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So it’s no secret now- I have an ostomy and I wont shut up about it.

I talk about it to everyone- old friends, new friends, even strangers. My ostomy is the second thing I mention about myself, after my name.

Lucky for me, I’ve never come into contact with someone who was disgusted or scared of what I had. No one’s ever shunned  me because of it, and no one’s decided not to be my friend. It’s awesome.

What I have come across however, are some crazy crazyyyy questions about it. Questions that make me stop and stare. Sure, some of them are legitimate questions, but others…. Just read below

Let’s start from the bottom

Question #10:  Does your ostomy hurt?

Besides 2 weeks after surgery when I had stitches around the stoma [piece of intestine] that would just-not-dissolve, I have no pain at all. I often lie around on my stomach to read and I sleep on my stomach most nights. I wear tight pants around my ostomy and it doesn’t bother me at all. It is funny, though, to freak people out when they touch my stomach and pretend it does hurt. Teehee.

Question #9: Do you have to eat a special diet?

Nopeeeeeeeeeee. For once in a very long long long time, I do NOT!  I can eat whatever the hell I wantttt. I mean, I can only eat certain things at certain times depending on my events for the day [so I can plan when what comes out] but really, I can eat anything. There are some things I don’t eat because I don’t like the way they come out, but doesn’t mean I can’t eat them. I just don’t have to be on an “8 Ensure meal replacement shakes a day” diet, or an “only organic eat nothing fun” diet, or a “4 month long bowel rest [not food at all]” diet. Mmmm food.

Question #8 Can you play sports or exercise?

Ok so I’m not the most athletic person in the world, but this doesn’t mean my ostomy stops me from it. As long as I make sure my ostomy is protected, there is no reason I can’t play sports or exercise. Protection means wearing pads or special shorts just to keep the bag in and make sure it doesn’t flap all over the place. I was told, however, that I shouldn’t wrestle or box, but really, when did I ever do that anyway?

Question #7 Can you swim and wear bathing suits?

Thanks to 8 years of swimming lessons- yes I can swim. I don’t like swimming, but my ostomy doesn’t stop me. Ostomy bags are manufactured so that they specifically stay on when they are wet. Sure, after a while, the bag starts to come off, but if it didn’t- man would they hurt when I would have to change them.  As for bathing suits, I know some people with colostomies have special tiny “caps” that they just wear which are really small round bags that almost don’t even look like they’re there and can wear normal bathing suits, but it depends on the location of their bag. Ilesotomates, like me, always have to wear bags, but small ones are made so that I can tuck it away. I wear bikinis. They’re slightly modified, but I still wear them.

This leads into number 6

Question #6 Can you wear clothes like everyone else? Nice clothes? Dresses? Etc

I don’t know about other ostomates fashion sense, but I sure as hell know how to dress. People often think that because we have a bag on our stomach, we have to wear baggy pants and sweatshirts. Sure… when I’m lazy that’s what I wear, but most of the time you can see me around campus in tight jeans or leggings. If you look back at pictures from my sorority recruitment blog post, I’m wearing a tight pencil skirt. Bet you can’t find my ostomy there. Thanks to some tricks I’ve picked up over the years- I know how to dress.


Question #5 Don’t you smell bad?

I smell like Miss Dior Cherie perfume by Dior. I don’t think it smells bad, but that’s just me.

Question #4 Can you pee normally?

Now when I hear people ask me if I can still pee normally, I actually stop and look at them for a second. Did no one pass grade 5 science class? You do know, I ask, that the gastrointestinal system and the urinary system are two completely different systems, right? Yes. I pee normally.

Question #3 Do you have problems getting dates/having relationships/finding love?

If an ostomate can’t get a date, or keep a relationship- they have other issues. I have never ever had a problem with my ostomy and dating or relationships. If I ever met a guy who didn’t like my ostomy-NEXT.

Myth #2 Are you able to have sex?

Ohhh yes.

And finally; the question I get asked over and over and over again

Question #1 Can people have sex with your ostomy?

No. No no no no no.

For some reason, EVERYONE asks me this question. Why? Would you ever want to? No. Just. No.


Anymore questions? :]

Jessica Grossman

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