I have made an entire blog by talking about things to know and understand in the world of ostomies. But if I had to sum up the most important pieces of advice I have for those living with an ostomy, it would come down to these three things: 1. Have a positive attitude, 2. Build a support system, 3. Learn by trial and error.
The first two are pretty self-explanatory. Staying positive and making the most of the situation is crucial. Let’s be honest, if you’re faced with getting an ostomy, you’ve been dealt a bad hand. And no matter what you do, you can’t change that. So you have a choice: accept what you’ve got and make the decision to continue to live a happy and fulfilling life or not accept it and be miserable. Either way, at the end of the day, you still have the same hand to play, so might as well make the most of it.
Having support around you makes a big difference, as well. For those of you who have family and friends close by who are positive and understanding, consider yourselves blessed. Don’t ever take them for granted. Even though they may not understand everything you go through, having them in your life will help you continue on when times are tough. But regardless of whether you have that support or not, it is also important to have support from others who do understand what you have gone through. Whether these are friends you meet in person at some sort of support group, or others you find through online blogs or groups, their input and support will be invaluable. For years, I didn’t reach out to anyone about living with Crohn’s disease, and I found out later how much I had been missing out on. All of my ostomy and IBD friends hold a very special place in my heart and I would not give up my relationships with them for anything!
And finally… trial and error. Oh my gosh, this is so important! We all have a different story. We’ve all dealt with different symptoms, taken different medications, been through different procedures, and had different surgeries. No two ostomies are alike.