World Ostomy Day 2015: Attitude = Everything

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October 3rd, 2015 – World Ostomy Day! Wow has time come and gone since our last World Ostomy Day, but advocacy and awareness hasn’t slowed down one bit!  I’m so excited to see so many ostomates sharing their stories on social media or in personal blogs, and I hope that this trend continues!

For this World Ostomy Day, I want to share perhaps the most important “tip” I have to offer.  This is something that will help soon-to-be ostomates, new ostomates, and veteran ostomates alike, and I think it deserves an entire post of its own. And what better day to share it, than on World Ostomy Day!

Attitude Is EVERYTHING When It Comes to Having an Ostomy

I absolutely mean that – if you have a defeatist attitude about your surgery, about wearing a bag, or about how your scars look, you will have a very hard time adjusting and accepting your stoma.  On the flip side, if you remain positive and forward-thinking, you’ll be a highly successful ostomate.

“Yeah, that’s great if everything is going smoothly, but I’ve got 99 problems and my ostomy causes them all!”

Problems happen, I’ve had them, and I know that pretty much every ostomate should expect them. But most problems are temporary, and many have easy solutions.  From odor to leaks, to appliances not sticking, these can all be extremely frustrating to deal with, but it’s way harder to deal with them through a veil of negativity.

Even in times where you face complications that result in further surgery, you benefit nothing from having a poor attitude, but you do end up adding a lot of unnecessary stress to your life.

You-cannot-control-what

It Can Take Something Simple to Change Your Perspective

Truth be told, I was devastated when I first found out that I’d be looking at getting a temporary ostomy.  The news was unexpected, and I saw it as utter defeat.  Then a small series of events unfolded that would forever change my outlook:

Someone told me that an ostomy is not the end of the world, and I believed them.

Yup. I remember quite vividly, sobbing as I walked out from a GI appointment, hurt and angered by the “news” that my “last resort” was upon me. It was then that my nurse told me that things would be ok; She said that she knew plenty of people with an ostomy who got on quite well.

So the skeptic in me looked for these people – and they were everywhere.  I came across many ostomates who were sharing their story on YouTube and many more who were blogging about their experience and simply couldn’t believe how happy they were. Happy? Yes, very happy, and they wanted others to know.

But these people weren’t happy because things were going their way; in fact, many were having complications post-surgery.  They were happy because they chose to remain positive, despite all the uncertainties surrounding these new changes they had ahead of them.

This changed me forever, and it helped to catapult this website into existence. I can’t thank those people enough, who at that time, were strangers with a stoma. Several of them are now friends who I keep in touch with regularly – to vent, for support or to share ideas on raising more awareness within the community.

Final Words

So despite all the information I offer on this site or in my videos, none of it matters if you don’t have the right attitude. If you hate your scars, and can’t get past the idea of living with a bag for the rest of your life – I can’t really change that – but YOU can.

Change your attitude for the better today, because there really is a lot that you’re missing right now! 

P.S. I don’t want this post to come off as one of those “suck it up, and get over your problems” type post. I am sensitive to the fact that not everyone is having an easy ostomy experience and many ARE struggling, so it’s far more difficult for them to turn off the switch of negativity. I hope that with the right support, patience, and maybe a good stoma nurse, they can turn that around for themselves. Eric

Further Reading

Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress: Mayo Clinic
Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress: Institute for Work & Health
Question: What kind of attitude have you held about your attitude?
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