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.
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….