Cancer, Colostomy (+ bikini shots) Colonic Irrigation and Tidings, the Colostomy Association Magazine

6 months after my colostomy

I’ve uploaded these images of me taken in 1988, 6/7 months after my colostomy, hoping to show new ostomates that it isn’t the end of the world. It may alter lives considerably, but think what I would have missed if I had chosen death instead; no Paul, no seeing my two children gain their four degrees, no seeing them get married nor the arrival of my five grandchildren, nor getting to know Paul’s eldest son and his wife and children.

When these photos were taken I was wearing an appliance called a ‘plug’ – hence that bulge on my left side. The appliance worked quite well, but the following year I was introduced to colonic irrigation, so now I mostly wear just a small stoma cap and had I been wearing that in the photo, you wouldn’t have seen any bulge. However, irrigation isn’t suitable for everyone

I’m getting many hits on the blog Cancer, Colostomy and Colonic Irrigation, but no comments and no questions, so I’m guessing that the readers may be disappointed to find it is just a general blog, when maybe they were looking for more information.

Coincidentally, Tidings, the Colostomy Association magazine, is now doing a double page on irrigation, so I would advise interested parties to take a look at that, as they will find other people and their experiences. Otherwise, feel free to ask me any questions on any of the above as I’m fairly well versed, having been diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer in 1986, which recurred 18 months later. I first had a radium needle implant then the following year had to have the A/P resection (colostomy with excision of the back passage).

I tried various types of colostomy apparatus, finally settling on the irrigation method in 1989. Yes I do have problems, but it is the method I much prefer.

wearing a stoma cap

Apologies for the quality of this picture due to me taking it of myself. Now a 65 year-old I don’t often show my ageing body to spectators, so this is taken lying down so you can’t see the effect of gravity on skin that has lost its elasticity! I took the photo because this topic has the most hits and I wanted to show that a stoma cap can go undetected. Of course, as I have said elsewhere, not everyone can irrigate and use a stoma cap. If you have regular bowel movements, then maybe you can also wear one.

Further to the colo-rectal cancer, I was diagnosed with carcinoma in situ of the cervix and then secondary bone cancer in 1990, from which I wasn’t expected to survive. I was treated with more radiotherapy (of the conventional kind), then more surgery and chemo-therapy in quick succession. I was in the final year of my degree course at the time, so it was all rather stressful to say the least. But if I can get through all that – so can you….


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Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

11 thoughts on “Cancer, Colostomy (+ bikini shots) Colonic Irrigation and Tidings, the Colostomy Association Magazine”

  1. Hello

    Please email me about the cap. I’m having my colostomy this Thursday. I am very regular in the bathroom and would like to know mOre info

    Thank you
    Carolyn 47


    1. Hi Carolyn, good to hear from you.

      Things have moved on since I had my surgery in 1987, so not quite sure what is the thinking currently, but initially I just had to use the ‘normal’ pouch method for a while until my stoma nurses suggested the plug/cap method. A year or so later they felt the irrigation method would suit me better and I have been using that method ever since, though it doesn’t suit everyone. You need to follow the advice of your specialist nurses or consultants. You will also get lots of detailed information off the internet or from booklets given to you by your nurses, but if you want me to give you a personal view I can contact you via email.

      I wonder what is your medical condition that is necessitating you needing a colostomy? I think much depends on that as to what methods are available to you.

      Don’t hesitate to contact me again – and all the best for your forthcoming surgery. Let me know how you get on. I’ll be thinking about you.

      Best wishes



      1. Hello again Carolyn

        Forgot to say the stoma cap I use now is applied after doing the colonic irrigation. Because it is so small (4″ diameter) it can be fairly well hidden when wearing a two piece costume (as long as it isn’t too skimpy), though much will depend on the position of your stoma. There is an interesting blog by a young Canadian woman, which you might be interested in: . Have a look at that.


  2. I think we have a few things in common, apart from being of the Williams ilk – thank you for following my Nelly Sachs blog, but for the moment I won’t be adding anything to it. I decided to stop after 100 poems, unless I come across something that screams out to me. My colostomy has now been reversed – Tidings has my story this month – but I’m still doing what I can to encourage estimates and raise ostomy awareness. You have a very interesting blog here.


    1. Oh good – hope your reversal was successful. I haven’t even opened my copy of Tidings yet, so will look out for your story just as soon as I have time to settle down to it. I have another blog which I recently turned into my cancer story in chapters (still a few to go). If you are interested you can find it at

      Best wishes


    2. This evening I finally got around to opening the Tidings envelope to find your story – and what an uplifting one it is! Very beautifully written too. So pleased to hear your reversal was successful and that you recovered so quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Unfortunately the ‘Williams’ is by marriage. (Sorry I didn’t reply sooner – I have been visiting friends in France for a week and they didn’t have an Internet connection. Just got back to hundreds of emails!).


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