.]

Reprinted from the "Thoughts of YOU" membership folder.  Most stories were written from the early to mid 1990s.

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