Embracing Life After Ostomy Surgery

Ostomate & woundr

I'm going to add a picture to this. It was taken two years after I had ostomy surgery. I had permanent ileostomy surgery and total colectomy over 12 years ago. I posted it on Facebook showing folks that an ostomy is not obvious, even in a swimsuit depending on the swimsuit. I got off of disability and resumed work as a wound ostomy nurse twice. I frequently tell my patients about many famous people who have had ostomies. The late John Wayne, George Clooney, and Fred Astaire just to name a few. I'll bet you never knew.

I loved surprising nurses who had known me for up to 2 years but never had a clue that I had an ostomy (I usually display mine briefly during teaching moments). And you should have seen the relief in the patients' faces who had first-time ostomies and saw me briefly expose mine. Their whole posture relaxed.

I'm sure a lot of you assume that it was easier because I was a trained ostomy nurse. No human being is prepared for having an ostomy. I spent two years bedridden and the physicians despaired of my life. But at some point, I had to decide to get busy living or get busy dying. I chose to live. Sometimes I still cry, sometimes I have bad days that seem like they are worse than anyone else, whether they have an ostomy or not. But I read something in a book that helped me decide. "You go on, you just go on. There's nothing more to it and there's no trick to make it easier, you just go on. And what do you find on the other side when you just go on? Your life again, what else?" I hope this helps. I would be happy to provide any resources I can, just send me a message.


Great attitude to have.

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Ostomate & woundr
Reply to AlexT

Thanks Alex. I don't know if you read my intro, but I was an ostomy nurse for 8 years before I got a permanent ileostomy in 2009. If there's any advice or help that I can give you, please feel free to message me back, private or general. I don't mind either way.


Morning, what a great post to start the day with; thank you x


Terrific post.  I'm sure it will help a lot of people.  

Staying Hydrated with an Ostomy with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Agree, it's always been my attitude. One life, live it. Never let a stoma rule your life. I would have been dead 30 years ago without mine.


The ostomy nurse in the hospital after my first two surgeries had an ostomy herself. It made all the difference to me as I entered uncharted, lonely waters. What a blessing you've been to your patients.

Charleston man

Having had my ileostomy for 13 years come this April, life is much better than having the UC. Life itself is a challenge with or without an ostomy. Having an ostomy is just another challenge in life. That's what makes life so exciting - taking on the challenges. As you plainly put it, get busy living or get busy dying, living is the much better option.


I love your attitude and I love my stoma.


Hola, ¿hay gente de España por aquí? Soy María, tengo 49 años y una ostomía desde hace 4 años.


You have a wonderful attitude. Welcome to our group, and I hope you stick around. Your knowledge and experience could be a huge benefit to many people on this site. Finding a good ostomy nurse isn't easy for everyone, and it seems that some have easier access than others. We all try to help each other with problems and challenges as they arise, but we are not professionals. You will find this is way more than a dating site for ostomates. Many of us are just here for the support, help, and camaraderie. Glad you found us!


Reply to María



Keep these in gringo, I can't follow along. Gracias.


There are a lot of people on this website that can use your suggestions!

Reply to AlexT

She is saying her name is Maria. A 49-year-old from Spain.

An ostomate for four years it seems.

Reply to María

Bienvenida, Maria!


I love your attitude. I feel like I'm a lot like you. I never hold back to anyone that I have an ileostomy. But surprising about the famous people that have an ostomy. Amazing Queen Elizabeth did!

Ostomate & woundr
Reply to eefyjig

No hablo bien el español pero entendí todo lo que escribiste. Gracias.

Past Member
Reply to Redondo

Queen Elizabeth II never had an ostomy.

However, there were rumors that her mother (The Queen Mother) who died in 2002 had one. In 1966, she underwent an operation to remove a tumor after she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Contrary to rumors which subsequently spread, she did not have a colostomy.

Ostomate & woundr

My apologies, my information must have come from a faulty source.

If you could provide me a reference for that, I would like to share it forward. I am not the only ostomy nurse who has made this claim.

However, I or my colleagues have taken care of many famous people who had their ostomies done in Southern California while I was practicing there.

Past Member

No apology needed, it's a common misconception. I think the misinformation comes from people (and Google!) being confused between the Queen and the Queen Mother (both called Elizabeth).

The rumours (back in the 1970s) were about the Queen's mother and never confirmed. My only reference is my own knowledge of the Royal Family and what was said and reported on at the time (which I trust more than a search engine) but I could be misinformed too, who knows!

Reply to Ostomate & woundr

So, could John Wayne, George Clooney, and Fred Astaire also be the result of "information ...from a faulty source" too?  What causes you to believe them to have had ostomies?  

Reply to HenryM

Yes, I questioned those three too. Especially George Clooney, as it's possible to Google pictures of him in swim trunks, and there is definitely no sign of an ostomy.


Ostomate & woundr


I'm given to understand with all of the publicity that there are people that believe it was not true and was a misinterpretation of something that he said. However, he has never publicly stated that he does not have an ostomy that I'm aware of. I think his silence speaks volumes. He may have had take-down surgery and may no longer have one. I am not sure as I do not live nor practice in the Los Angeles area any longer. I do not know of any nurse that would, in conscience, share that information of a living person without their permission at least.

So y'all want more references, I'll start a new discussion.


Love your attitude.

Ostomate & woundr
Reply to Redondo

I believe that Queen Elizabeth was, in fact, not an ostomate. The person that I got the information from was wrong. She was someone that I had a lot of respect for. She has passed away since, but I had no reason to doubt her. Apologies for the misinformation.



There is usually an immediate Bond a sense of commonplace with somebody sharing the same illness with you that I myself find incredible because you as a nurse who has an ostomy can relate to us as patients and a blessing to have somebody in the same boat with you rowing so you're a valuable asset to this website and the people I hope they don't take advantage of you and your knowledge but I truly believe you being here will help a lot of others understand the process of not only having ostomy  but living with one and the pros and cons so I thank you for being here and I hope you can contribute as much as you can because people are here definitely in need of it.

 also the fact that you go back and check your sources is  refreshing because some people don't bother even citing  a source and they just yada yada yada you know??  it's time for fact not fiction..

I welcome you aboard nice meeting you and I'm sure our paths will cross again Happy Holidays