What my daily routine looks like living with an ostomy

I thought it would be interesting to document and share what my daily routine looks like living with an ostomy – in terms of emptying, eating and drinking – and how I structure this around my typical (working) day.

Below is a timeline breakdown of my typical day, with this pattern now very much ingrained and second nature to me.

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The lowdown on ostomy bag waistbands and support belts

I’m a big advocate of wearing a waistband as part of everyday clothing if you have an ostomy and so below I’ve provided a comprehensive summary of the different ones available for you to try out.

I realise some people don’t like wearing a waistband – as they perhaps don’t like the feel of them on the skin – but the pros far outweigh the cons for me and you soon get use to the feel of wearing a waistband, most of which are very comfortable, lightweight and breathable.

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Salts Confidence BE V Coloplast Sensura Mio – which is the better bag?

I think there are the two bags on the market that are arguably the most popular with young people at the moment with an ostomy, I would say – the Coloplast Sensura Mio and the Salts Confidence BE. Don’t get me wrong, there are other bags out there by other manufacturers that you may well prefer, but for the purpose of this comparison I will analyse the pros and cons of the Salts and the Coloplast bags, and give my verdict on what I think is best….

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Viewpoint: My ostomy life experience in the first two months post-surgery (Ho, Ho, Ho)

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The Coloplast Sensura Mio Soft Convex is working for me

I’m two months post-ostomy surgery and so I thought I would share my experiences on how it’s gone so far for me adapting to ostomy life. (Happy Xmas too by the way!).

On the lead up to the surgery I was confident I would quickly adjust to ostomy life after just a couple of weeks – but things rarely turn out how I predict.

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Why I have decided to speak up about IBD and ostomy life

I’ve decided to write a blog about this as during a recent radio interview I was asked why all of a sudden I have decided to publicly raise awareness about IBD and ostomy life, after keeping it to myself for eight years.

In response to the radio presenter I gave a pretty bland answer along the lines of how I now want to ‘share my experience and help others facing similar challenges’. Although this statement is true, there is more to it than that which I would like to use this blog to explain.

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VIDEO: Talking about my ostomy

I did a video interview earlier this week to help support the worldwide ‘Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week’, which started today.

Check it out as I explain and demystify what an ostomy is and how it works to those not in the know!

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Putting up a good but futile fight to save my jpouch

I tried all sorts of weird and wonderful treatments to fix my jpouch.

One thing I learnt whilst I battled to save my jpouch for two years was how much the colorectal medical profession still has to discover about jpouch complications.

The problem with my jpouch was quite rare, it wasn’t something common such as pouchitis or a stricture for instance, but rather what I can only describe as constipation like symptoms that prevented me from fully emptying my jpouch. (Cool bowel issues to deal with, hey).

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Ostomy history – stoma life in the 1970s

Ostomy life in the 1970s was pretty basic compared to today.

I recently got chatting to a ‘stoma veteran’ who was telling me what life was like with an ostomy when he had the surgery in the 1970s. Compared to back then it’s fair to say things have improved leaps and bounds!

It sounded pretty basic and made me grateful that things have massively moved on in terms of appliance quality, technology and post-operative support.

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Dealing with ileus post-ostomy surgery

In hospital
This was taken straight after I woke up from surgery at St James Hospital, Leeds. The morphine button was close at hand!

Having just had my ostomy surgery two weeks ago, the first and hardest obstacle in my experience to recovering is ileus.

For those that are not familiar ileus is a temporary paralysis of the bowels post op in protest to being man-handled during surgery.

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I am now the proud owner of an NHS Medical Exemption Certificate FOR LIFE

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Having an ostomy entitles patients to free medical prescriptions for life
I am the proud owner of an NHS Medical Exemption Certificate FOR LIFE now that I will be embracing a permanent ostomy next week…so not all bad then!

I find it slightly amazing that having an ostomy is classified along with just nine other medical conditions in the UK that entitle us to free medical appliances and prescriptions.

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Walking a tightrope with my jpouch

Having a jpouch is a balancing act when it comes to mastering its functionality and performance.

A good analogy for living with a jpouch is that it might be a bit like walking a tightrope.

By this I mean that when you eventually master a jpouch you might feel invincible and able to do a somersault and still land back on the rope. However, if your jpouch starts to act up and show signs of slacking then you quickly lose your balance and sure footedness.

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How a dodgy jpouch can make life a pain in the arse

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A jpouch can be a royal pain in the arse at times

I have ostomy surgery ‘coming soon’ due to jpouch failure and so I’d like to share with you how a dodgy jpouch can make life tricky. As my misbehaving jpouch, despite my best efforts, has been a literal pain in the arse for the past two years.

For those that read my first article, I have nothing against a jpouch – far from it – as I know first-hand that when they function correctly you can live life to the max, especially with a positive mindset.

But I have to confess that having struggled for a good amount of time with a poor functioning jpouch, I would much rather have an ostomy again.

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Jpouch or Ostomy? It depends on you which is best

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Having experienced life with both a jpouch and an ostomy, nearly eight years later I have realised that depending on what either of them throw at you along the way, it is fine to reverse your opinion about which you think is best.

Of course, some people never hit a bump in the road and are able to go through the rest of their life in a linear direction perfectly content with their jpouch or ostomy, without having to consider more surgery. But what about those of us who are having to contemplate the prospect of more surgery?

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