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Just shy of three years since my colostomy (repair of rectal prolapse, pelvic mesh repair and hysterectomy) and almost two years since making it permanent (removal of rectum). One year ago the removal of ovaries and Fallopian tubes.

One year of no surgeries! One year of learning to adapt the LowFODMAP diet to help control the last of my gut challenges. All is going well!

As I have posted, I was able to enjoy a vacation with my husband and son. A wonderful road trip that lasted 8 days. We covered a lot of ground. Did a lot of hiking. Had our own snacks and are out.

So empowering! Life has improved so much for me since this procedure!

I find a lot of negative postings and thoughts in regards to ostomies. I know that I am not alone in saying it is not the end of the world. It is a beginning! It is the opportunity to regain one’s life.

I am enjoying life to the fullest! I am exercising, shooting a bow (my first ever), fishing, shooting guns, hiking, playing, swimming!!!!

It IS different. As you will see in postings with a stoma, you have no control over your “output”. It happens when it happens. You do adapt and learn the tell-tell signs of your body. For example….if the stoma is protruding you know that there will be output…..there is a bit of sensation in the gut area, so you know that there is some action.

It does take time to become accustomed to your new body. It took me almost a year before I showered without a bag/barrier. It was very scary at first! However, I now enjoy that time. It allows my body to breathe….to be cleansed with warm water. (I quickly learned to have a washcloth handy in case things started to “move”.)

I am so thankful for a supportive husband and son! They have been so helpful and nonjudgmental! Our son even came up with the name for my stoma sounds. (Yes….you still pass gas….and no….you have NO control.) We refer to them as tummy toots or as our son says “Mom’s Elk call”!

Believe me! Very embarrassing the first time in a grocery store line! Thankfully our son was with me. He just laughed and looked up with a big smile….”Mom, good elk call!” We both laughed.

Since then, I have learned that I can place my hand strategically to help muffle. I have learned to feel the nuances of my body….to understand when a movement (gas or otherwise) will occur. There are times I am caught off guard. It is going to happen. Embrace it with a smile!

I would never go back to the pain…the misery that I was dealing with. I am thankful that I have this “new” me. I am looking forward to running again! And I am looking forward to many years of hunting/fishing with my husband and son.

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