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Pisceslissa
(@pisceslissa)
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Well I’m finally posting after several years of ‘stalking’ this wonderful site!  My name is Melissa & I’m now 47 years old. I was diagnosed with metastatic cervical cancer in 2015. I’ll just summarize my story so as to give everyone insight into not just my physical health, but mental as well. 

My treatment consisted of chemo & both internal & external radiation. The radiation helped kill my cancer, but caused severe necrosis (tissue death) to the surrounding area. In 2017 I had to have what is called a total pelvic exenteration (surgical removal of all female organs, bladder, rectum, anus, & vagina). I am sewn shut from the front to the back. So now I have both an ileostomy & a urostomy. This has been devastating to me as a woman & has caused me much emotional pain. I am embarrassed of my ‘situation’ & stay mostly to myself now. But I am working on moving past these issues and I'm supposed to say “at least I’m still alive” on frequent occasions. 

So- enough with the HEAVY! I’m posting this to introduce myself & say hello to all & to preface my upcoming post about skin issues that I’ve been dealing with for several years now. 


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john68
(@john68)
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Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 1726
 

Hi Melissa, Welcome to the forum. You really have had so much more to deal with than most. VO is a one stop place for information and answers. Plus it’s a safe place to talk freely about issues/feelings etc. I wish you well and look forward to reading your posts.😀👍

ileostomy 31st August 1994 for Crohns


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Lynne
(@lynne)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 46
 

Welcome Melissa!  What a lovely picture.  You have been through the wringer for sure, but you made it through so you clearly are strong, and now hopefully you can build a full, rich life on the other side of all that.  Eric has created a wonderful site full of so much helpful information.  Sending you all my best wishes.


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Tigerlily
(@tigerlily)
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Posts: 96
 

Wow, Melissa, you have been through a lot. I too have a colostomy because of cancer. I think you will find that a number of people on this site have been through a lot, so you will get a lot of empathy here. I’m glad you’re here. We’re good listeners. My experience has been different from yours, but one thing I will comment on - never underestimate the importance of your mental health through an ordeal like this. You have had so much to learn to accept - I hope you are able to get some help with that. I am a retired counsellor, so I’m a bit biased, but I struggled with my cancer and ostomy, and it really helped me to get counselling. Yes, you’re still alive, and yes, that’s something to be grateful for, but it’s OK to also acknowledge the grief for what you have lost. Melissa, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel grief. I do believe that it is possible to overcome difficult emotional obstacles, but I also believe that it is so much easier with support. I hope you have support - from family, friends, but also professional support when you need it. Now that you have joined us on this site, you can feel free to ask or tell us what you need to, without risking judgment from anyone here. You are part of the VO family now, Melissa. We may be all over the globe, (I’m in Ontario, Canada, and I’m 64) but we’re always available. Welcome.😊

 

Laurie

Just a semicolon


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LLNorth
(@llholiday)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 315
 

Hello Melissa - welcome, and all good wishes to you. I have had my ostomy for nearly three years, from a colorectal cancer diagnosis. What a lot you have been through. How is your skin doing? I was developing irritation under the Adapt barrier ring, changed to the Adapt Ceramide ring, and things improved greatly, though not completely. I use a little stoma powder occastionally. LL

Colostomy 4/30/18.
I love the smell of coffee in the morning. It smells like .... victory.


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SqueakyandLiza
(@squeakyandliza)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 774
 

Welcome Melissa. 

You have been through an ordeal!!  I second what Laurie said - it is totally normal to grieve for everything you have lost. I had to learn that you can be very thankful to still be alive and still be sad for what you have been through and how your life has changed.

If people offer you help, accept it. Learn to talk to people close to you about what is happening. This group is amazing, but you need some people in person too. I’ve learned that for me telling people close to me about my ileostomy makes me less embarrassed about it and makes it more “normal” to me. 

Hang in there!!  You have a lot of people here you can talk to anytime. 😀

-Liza
Ileostomy 6/18/2018
“May your day be bright and your bag be light.”


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Jeff
 Jeff
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Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 20
 
Posted by: @tigerlily

Wow, Melissa, you have been through a lot. I too have a colostomy because of cancer. I think you will find that a number of people on this site have been through a lot, so you will get a lot of empathy here. I’m glad you’re here. We’re good listeners. My experience has been different from yours, but one thing I will comment on - never underestimate the importance of your mental health through an ordeal like this. You have had so much to learn to accept - I hope you are able to get some help with that. I am a retired counsellor, so I’m a bit biased, but I struggled with my cancer and ostomy, and it really helped me to get counselling. Yes, you’re still alive, and yes, that’s something to be grateful for, but it’s OK to also acknowledge the grief for what you have lost. Melissa, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel grief. I do believe that it is possible to overcome difficult emotional obstacles, but I also believe that it is so much easier with support. I hope you have support - from family, friends, but also professional support when you need it. Now that you have joined us on this site, you can feel free to ask or tell us what you need to, without risking judgment from anyone here. You are part of the VO family now, Melissa. We may be all over the globe, (I’m in Ontario, Canada, and I’m 64) but we’re always available. Welcome.😊

 

Laurie

I second this!  My mental health took a major hit after emergency surgery and waking to find I had a bag hanging from my belly.  I found that reaching out and establishing a relationship with a psychologist helped with the depression I experienced.  I am open with others about my situation and that helps but having that professional as part of my ongoing recovery is priceless.


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glenn.giroir
(@glenn-giroir)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 250
 

Hi Melissa.  I'm so sorry you're going through this.  I'm glad you're here.  

Glenn

 

Ulcerative Colitis (1995)
Permanent Ileostomy (2019)
Doing what it takes to enjoy life to its fullest.


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ChrisandBagpus
(@chrisandbagpus)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 215
 

Melissa

I emphasise with what you have been through, words fail me to express the sorrow I have for your loss.

I am glad you have found your voice here.

You life will never be the same, however I'm sure there is a new purpose in your changed life and hope you can come to understand that purpose.

Love light and magic every day

Chris and Bagpus

 

Colostomy Jan 2020


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sjlovestosing
(@sjlovestosing)
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Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 533
 

Welcome to Vegan Ostomy, Melissa. I am sorry to hear about all you've been through. I also had colorectal cancer. You have every right to grieve your loss, we all have done it. Though you've had much more to deal with, things do get "better" especially with love and support of family, friends, and the wonderful people here on this forum. Eric, as I have said many times is a gem! He's very helpful and the info he has here is amazing. Wishing you well.

God bless,

Stella


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VeganOstomy
(@veganostomy)
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Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 3264
 

Welcome @pisceslissa, and thank you for sharing your story. 

I think that one thing that all of us experience when we go through a health crisis or major surgery is the emotional gauntlet and hit to our mental health. Who can blame you? You've been through a lot and lived to tell the story!

I'm looking forward to seeing you on the forums 😃

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Varg55
(@varg55)
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Joined: 6 months ago
Posts: 37
 

Hi Melissa,  I'm glad you finally decided to post and introduce yourself.  Welcome!  We have all been through varying degrees of trauma, both physical and emotional, but you have had more than your share.  It is really good that you have found the strength to start moving forward in a positive way, and joining this site is part of that.  There is such a wealth of knowledge here and also non-judgmental support and encouragement.  I know you will find it helpful, as I have.

 

I am particularly happy to "meet" you as I too am a double ostomate, and there aren't many of us around!  I am very lucky that my situation is only temporary, I will be getting rid of my first stoma from my colostomy, along with the rest of my large bowel, and will end up with just the ileostomy.  Not looking forward to another surgery, this will be my fourth, but the end result will hopefully make my life easier.  I thought dealing with one ostomy was a challenge, but having two is a whole nother issue.  I don't need to tell you! 

You don't say much about your situation, but I hope you have someone in your life who you can talk to and feel supported by.  This site is great, but I think it's important to have real human contact for emotional validation.  You don't say where you live, but if there is an ostomy support group in your area, it might be a good idea to contact them.  I'm sure the situation with Covid will not make this any easier, but it might be a start. 

It's true that much of our self-worth is tied up in our physical bodies, how we see ourselves, how we feel others see us, our sexuality.  One of the things we learn after our physical bodies have been ravaged by disease and surgeries, is that we are so much more than our physical selves.  We are so much more than our ostomies, or whatever other physical parts of ourselves have been ruined.  You have much to offer and there are lots people who will be able to look past the physical deficiencies to what really matters.

I'm so glad you have joined us, and I look forward to hearing more from you.

Terry


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Dona
 Dona
(@dona)
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Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 833
 

Hello and welcome,

You have had a very hard time indeed. But, hopefully, you can focus on the future and your new self. I think we go through various stages of grief and acceptance, but at our own rates. 

You are right to embrace the positive aspects of your changed self.

Be well. Keep asking questions. You are not alone on this journey.

Onset of severe Ulcerative Colitus Oct.2012. Subtotal colectomy with illiostomy July 2015; Peristomal hernia repair ( Sugarbaker, mesh, laparoscopic) May 2017.


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Stella
(@stella)
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Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 23
 

Hi Melissa, you're in a warm family. (Thanks Eric again)

Yes, please talk about anything that you want here . We are here a warm family supporting each other. All brothers and sisters here walk together with us hand in hand. Life is not easy, I understand. I have rectum cancer and after a big surgery in November, I'm on chemotherapy treatments. Thanks all the brothers and sisters took me out of my scary darkness since November 2020. 

My main support boyfriend was diagnosed to have one kidney cancer at beginning of April and will have surgery in May. I did cry a lot and question God. But God gave me a family here before the very dark darkness. I'm stronger and know I need to support my boyfriend now.

Melissa, please always come here to talk about anything. Our brothers and sisters are all very kind and always support us and find ways here and there to help us solve our problems. We are not alone, we are here in a warm family.

 


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