Ostomy memories


For years following my 1964 surgery, I used a United appliance that compared to what I wear now as a Model T compares to a Lexus.  It had a rubber-coated, malleable metal piece that went 'round my stoma and attached to my skin after I brushed on some sticky, white cement (called Skin Bond) that would later have to be removed with an alcohol-based solvent.  The attached bag was rubber (or a rubberlike material) and I had a pair of them, one being worn and the other hanging in the bathroom to dry following removal and cleansing.  It probably weighed 30 times as much as the disposable two-piece Hollister I'm wearing now. **  After attaching the appliance with the Skin Bond, I had to bind it all down with surgical tape around the face plate for security.  It often was what gave me just enough time to get home to my bathroom when the inevitable leaks occurred. **  Removal of the appliance & attachment of the clean one was a clumsy process, with cleansing of the skin being particularly time-consuming.  I averaged 45 to 75 minutes in the bathroom for this chore.  These days I'm in & out in 15 minutes. **  Naturally, with the weight involved, a belt was absolutely necessary & I hated it with a passion.  Now, with such lightweight ostomy items, I don't have to bother with a belt.  **  Progress can be wonderful, of course, but sometimes it comes too late.  I see adds on TV these days for medication that supposedly can arrest ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease.  I had U.C. but, in '64, they had no medications for it.  Onward and upward...   

Past Member

Hi Henry,

Thank you for sharing. I have often wondered what it was like and what the hugely different appliance was like. I'm really thankful for the progress made. Glad you don't have to carry the weight anymore... mountain.

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Thanks, mtnman.  I consider you a newbie and I hope you're doing well.  Summers have unique ostomy issues with the heat, but if you're in the mountains, perhaps you'll escape that.  Thumbs up, bud.  Henry


Hey Henry, what a difference 50+ years can make.  Your little history lesson should remind us how fortunate we are.  Sometimes, some of us still bitch and moan, probably just 'cause we're human.  

I'm thinking your appliance wasn't too different from Napolean Bonapart's around 200 years before you. 

Thanks so much for helping us put things in perspective.


Past Member

Hi Henry,

Always good to hear from the original ostomates, the history of appliances is a definite eye-opener*.

Before my ileostomy surgery 12 years ago, I was very fortunate to meet a woman the same age as me who had her surgery at the age of 10 years old. Her positivity, upbeat view of life, and extensive information she gave me really helped me overcome any fear I had before going into the hospital and living life with a stoma.

"I see ads on TV these days for medication that supposedly can arrest ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease" - Supposedly is the key word here. In my opinion, the drugs don't work and most likely never will - particularly biological drugs that can alter your own biology and cause countless other diseases that you didn't have in the first place. They may mask the disease and symptoms, but side effects can cause untold damage to your health much worse than UC or Crohn's ever would. Rant over!

Thanks for the perspective, much appreciated.

Cheers, Jo

* ;https://www.stomaatje.com/history.html

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

It is amazing how much improvement has been made. Thanks for letting us know how much better we have it made. Stay safe


Hi Henry.

I've heard some stories about appliances of the past like you speak of. You must be tough stuff. I'm glad times have changed.

In 2017, I had every drug available thrown at me for U/C, including Infliximab, which almost finished me off. It shuts down your entire immune system, but did nothing, of course.

ron in mich

Hi Henry, I thought when I got my ostomy in '84, the appliances were crude as the base plate was thick and unforgiving when you bent over. Nowadays, the base plate is half the thickness and flexible, and the only time I use a belt is when I put a new setup on. Then, only for about an hour or two to make sure the wafer is stuck on good.


The development of M9 was a life-changing product for me also.

Drugs like Humira are truly life-changing for some of us with Crohn's disease because it causes terrible, terrible pain in the joints. Your life becomes nothing because the inflammation is so bad, you cannot work, barely walk or sleep, walk through a grocery store or park. Humira gives me back my life. I would much rather have a short, good life with little pain than a long, pain-filled one.

Past Member

  Hi Henry and thanks, I sweat easily and when it's hot the half wax ring I use under my stoma starts melting, so I check and change it sooner.  
   Take care Henry,..mountain.  


Nice to hear of the progress made in ostomy systems. I am waiting for the next generation of products. I have a vision of a valve to open or close with no pouch required and no leaks or blowouts! Empty when convenient! Anyone out there think the same? LOL



Aha, a futurist!  Good for you, puppyluv.  


Henerym, yes I had my ileostomy in 1977 and had a rubber-like Marlin bag, reusable, ick, and a hard faceplate, and the tape to hold it on for leaks. I had to switch years ago when Marlin was too hard to get from RX. I tried Hollister and Coloplast. I used both and I found Coloplast Mio years back, love it. It is so much faster to change. You're right, it would take me at least a half hour (if the stoma was not active) to change, but I could wear it 5-7 days. Now I get 3 days if lucky?


I can so relate to Henry! I've been an ostomate for over 40+ years. I remember having to have a specially made faceplate, then had to use a yucky white cement on the faceplate.

Which fit appropriately over my stoma on which I attached a bag. If the size of your stoma changed, you'd have to get a new faceplate made. They weren't cheap! Henry is right, it took time to change the bag. In the last several years, I now use a Hollister one-piece appliance. Put on skin prep, let it dry, slap on one-piece bag in a matter of minutes!

Thank goodness for progress!


Hi Henry, I have had my ileostomy for over 50 years... since 1965, when I was just 15 years old. I had the same type of appliance.....also United Surgical.....with a plastic disc, and a metal clasp that went around the circumference of the pouch, connecting it to the plastic wafer. I also used Skin Bond Adhesive, and if you didn't wait long enough for it to dry on both the skin and plastic wafer, it could leave a burn on your skin... Despite that, after 4 years of ulcerative colitis, I adjusted to the ostomy and got back to real life, school, dating, high school graduation, and eventually marriage. I knew I never wanted to be "hooked up" so when I was 19, I had the final surgery and had the rectum removed. I've never regretted it... Using those supplies was like living in the Dark Ages, but I/we all got through it... These more recent years and newer ostomy products and options make living with an ostomy so much easier... I've traveled extensively, hiked, snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, swam in the Dead Sea, and more. Couldn't have done any of it without my "ostomy". Best regards.... Marsha


It's so good to hear from you, Marsha.  We've been living on a parallel track for a long time, it would appear.  After my initial PTSD from the surgery, I straightened out and learned how to live a normal life.  My wife and I will celebrate our 52nd wedding anniversary next week.  We have two beautiful adult daughters.  I have been professionally successful and have thrived notwithstanding my secret anatomy anomaly.  Sounds like you have as well, so three cheers to the both of us.  Swam in the Dead Sea, eh?  Wow!  And lived to tell about it... LOL    Best wishes, Henry M

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