Dating with an Ostomy: Share Your Stories

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tiff041

I know this topic has been posted many times...but does anybody have any terrible dating stories about trying to date with an ostomy? I have read about the ones where people don't mind, etc., but I feel like those are few and far between. I just wanna know that I am not alone in feeling like I will never meet anyone. I had numerous hospitalizations over the years and have not dated due to my illness. I almost died twice before finally getting a permanent ileostomy in 2018. It was either that or death. That's how serious. I would really like to reach out and make some friends. Nobody I know has an ostomy or has ever been as sick as I. People say they understand, but they don't. Unless you have been dealt this blow, you can only guess what we go through. I think that is why I am reaching out here. I don't wanna feel pathetic or like I am a leper. I have been told for years by friends and family to reach out to people that can relate. So...here I am. Please feel free to share with me. I have a lot to share myself...and I think it could be very beneficial. Anyone out here? Drop me a line or two. Would love to hear your journey.

Past Member

Hi Tiff041, hopefully you will meet someone on here. I have had my ostomy less than 2 years now but haven't dated yet. I also hope I meet a fellow ostomate. :)

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AlexT

I've only had my bag for a few months now, but if a guy is turned off by an ostomy bag, he's not the guy you want anyway. Ostomy bags are really not that huge a deal unless you make it one. From a guy's (remember we're just simple-minded idiots) viewpoint, I'll say I'd be more turned off if you didn't say something upfront than waiting until things progressed in the relationship. Same thing with your other "issue" of being a virgin. Just tell the guy, we're almost smart enough to understand and can "slow the approach" so it's not overwhelming for you. Remember, everyone was one once in their life. Of course, if a guy on an ostomy site doesn't realize that you're gonna have one too, that should tell you something right there. Now, everyone on here has a little different story and different "issues" with their story, but the story is pretty much the same for all of us. I hope you find the man that's lucky enough to have you, don't settle for less.

tiff041
Reply to Anonymous

Thank you so much for your kind words.

tiff041
Reply to AlexT

I could cry, lol. Thank you also for the kind words.

 
Staying Hydrated with an Ostomy with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Past Member

Hi Tiff041, this is also a problem for guys, at least for me! I haven't dated any woman since I had my ostomy in 2019. Actually, I did not try and I wouldn't dare to date!! Hope you find someone here

AlexT
Reply to Anonymous

Why? Are you waiting to find a lady with an ostomy so you feel more comfortable? Just by glancing through this site, there are some stunningly beautiful women that have ostomies. As an adult, any woman or guy that can't "deal" with your ostomy isn't the right person for you, move on. If it's because you feel uncomfortable with your ostomy or health condition, take it slow and start doing things with other people and the dating part will work its way into the equation.

Past Member
Reply to AlexT

I agree that there are many beautiful women here, but I did not have luck to meet a woman near me on this site. Distance is the major problem!

samantha1995.pa

Don't be ashamed of what saved you, if a man or woman doesn't like it then they're not the one, if they can't handle that you're a virgin so be it screw them everyone has to start somewhere and I'm damn right sure they were once one too. It may seem hopeless but get yourself out there, enjoy yourself, people do say life begins at 40 anyways.

tiff041
Reply to Anonymous

Thanks for the kind words.

tiff041
Reply to samantha1995.pa

Thank you for the sweet words, Samantha.

Immarsh

Hi Tif, you've taken a really great first step and reached out on this site. I discovered it years ago and didn't think I had much need for it. I'm Marsha now, 73, and have had my ileostomy since I was a teen of 15. Check out my other "posts" over the years, and you'll get to read my whole story. I've been through it all, having had ulcerative colitis for 4 years prior to the emergency surgery. I was out of school, in and out of hospitals, on all different meds, and finally, when there was nothing else (but death), my parents agreed to the surgery. I was a bird let out of a cage and managed through the rest of my teens and dating, but married young to a man who also had an ileostomy (met him through the ostomy association). Although we were married for 24 1/2 years and had two sons together, the ostomies were not enough to keep us together. So in my 40's, I was single again and back to dating. To be honest, the ostomy was the least of my problems. I am short and had gained a lot of weight after having kids. I found that men preferred taller, thinner women (blonds?), but that didn't stop me from being out there socially. I joined singles groups, went to parties, to concerts, to social events, and focused on looking for men who did find me interesting, attractive, funny. I even learned how to make the first moves (letting him know I was interested) and gave no thought to the "ostomy" until I was actually on a date. When you get over the fear of "what might happen," you'll find that it's not as frightening as you thought it would be. Take what Al had to say to heart and train yourself to value your worth. And if a guy rejects you because of your ostomy, he wasn't the one for you. My rule of thumb, back when I was a "kid," was that if I wanted a guy's hands below my neck (it was called making out), then I was going to be prepared "to tell." It worked back then, and it still works now. These days, it's just sooner. No, I'm not a slut, just old, and want to enjoy the time I have left. Dating at this age has also given me insight into insecurities that "older" men have. Some of their parts don't function as well as they did in their youth. And so they need kindness and understanding from the women in their life. Someone echoed my feelings. Don't be ashamed of what saved your life. For me, my ostomy is a "badge of survival." My weight (and other scars) are more of an issue for me than my ostomy. Best of luck to you and all the other "mates" out there. Marsha

Past Member

Hi Tiff, my heart goes out to you because I, like most people on here, have had that crisis point where we look into the mirror after getting out of the shower. The mirror over the sink just lets you see the part above your stoma. You give a little, what's the word... guffaw (as Missus Google) and think, or say, "Hey, you look pretty good for someone who had broomsticks for legs and chicken wings for arms. You are proud of how much better you are and THENNNN... you make the mistake of looking in the full-length mirror and (guys and girls both) you want to cry when you see that your guts are now on the outside and you shit in a plastic baggie!!! All day and all night you are full of shite. At first, you want to crawl back to your bed and curl up in a ball and die as soon as possible!!! Right?? I was about 25 and finally in college after saving enough with my brother to get an apt (came here from The Bronx, to The Bronx from the wild West of Ireland after high school).

You can be obsessive about your stoma, about food and hydration, etc., etc.... and this is before worrying about what he or she might say when you expose the shitty part of your life. I never once felt a need to go to a doctor, was never sick a day until ulcerative colitis. Now I suddenly had this ball and chain attached to my belly, well that's what it felt like....

Falling asleep... back later Tiff. It gets better, give it time. When you finally do get some big hairy brute in your bed, cozy under the covers and snuggled up to his hairy chest, you will say to yourself... it was worth the wait... or snuggled up with a lady, whatever puts a smile on your face. I never talk about this but I will tell you (y'all out there.) that I had not experienced a woman's love, physical or emotional, for about 15, 20 years... No shit!!! When I held Kitty close as she snuggled up to my hairy chest and she giggled because my chest hair tickled her nose, at that moment I said to myself and to Kitty... "It was worth the wait, to feel such true love after all those years alone, surrounded by people but still alone.

Keep the faith Tiff and don't despair. Most guys, as with women, are regular decent compassionate people. If the thought of an ostomy scares them inside, then that's OK. They are allowed to be a bit afraid.... Damn!!! That's a bag of liquid shite hanging off your belly. I do not resent anyone who is put off or scared by that, it's just human nature. We are, after all, human with human fears and anxieties, so I wouldn't be angry if a woman just told me she could not handle it, some can and some cannot, so I say, give them a break and send them on their way with a smile rather than a grimace.

Definitely pumpkin time now.

Nighty Nite all..

Eamon.

tiff041
Reply to Immarsh

I will take everything you said to heart. Thank you very much for writing to me.

tiff041
Reply to Anonymous

Wow... thank you for the response. I guess I figure who would want me when there are so many beautiful (and now younger) women out there that are not going to the bathroom from their stomach. Who is gonna fund this attractive? I was told that I should probably just find love with a person who also has a bag. At least we are in the same boat. It is not just that though. I am also on SSD due to the severity of my Crohn's. I have to nap or lie down quite frequently throughout the day. I am constantly worn out and never have any energy. I can't just go out on the town constantly or do many active things. It's like geez... who is gonna want a 40-year-old woman with no life, on disability, AND a stoma. I just feel like my options for love are extremely limited. And let's not forget my age makes it nearly impossible to ever even entertain the thought of children. I can't physically now anyways. What do I really have to offer someone, you know? I have almost resigned myself to living with my mother (75) and my two cats. It just feels like it's gonna be a lonely life. I don't voice this often. Nobody knows I feel this way. I just know nobody is going to understand.

AlexT

1) You have to get it right.
2) You may be more beautiful than a lot of women who don't poop out their stomach, or who do. Beauty isn't all about looks.

3) Your age is meaningless except to you.
4) Having kids is the least of your concerns right now. Any guy will understand that with your health conditions, you having kids isn't going to happen. However, if it gets to a point of wanting kids, there's always adoption.
5) What do you have to offer someone? You have YOU.

6) Put yourself first and do something every day that makes you happy.

tiff041

Alex t..I could kiss you. I think I really needed to hear that. Like I said, I don't voice my displeasure over life hardly at all. Not only do I know nobody who completely understands..but I also know it is not very becoming or attractive to complain and do the woe is me. I guess that is why I am here. At least people GET it here. It feels like a safe place.

I know you are right deep down. It is just I feel very isolated, especially not being able to work. I live with my mother and I honestly don't know what I would do without her. My father passed away in 2009 from Agent Orange exposure problems related to his time in Vietnam. My dad was there for a lot of my sickness but now it has been put on my mom since then. And it seems that I got sicker after my father passed. Mom has never-ending empathy..but even she urged me to get online here and try and find someone who can relate to me.

It is just..I sometimes wonder if I should just give up ya know? Like it is hard enough to meet people in general.. Then to add all these complications. I guess the only thing I can do is stay strong and pray every night that maybe God will send someone my way. I strongly believe in prayer. So maybe I will try that and place it in the Lord's hands. Once again..thank you so very much for responding.

Past Member

Hi Tiff, I should have mentioned the obstacles that conspired to make my time with Kitty a great victory for both of us.

First off, my house is in the Wild and Wonderful West of Ireland. I am a citizen of Ireland and a US citizen, so I can travel freely back and forth. I lived in San Francisco for years and really grew up in CA. I went back to live with and take care of my mom after my dad died. I was quite ill at the time, so the slow pace in my hometown was perfect for me.

After we lost my mom, I stripped the house to the four walls and rebuilt it...with my own two little hands!! Since then, I spent most summers in CA, half and half roughly.

I hooked up with Kitty while I was in Ireland, via the internet. We both signed up for another Ostomy site. Kitty had an Ileo after breast cancer treatment, radiation destroyed her intestines and wound up with "Short Bowel". She gallantly overcame the fact that she had only about 16 inches of small intestine left. She could eventually eat again normally. She got her Masters and became an SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist, Speech and Language Therapist. She settled in San Jose (Silicon Valley) with her two kids, both are ADHD and have autism to some degree. She got work in the school district and helped so many little kids speak and communicate with the world. To them, she was Smiling Miss Kitty. I have hundreds of photos and her dimpled chin and big happy grin are featured in every pic.

Kitty beat the breast cancer and short bowel, and her kiddies were her whole life, her own kids and all the little sweeties that she helped. I used to go to the school sometimes and they all loved her so much. She arranged for iPads for children who couldn't speak, and they finally got to communicate with everyone.

Kitty texted me out of the blue while I was on the way to Reno for the Hot August Nights car show. My nephews and my brother are car nuts (1969 Charger). We spoke and texted for three solid hours. We arranged our first date for Monday. Kitty came to pick me up at my brother's house. Believe it or not, we discovered that her only sister lived just ten minutes from my brother's house in San Mateo! Remember, when we first hooked up on the internet, I was actually 6,400 miles away. We suddenly discovered that her sister and my brother lived just ten minutes away from each other!

Kitty visited me in Ireland three times, and I spent about half the year with her and the kiddies. My time at home was spent getting my house finished and preparing for Kitty and the kids to join me in Ireland. We were planning to spend her summers in Ireland with me and her two kiddies.

Kitty loved my big family and met them all (7 boys, 3 girls!!). It was instant love for everyone she met, and everyone loved her madly!! She was so looking forward to bringing the kids to Ireland to meet everyone. I could hardly believe how my life had changed. I went from doing everything alone or with a family member, I suddenly had a ready-made family!!!

I don't want to make this a sob story of misery, but a celebration of life's possibilities and of how your life can suddenly make an amazing turn that you could never have predicted. We had three wonderful years together, and I'm happy for having that. Happy that such an amazing woman loved me unconditionally, as I loved her.

If this wonderful experience could have suddenly dropped into my lap, out of the blue, then there is hope for everyone. Just chat to as many people as possible, and when that connection comes into view, you will feel it in your bones and your heart. Your instincts will tell you what to do.

I may be going to Ireland just after Christmas, and I will bring Kitty with me, some of her precious ashes, to be with my mom and dad at the top of a hill overlooking the green hills and mountains that surround our cemetery. They never had the pleasure of meeting Kitty in life, but they would have loved her just as much as everyone else. My mom always worried that I was alone and never found that special lady. I visit her resting place and often have those little chats to let her know that I'm ok and I found that special woman who made my life whole, finally.

Gotta go now before I start the waterworks!!

Stay strong Tiff, never give up.

Fred383

Oh please, enough with the sob stories. Most of us would have died too if it weren't for this last-ditch effort to save our lives. What doctor would choose to give a patient an ostomy? Unless they had to.

Dating. As I've said, wrap an "OstomySecrets" band around yourself and go for it. If a guy can run a marathon or a gal swim, you can say hi and let the man know that you have a medical issue and NOTHING ELSE. "At this time, I'd like to keep it private". Chat (online a heck of a lot more (and preferably with another at the same time (eggs in one basket)) and meet with a friend eventually before the 2nd date (alone) chat online about your "medical condition". He'll either run for the hills or my bet, care even more. You win.

Moral of the story: Get your sorry ass out there and meet people! Of course, it's scary, it sure is for healthy people too!

Past Member

Hey Fred, wouldn't it be great if we were all tough guys/ladies like yourself!! I thought you would have used the brilliant line, "Get over it, you crybaby." That always works. Snap out of it, you pussy. Get a life." Different people react very differently to the trauma we have all been through, don't you know that by now!? Everyone on this team has earned the right to bitch and moan.... This is one of the features that make people join and contribute their honest thoughts, their fears, and even some worries that you seem to find trivial!!

As my saintly, brave, and even heroic mother would say, we all have our crosses to bear, but being human means that we carry those burdens differently.

I had people very close to me who believed my doctor when he said that there was no reason why I should be having serious pain long term. The inside of my remaining piece of anal canal and rectum looked like raw chopped meat!! The doctor's lie was believed by some people around me, and the skepticism was palpable. I couldn't drop my drawers and bend over so these people could do an inspection or bring them to the bathroom to see the blood dripping out of my butt. The deleterious emotional baggage that comes with an ostomy, the shit stigma attached to it, can be very hard for some people.

People here need encouragement and positive feedback regarding the issues and problems they face.

So, dude.... give people a break and keep your tough love advice out of the conversation... please.

Eamon.

Past Member

Hi Tiff, I meant to say that Kitty had an ileostomy after losing much of her large and small intestine to radiation for breast cancer. Kitty was born with clubfoot condition. She had leg lengthening surgery and many surgeries when she was younger. When we would have to walk a long way, she had a light wheelchair...her chariot I called it. We overcame all these problems and her anxieties as well as my own. I loved wheeling around the parks and the streets of Dublin in her chariot, we had so much fun. I must say that it was very liberating to sleep with a woman who also had an ostomy. If I had a leak, she would help change the sheets and I did likewise, all in good humor and we knew there was a warm huggy cuddle when we got back to bed and dozed off in each other's arms. I actually preferred that Kitty had an ostomy. However, you cannot decide who to love, your heart does that so you really have nothing to say about it, just accept it graciously when it happens.

So hang in there and write to lots of people, not novels (like me!). Short notes to tell people who you are. Might take a while. I met Kitty when I was almost 60!!!

Keep the faith Tiff...and bitch and moan as much as you need to, you have earned that right!!

Fred383
Reply to Anonymous

I never meant to not use this forum for discussion, but I rarely see any common sense approach to solving the dilemma. 10 years without a date is unacceptable. We all must take responsibility for our actions thereof.

Join a church, a civic organization, volunteer at a food bank. All of which I have done. Some in each organization know. Sometimes tough love is good. Thanks, Fred

Immarsh

Hi Fred, everyone has a story, and some people share it easily, and some don't. Some live through the tough times, and have supportive family and friends around them, and some don't. And some come through the surgery, ready to fight their way back to a "normalcy" that they don't always feel. The best part of this group is that we've all experienced the body change associated with having some kind of ostomy. For some, the transition was relatively easy, and for others, it was a "living nightmare". When people share their stories, they are vulnerable, and although you may have had good intentions (tough love/shake up someone/or try to be a realist), it didn't come across that way. There's a big difference between doing good works (volunteer) and revealing what one fears is their worst deficit to another person. I can't speak for others, but most members here bring an attitude of sincere care, acceptance, good advice, and friendship. "What you offered was a "kick in the butt", stop sniveling, and get a life." Where is your compassion for the struggle that some people go through learning to live with the memories and changes they've had to endure? Your response to Magoo's "reprimand" was equally upsetting and arrogant. Thanks Magoo for your support and kind common sense, and to Tif and others who are struggling with specific issues that others on this site do support and understand your journey. Even those of us who "thought" they had mastered living with the changes find that new and different challenges can pop up further along life's path. "Live and learn" doesn't put a time or date on what has to be accomplished when. Marsha

Past Member

Hi Marsha, thank you for your wise and kind words, Marsha. I have experienced that kind of offensive..."get on with it...get over yourself...just close your eyes and you'll get sleep'". As I said in another post, my surgeon once told a relative that I had no reason to be in pain, my surgeries were finished, etc., etc. I had chronic pain in lower belly and inside the butt for years. For this reason, I sometimes got the..."get over it" treatment. I could not share those horrible feelings, the pain, and the emotional scars that followed me for years. I get really pissed when people who should know better are so thoughtless in dealing with other people's feelings. If a person is seriously depressed, the last thing they need to hear is, "get over it" and pull yourself together.

I once experienced a shocking reality, being within arm's reach of a very desperate young woman at the worst possible moment in her short life. When my butt felt a bit better, I would head off on my mountain bike, across the Golden Gate Bridge and far into the Marin Headlands (where the beautiful beach with the waves crashing). It was a truly spectacular morning, typical Fall weather, 75-80 degrees (San Francisco real summer is from Sept to Christmas). I would leave around 6 AM and ride back over the GG around 9 AM. I was at the North Tower when I saw her, she was standing on the outside of the railing on the western side. Her hair was flying straight up in the air with the updraft created by the tower. I stood there for, I'm not sure, 15-20 minutes talking to her, trying to get her to talk to me, begging her to take my hand and we could go for coffee and a chat...nothing can be that bad...etc., etc.

I've wanted to write about the experience in depth but the short version. The bridge was totally empty that morning, Sunday I think, so the tourists were still in bed. A woman jogger approached and I told her to get the bridge patrol and Coast Guard, I wanted to watch and keep track of her if she jumped to guide the Coast Guard. The station is near the bridge and I could see them scrambling into the rescue boat. It's around 300 feet so survival would be unlikely, some have survived and as soon as they were healed after a miraculous recovery went right back and jumped again!!

As I reached out, I was afraid to grab her in case I might provoke her. I could have grabbed the big coat she wore, but she would have just slipped out of it.

She was standing straight and not making a sound. She turned a little, but I never did see her face. She suddenly let go of the painters railing and held her arms out like she was surrendering herself to whatever God she believed in??? Her arms straight out as if on the cross and balanced for maybe 30 seconds, and then she just lifted her feet off the rail and she was on her back looking up with her hair flying in the wind, her long coat flying in the wind. What struck me was the fact that she said nothing, never screamed or made a sound. As her body crashed into the freezing water, the Coast Guard Cutter just got to the Tower. She was floating and her arms were flailing a little, but hitting water at that speed is like hitting concrete. All her internal organs were severely damaged. She survived the night and the California Highway Patrol called me the next day. I just confirmed how she came to jump and told me she had just died in the hospital.

So Fred, sometimes all people need to do is moan and complain and cry about how shitty their life is at that moment, sometimes they just need to be heard and have their pain acknowledged, to have their existence validated. Tough love may be a technique that may sometimes help, but a sympathetic shoulder to cry on or a few kind words is a better way to show the person that they are not alone.

Eamon....Chill....

tiff041
Reply to Anonymous

Thank you so much for that story. It was the most heartfelt. It seems like you and Kitty were so lucky to have found one another. I am so sorry for your loss. I think I needed to hear that at just the right moment. Btw...way off topic but...Ireland is in my top 3 places I wish to see before I die. Ok back to it...thanks again for that amazing story.

tiff041
Reply to Anonymous

See..I knew I would eventually get a post telling me to "get over it" and quit being a baby, etc. I came here to voice my thoughts where hopefully people would understand. Luckily, I found two that really took the time to share their experiences (M M). I am normally not one to share those feelings..so I came here to express it. At least I know there are people who understand.

Fred - I also hear what you are saying. I don't need the tough love thing. But thanks for your viewpoint as well. But please understand..sometimes people need to do the "woe is me" thing. It doesn't mean all we are doing is bitching about life. It is called venting. Something that 98% of people do on here. So please..have some empathy for your fellow ostomate.

tiff041
Reply to Anonymous

Ok...that officially opened the tear gates. You sound like such a wonderful human being to try and help your fellow man (woman like that). It is so nice to know there are people out there willing to step out of their life and help someone who is in need. I am so sorry for what happened.

Sometimes all we need is a little kindness. It can go a very long way.

Immarsh
Reply to Anonymous

Hi Magoo/Eamon... I've been reading your posts for years, and although I've also posted, I never did (Like) anyone's post, and I'm sorry never to have reached out to you personally... just to say hi. When I found this site, I was a bit arrogant, thinking that after 40+ years of having an ostomy, I didn't really need support... Silly me.. I'm human.. And although I spent a lot of time in ostomy support groups (right after surgery) and I was married to a man who also had an ostomy, I found that I had other issues that the people on this site helped me deal with. I also found that helping others in need of support is one of the best ways of helping yourself.. When we moved from Brooklyn to our house here in NJ, I welcomed the anonymity that came with new friends and neighbors who didn't know me as "Lilly and Nat's daughter, Marsha, you know the one who was sick and now has an ostomy." Seriously folks.....that became my "name" and how I was introduced to others.. Being in a new place where no one knew my story was wonderful.....for a time.. Then when things happened....my husband or I had medical issues, I had this "big secret" buried in me... What felt so good at the beginning didn't feel so good anymore.. And so, I contacted some people, joined a group out here, and then tried to start up another more local ostomy group. That didn't happen, but it did begin to get me out of the new isolation closet I had made for myself. Not long after, I found this group, and I've touched the lives of ostomates....around the country and around the world. And when I flew off to visit my kids in Australia, I brought a suitcase full of ostomy supplies to give to the Queensland Ostomy group, who was sending the supplies off to Papua New Guinea.....where people with ostomies had no supplies or medical insurance with which to purchase them.. And that's how I met Janet....an ostomate herself, who started an ostomy association in PNG....and does all the volunteer work herself.....meeting with and fitting patients with the appropriate donated supplies... If you're on Facebook, look up the association and meet Janet Yaki..... Being a member here, supporting our members....volunteering my time to write to others, has enriched my life, and reading the stories of others puts my past in perspective... I'm not alone....you're not alone...we are a community that crosses state and country lines... I'm grateful to be here and to be a part of what we do... Marsha

tiff041
Reply to Immarsh

Could not have said it better. Thank you, Marsha.

Immarsh

This is an entirely different subject... but it's for Eamon (Magoo) Tif, and anyone else interested... Just to let you know Tif (Magoo) that Ireland is very much on my bucket list as well. But I'm well past the ability to do the regular on the bus/off the bus, day after day tours that are offered, and can't afford a private driver. I'd do one of the car rental/drive your own tours, but "I don't do THAT side of the Road" driving... So I had the bright idea, that maybe 40 of us could split the cost of the car tour, and have Eamon join us as a tour guide/driver (or we hire a driver... If more people are interested, we could arrange for a van. I'm fairly flexible... and would love to do a "modified" trip... not to be up all that early, and not to be on the road every day... Eamon, if you're going to go to Ireland in the summer (and COVID restrictions are lifted), would you be interested? We/I can repost this as a separate post, if anyone was really interested... Maybe Rits? and others... I know other people have arranged get-togethers within the country, and others have traveled abroad to meet up... With good plans, this could work out... Let me know what you think... Marsha

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