Ostomy Memories Vietnam


“This ileostomy is how I survived Vietnam.” If I said that, it would be true, but misleading, for I never got to ‘Nam. The Leon Uris novel Battle Cry, about a platoon of Marines in the south Pacific during W.W. II, had captured my imagination and I went to the local Marine Corps recruiter to see what I could find out. They gave me a standard test and I went home to decide. Then I got sick. After a total of five months in the hospital, ending with the surgery, I was 4-F. No Semper Fi for me. So, the ostomy became the way in which I survived that war. Otherwise, I am convinced, my name would have been on that heart-breaking black granite wall in D.C. I ended up protesting it rather than fighting it. My good sense, and my bad health luck, overcame my earlier gung-ho esprit de corps. Now I’m 77 and counting. Peace!

Past Member

Wow, Henry! Imagine how different things could have been for you. Your family must be thankful for your ostomy too. Glad you're still around to tell us these stories.


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Hello HenryM.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences in this way as it provides us with alternative perspectives on such things.

Best wishes



Hey Henry

I have a 4 F letter around here somewhere too.

Although my story is different to yours.

Well done



I would say that what we got is a bit worse than Trumpian bone spurs, eh?  Stay well, Axl. 

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Maybe you should write a book called "Journeys of an Ostomate." I enjoy your stories. Best wishes and stay safe.


Thanks, lovely.  Oh, there are plenty of possible titles.  Your suggestion is a good one.  I mentioned the other day:  The Zen of an Ostomy.  Or, How I Learned to Love My Stoma.  Maybe we need a contest to come up with the best title...   Stay well.


That sounds like a good idea and maybe someone could contribute a story or two.


Hi Henry,

(And Lovely)

Thanks for your story, Henry. "Saved" by needing surgery. In retrospect, you must feel so lucky. I got sick at 12 and didn't have my surgery until I was 15. I often think back as to what kind of person I would have been had I not gotten sick at such a young age, and if I hadn't had so much adversity through much of my teens. I think I learned to care about others, be sensitive to the needs of others, value education and friends, as well as family. I lived in and out of hospitals (without my parents) for more than 4 years, and it left its mark. Lovely, I think writing a book of The Journey of Ostomates would be a really good and helpful idea. If others like it as well, I'd be glad to work with anyone who would like to submit his/her story and what he/she learned from it. I know one gal online who wrote her own book and had it published.

Over the years (55 with an ostomy), I've met many people with interesting stories to share. One lovely gal lives in Papua New Guinea and, after surviving cancer and living with her ostomy, she worked with others in her community to bring supplies and help to the needy who did not have supplies. When I went to Australia to visit my son, I brought 2 suitcases filled with supplies, which were then picked up by a worker from PNG and delivered to Janet. Today, PNG Ostomy Association exists because of her, and they even have a van with its official name. These stories help people around the world who really need us to know and care. I have a houseful of supplies I'd like to donate to Ostomates Worldwide, but they are based in Washington DC with their warehouses in Kentucky. I don't have the money to ship supplies to Kentucky and have been on the phone with the organization's leadership. I've even thought of doing a "go fund me" page to help raise money for the postage. I'd really like to send the supplies to Janet in PNG since she really needs them. People there use plastic bags or wrap themselves in bandages like a diaper. Here we have so much, except for the postage to get what's needed to people who need the items. Any ideas welcome. Marsha. Check out PNG Ostomy website on Facebook.


I guess I could say the same thing. My number came up pretty low in the lottery. I had my surgery three years earlier. I got my "invitation" to my pre-induction physical and headed over there not knowing what to expect. Went through every test they had until I got to the last doctor and he looked at me, looked at my pouch and just said "What are you doing here?" I told him I was told to show up and handed him a letter from my doctor (just in case someone thought I glued a non-functioning pouch on my side). Again, he looked at me and said "You can go." Went home and a few days later got my 4-F in the mail.


Sounds like we had similar experiences.  And here we are... 

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