Living with a stoma

How you feel after stoma surgery will depend on the reason behind your surgery. You may feel relieved that a problem has been addressed, or shocked / confused if your stoma was given though an emergency.

Post Surgery you may feel strange and resent having a pouch on your stomach, having to care for it, and make adjustments to your lifestyle. You may also feel frightened or angry because you think the stoma looks unsightly, smells or makes you feel less complete than before. Your Stoma nurse understands that you may have these feelings, so don’t be afraid to discuss these with her.

When leaving hospital you should have a good idea of how to cope with your stoma but don’t worry if you still fumble or take a long time as practice makes perfect.  As your health improves and you become stronger you will find it easier to adjust to the physical changes in your body. During the early weeks after your surgery there will be support from your Stoma nurse.

On leaving hospital your stoma nurse will give you details on how to contact them and obtain further stoma care products.  You will also be given an outpatients appointment for your first check-up at the hospital Your GP will also be notified of your discharge together with a summary of your treatment.

The process of adjustment both Physically and Physiologically is not instant; some people can take up to a year as we are all different everyone adapts at their own pace so don’t worry if it takes you longer.

The feelings and emotions can be similar to that of a bereavement, grief and anger. This is normal and can go on for a different periods of time depending on your attitude and outlook, even after the surgical wounds have healed.

With support and a positive outlook you will soon pick up the pieces of your life. Be realistic and allow yourself time to adjust to having a stoma. Going on holiday, days out and the normalities of life are still all possible. Having a stoma can also affect other members of your family and friends as they may have concerns / questions and not like to ask you. Talking can help diffuse these fears. Sometimes talking to another person with a stoma will also help.

Go out for short trips to the supermarket etc, before you embark on a longer journey. This can be helpful in overcoming any problems or concerns you may have. Always ensure on longer journies you carry a kit to be able to change your bag in the case of an emergency.

For more information on travel and holidays please see the Travel Certificates and Radar Key sections under the Lifestyle category of this site.