The prospect of surgery can be a highly stressful and scary thing, but it helps to be equipped with knowledge so you aren’t worrying too much about minor things.

When I learned that an ostomy was in my future, I spent most of my time learning about how it might impact my life, what limitations it might force on me and how others were coping with it. But there are still some things that I wish I knew before having my surgery.

Ostomy Supplies Can Be Really Expensive

At least where I live (Canada), ostomy supplies aren’t covered by our healthcare system, and many private insurance companies won’t take you on with a pre-existing condition. It took months to find an insurance company who approved my application (Green Shield Canada), but prior to that, I simply assumed that the $600 grant (per year) we get from the Ontario government would be more than enough to cover the cost of supplies.  Boy was I wrong!

Considering that there’s a lot of trial and error in the first several months of having an ostomy, and skin issues create added expenses that far exceed our $600 assistive devices grant.

I wish I had a more realistic expectation when it came to costs associated with supplies and I wish I found an insurance company sooner.

For those who live in Canada and have difficulties dealing with expenses, I’ve put together a list of resources that might help HERE.

An Ostomy Won’t Limit Me

The first thing that came to mind when my doctor told me to consider an ostomy was all the things that I would lose the ability to do with a stoma. Even things like what I’d be able to eat or whether I could wear a seatbelt were on my mind!

It’s something I can now look back at and laugh, because my ostomy has enabled me to do things that I never expected to do again, like eating without pain, going to the movies, amusement park rides, going on hikes or simply getting groceries without worrying about where the nearest washroom is.   But more importantly, it didn’t take away any of the things that I might want to do at some point, like playing sports.

Of course, nobody can predict what will happen after surgery, and some aren’t so lucky.

Had I known that some of these worries would be non-issues, I think it would have taken a great burden off my shoulders.
I Wish I Knew Which Products Were Available.

Oh, how I wish I knew about adhesive remover sprays sooner! I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to many wonderful stoma nurses, but without knowing what questions to ask, it’s difficult for them to offer solutions. One problem I had as a new ostomate was removing my wafer. It was frustrating and painful to use only adhesive remover wipes, but my life changed when I saw a video on adhesive remover sprays!

The great thing about having an ostomy these days is that we have so many options when it comes to supplies and accessories. Products that not only make changing or maintaining our appliance easier, but also products that enhance our quality of life.

I feel grateful to have the opportunity to learn about, try, and share my experiences with various products, and it always makes my day to hear someone say “thanks for mentioning that, I had no idea that product exists”.

I wish I knew more about supply and accessory options as a new ostomate so that I could spend less time making due with inadequate solutions.
Question: What are some things you wish you knew before having your ostomy?