If you are worried about living life with an ostomy, you are not alone. Life with a stoma has its downsides, but more often, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Here are some things you should keep in mind as you adjust to life with an ostomy.
Gather Your Supplies
The first step in taking care of your ostomy is making sure that you have all the tools you need close at hand. Ostomy equipment comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and functionalities. Depending on your ostomy type, you may need pouches, wafers, drains, catheters, wipes, powders, and more. Consult with your doctor to get a supply list. Purchase the supplies before your surgery and store them in a clean, organized, and easily accessible space.
Prepare for an Adjustment Period
Studies say that ostomy patients have an increased risk of depression and anxiety, especially if the ostomy is permanent. Reasons for this include skewed perception of self, decreased sexual confidence, difficulty using ostomy products, inability to do beloved hobbies, and so on.
However, it is not all doom and gloom! In general, ostomies increase independence, and in some cases, they help restore a person’s sense of dignity and control. Depending on your reason for needing an ostomy, you may be able to get off bed rest, eat your favorite foods again, or decrease your medication consumption.
Get Into a Routine
At first, it may be difficult to cleanly and efficiently apply and remove your stoma pouch or catheter. Your frustration is valid. However, it will get better. Like any other skill, stoma care takes time to learn. Once you get a hang of it, your trips to the bathroom will become a routine process.
It is important that you get into a routine. Creating a waste elimination schedule may benefit your bowel health and lessen unexpected leakages or sudden pains. If you have trouble keeping track of time, set alarms throughout the day to remind you.
Surgery is tough. However, if you take the time to care for both your ostomy and yourself, your quality of life will increase.