Life as a Bag Lady

It’s funny how normal having a bag stuck to my belly has become. I was just telling Kyle last night that I don’t even notice it most of the time. I joke, calling myself a “bag lady, ” but I really do carry quite a few bags with me at all times. I carry my big purse everywhere I go. Inside is a smaller bag that contains all my ostomy needs, including spare bags to put on in case of a malfunction (which, thankfully, I have not yet needed to use). Then, of course, I have my trusty bag securely stuck to me at all times. I sure sound like a bag lady to me.

I have to admit that this recent feeling of normalcy was not the case 2 weeks ago. It took about 5 to 6 weeks before I felt comfortable and normal with my ileostomy. It was definitely an adjustment. It took me at least 5 weeks before I was able to take a normal shower. My ostomy nurse told me that it was okay to shower, bathe, and swim with my bag on. She also said that I could get in the shower or bath tub without my bag on (if I timed it so that my stoma was not “active”), but still I was not comfortable, even with my bag on. The problem was, I couldn’t skip showering for months. My first few weeks,  I would either fill the tub to just below my thighs (while sitting, of course) to wash my body and then lean over the side of the tub to wash my hair, or I would attempt to shower without getting my front torso wet (try that for a fun time)! I don’t know what it was that changed, but about 5 and a half weeks after my surgery, I took a normal shower. Now I fold my bag up and tape it with scotch tape, so that it will not flop around while I am showering. It’s just another part of my new normal as an ostomate!

 

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