Jun 01, 2016 5:18 am

Pre-stoma days I’d the impression
there was no way I’d get depression.
For I was looking forward to
a new and painless way to poo.

After suffering all those years
so often coming close to tears.
The prospect of relief from pain
gave me belief in life again.

I thought I ought to be prepared
and not get caught a little scared.
I did not know the seeds of doubt
might grow in me and then sprout out.

But after they had nicely hid
that’s precisely what they did.
They must have stayed and laid in wait
in some sort of dormant state.

That was until I had the op.
because it’s then it would not stop.
Depression filled my battered brain
when once instilled by hurt and strain.

I could not cope with what I’d lost
and did not count emotional cost.
I had a sort of disbelief
at being caught in all that grief.

I’m sure it was when colon went
and all my energy was spent.
That’s when my depression started
at the time my colon parted.

But over time I have adjusted
in my stoma I have trusted.
So now I’ve had it quite a while
sometimes I might be seen to smile.

B. Withers 2013

Jun 02, 2016 1:20 am

Well said, Bill. Adjustment and adaptation are keys to survival. Before my surgery, I lived from one toilet to the next thanks to my ulcerative colitis. I felt like Tarzan swinging from one tree to the next, hoping to catch the next vine anywhere. Now, I can play 18 holes of golf without giving the portapotties a single look. To those folks who lament getting a bag, all I can say from my experience is, "Oh, what a relief it is!"

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Jun 02, 2016 5:31 am
Hello PB. Thanks for the comment.
What a relief indeed. I used to be incontinent of faeces, in terrible pain and had to wear an anal plug, which would suddenly fall out while I was walking along. You can imagine the mess! It was suggested that I have wheelchair because sitting down kept the plug in place. I opted for a bicycle instead and got letters from the social services and police to say that the bike was a 'mobility aid'. (equivalent to a wheelchair) this meant that I could ride on the pavements and around shops and straight into the toilets. I was stopped once or twice in shops but the letters did the trick. None of this stopped the pain so I opted for a stoma and the pain largely went away along with all the 'inconvenience'. Obviously I would love to be back to being free of all that stuff but I would not want to go back to being incontinent with little or no control over it. Many people feel that their stoma is a negative life changer - but for me it has been a positive thing that has enabled me to live a much more 'normal' life.
Best wishes
Jun 04, 2016 3:36 am

Hi Bill, how can I relate to your poem. Like you, I had such pain and bouts of incontinence. I hated the urgency of needing to run to the bathroom at any given moment. I was very sad too because I never thought in a million years that I would have UC and need surgery. A coworker had UC and I never really understood the disease. I do now. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I sometimes look back and wish that things turned out differently but it is what it is. My stoma, that I named Stanley, does his job and keeps me healthy. I am grateful to be here today. Hope returned and my days brightened up once again. Thank you Bill for your very powerful words. Have a wonderful weekend. LH

Jun 04, 2016 5:42 am
Hello LadyHope. Thank you for your comments as they help in knowing that we are not alone either in our predicaments, or the ways in which we each deal with them, or even in the way that things cab turn out for us.
Supportive words from people like yourself also help in feeding back to the writer in me that there are people out there that actually appreciate the effort we put it to create this type of rhyming verse. Writing tends to be a solitary activity so it is encouraging to see the numbers of people that read each poem but it is even more encouraging to have people respond in the way that you and PB have.
Best wishes
How to Manage Emotions with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Jun 06, 2016 1:13 am

Thanks, Bill! Looking forward to your next poem. Take care! LH

Jun 06, 2016 5:30 am
Hello LadyHope. Thank you for your comment. There are some more in store but I don't like to post them all at once as then I'd run out and maybe have nothing more to say.
You take care as well
Best wishes
Past Member
Jun 25, 2016 3:54 am

I'm sorry. I know the depression part. I think we all can relate.

Jun 25, 2016 5:27 am
Hello Prettywoman. Thank you for your comment. Depression is certainly something that we can all suffer from at times, although not everyone will recognise it or call it by that label. Because it can be a lonely place to be it is sometimes comforting to know that depression can be a 'normal' reaction to some of life's unfortunate circumstances. It is also useful to have confirmation that people have it and recover, as it can feel like it is permanent when you are right in the depths of it.
Best wishes
Jun 26, 2016 2:59 pm

Hi, I'm Alice. I've had my ileostomy for 6 years now. It really caught me off guard! I went to the ER with back pain, and the next thing I was told was that I had abscesses in my colon and had to be taken care of first. So on June 23, 2010, I had surgery and woke up on a respirator, scared to death! Thankfully, I was breathing on my own, but I had to stay in the hospital for 2 1/2 weeks. Then I went to rehab for 29 days. I was scared. I was in a rehab/nursing home, and I was only 49. All I saw were these disabled elderly people. I cried for 3 days. Once I opened my mouth, that's all it took. I was bingoing with the best of them, wheeled around saying hi to the ones that were bedridden. What a difference it made in their lives and mine. But then problem #2 happened. Because I had a hysterectomy, my colon didn't have any support, creating an opening in the colon. Poop everywhere. I had a second surgery in October, and now I have an ileostomy. I'm doing well, but I live in fear daily because I can't do it alone. The doctor who did the surgery has left the group, and the one who took over feels uncomfortable doing surgery because of my weight. I lost 64 lbs. I can't or won't let him do my reversal. He sent me to a doctor to have stomach surgery. I was ready to do this, watching a movie and getting my hopes up. Yeah! Kill two birds with one stone. But the movie showed where they would go in, and I realized that where my stoma is, it's broken. So I'm still hooked. But I hate it because I can't change it on my own. If something happens to my hubby, what would I do without him? It's a daily worry. Otherwise, I try to laugh about it. Lord knows I've cried a bucket of tears. Sorry it's so long. Six years built-up, he-he! Have a blessed life! :-)

Jun 26, 2016 4:03 pm
Hello Alice. Thank you for your comment and for sharing your story. It sounds horrendous. However, you do mention your husband who sounds supportive. Is your worry about him not being around based on any sense of reality that it might happen or is it just the sort of irrational emotional anxiety that we all seem to get when things start to go wrong? If it is the latter, then perhaps some anxiety management might help. It sounds as if you have enough to worry about without adding to the pressure unnecessarily.
I hope things work out for you sooner rather than later.
Best wishes
Jun 27, 2016 8:23 pm

Hi Bill, thanks for getting back to me. I really don't mean to be a worrywart. But I do, hubby is very supportive. I worry about him because he has heart problems. When we moved up here, we were going to live off the land, take part-time jobs, and just chill. But we got here in April 06, and by August 06 I was in the hospital with CHF, COPD, and on oxygen. Then his heart went out, also back surgery. We just fell apart when we moved up here, no insurance as well. My life before was okay, got to go shopping, get nails done, and working, had a life. All was gone in a heartbeat. I used to cry every day, asking why? I have a sister that lives on one side of me and a brother that lives on the other, they just don't care unless life is about them. My life is better now that I've given up drinking 5 years ago and got back into church. The church family cares so much, I feel the love when I walk in. But I still worry about having to do this alone, having a crappy life until death. Hope I didn't bore you. Thanks for reading, it felt great to write it down. Have a blessed day! ?

Jun 28, 2016 5:07 am
Hello Alice. Thanks for explaining your situation a little more as it helps me understand that your anxiety is based on situational reality. Your response to this is 'normal' in that most people would react in such a way if they were faced with similar circumstances.
Although there are some notable exceptions, biological families are very often not the best support systems either emotionally or practically. Church communities however, are noted for their 'good work',their generosity of time and effort to help people in their times of need and their caring attitudes. It is good that you have found a substitute family in the church and hopefully you will come to feel that you are not entirely alone with your problems.
Feeling that you are likely to have a crappy life until death is a wholly different concept, which needs a lot more consideration than the brief exchange of words we are able to have on a site like this. Many people on this site have expressed their view that the key to managing a 'crappy life' is retaining a positive attitude during those times that are anything but positive. I too believe that maintaining the right attitude is fundamental to avoiding the depressive circumstances of life turning into a depression of the mind.
If you have found friendship and love within your church, then you are not entirely alone and you certainly are not alone when you come onto this site. I hope you are able to use us all in a positive way to manage the unmanageable and maybe give hope and inspiration to others who feel like you do when things like this go wrong in their lives.
Your post did not bore me in any way but reading that you felt good about writing it down, it did make me feel the need to encourage you to share your feelings even more in future. We are here to listen and respond in the best way we know. Most of us have been through tough times and many of us are still struggling with the practical and emotional stresses that accompany the crap in our lives. Please keep us informed about how you feel and we will try to help as best we can online. If you do the same within your church group, I'm sure they will be able to help you face to face, even if they have not suffered in exactly the same way as you and your husband have.
Best wishes to you both
Jun 28, 2016 4:21 pm

Hi Alice. Apart from family, friends, and positive attitudes, there are a few things that help me deal with depressive moods. One of them is soaking up a little sunlight, even if only for 10 minutes a day. Another is achieving a simple objective or two that I set for myself. A sense of efficacy goes a long way in responding to stress. When I read your posts, I noticed that your life was once okay and you described that feeling as getting things done (e.g., shopping and nails). I was therefore wondering why you are unable to change your bag on your own. Could you possibly benefit from the assistance of a stoma nurse along with the help of an occupational therapist in achieving the ability to handle this essential activity on your own? Just thinking. Good luck.

Jun 29, 2016 5:35 am
Hello PB. Thanks for joining this discussion. I am so envious that you get 10 minutes of sunshine each day. It feels as if it's rained here all year.
I agree with you entirely that it is good to have some objectives, if for no other reason than to provide a realistic distraction from thinking about our condition. Obviously I use writing as a distraction but I also hold down three part time jobs. One provides the motivation to get up in the mornings, the second provides a reason to help others who are worse off than I am and the third allows me to do something worthwhile in the countryside on my own. Sometimes the work is demanding and tiring but it is the sort of tiredness that is easily overcome by a short rest. In the past,I have found that if my time is not constructively occupied, I can become inward looking and melancholic. Keeping busy doing something that seems useful is a great distraction.
I was not sure about one aspect of your post to Alice - about being unable to change her bag. I had read what she said about 'I can't change it on my own' as referring to her situation generally and not necessarily to do with the practicalities of changing bags. Maybe I'm wrong in my interpretation and perhaps Alice would enlighten us so that we can try to help her in whatever way she needs.
It is always difficult with communication of any sort, to get a message across in precisely the way that you intended. I am often having to revisit stuff that I have written because a reader will have interpreted it slightly differently to how I had intended when I wrote it. However, I consider that to be a good thing because it encourages an exchange of conversation rather than having it all just going one way.
Best wishes
Jun 29, 2016 12:55 pm

Hi Bill and PB, thank you guys for the advice. I do sound pathetic, omg! I have a hard time changing the bag because of the location and my big tummy, what can I say, I'm a BBW. Located where my bellybutton used to be, on the right side, maybe a little bit lower. Seems like it is constantly releasing something. We have managed to keep the wafer on for a week. I don't shower but one time a week, bathe off every day though. The day I change it, I call it Triple D day, (diaper duty day), see I do have a sense of humor about it. It used to bother me a little about being close to my hubby somewhat, but hubby's heart went out first, he can't even take the little blue pill. So I told him that this must be God's plan for me, so I won't cheat on him, lol! I bet you guys think I'm crazy, he-he! Don't worry I'm not quite there yet. It's just if something happens to him I'm not sure if I can do it. As far as my church family, they don't know. I had this before I started going there. Three close friends I've told, but not pastor or everyone else. My friend Judie says I have a pretty good attitude about it, might as well laugh about it, I save the crying for my pillow if I have a bad day. Since I sleep alone no problem. Like today is DDD, going to color my hair, that's going to make me feel better. Family reunion in two weeks anyway, gotta look my best. Well I'm going for now, y'all have a blessed day, or a great 4th if I don't hear from y'all. C-ya! Smooches!!

Jun 30, 2016 5:40 am
Hello Alice. Thanks for coming back to us and clarifying the situation regarding changing the bag. If your family and none of your support group at the church know about your problems then it looks as if you are stuck with us to try to be supportive. I only hope that we are up to the task. Mind you! judging by your replies and what you are doing for yourself, it sounds very much as if you are coping remarkably well under the circumstances. It is this positive will to get on with those little things in life that mean so much that provides inspiration to others. So, what colour is your hair going to be for the reunion?
I hope it all goes well for you and I'm sure you will look your best for the occasion.
Best wishes
Jul 02, 2016 3:20 am

Hi Bill, how are you doing! Hope you're getting some sunshine where you are. Too hot here for sure. One of you guys had mentioned a stoma nurse to help me, well, a little over a year ago, hubby had back surgery and we got a home health nurse to come in to help me change the bag. She's been here before when I've come home from the hospital a time or two. Well, she came the day before the surgery so we could show her how we do it. Hubby comes home from the hospital, the day after was time for a change, she messed up big time. By that evening it was loose, I was so upset. Hubby had to sit up and help me redo it. I wanted to scream. We didn't let her change it after that. Thankful hubby was okay. I thought about getting a big mirror and sitting on the toilet to try. Give me peace of mind. My hair is fabulous, he-he! It's burgundy, like a fine wine, you know, better with age. Or so I thought, I didn't think my life would be this dull at my age, but with my disability check, omg! After bills, where did it go? I used to love dancing, music, and being playful. Now I'm an old prude, lol! But I try to keep up with friends on FB, but they all have grandchildren. I have none. My son and wife don't want children. My loss, but the way the world is, you can't blame them. I better go for now. Have a blessed weekend! Hope it wasn't too boring, like I said, 6 years built-up. Smooches!

Jul 02, 2016 7:04 am
Hello Alice. I'm fine- thanks for asking but there is very little sunshine in the UK at the moment. It is one of the worst summers so far and the usual seasonal flowers are being battered by the wind and rain so much that it all looks a bit bedraggled. Hopefully it will pick up again once the rain has stopped.
It's a shame that the nurse messed up for you, it sounds as if she was not a specialist in stomas. The nurses I see are very knowledgeable and are open to learning more every time I go to see them. Interestingly, I only expect to see one nurse but invariably another comes in to have a chat and a laugh over the things that I have experimented with since the last visit. We are all on a learning path and unless these people have constructive feedback from the likes of us who have first hand experience, then they will not learn as much or as fast.
I think the idea of using a mirror is great, after all that's what they were designed for.
I always cut my own hair and at first I tried using mirrors to try to see the back. It did not work but then I set up a video camera and watched what was happening on a TV screen in front of me. That worked much better and after a while I could see what was needed and visualised it without the camera. I now manage to do it by imagining what is happening and have a 'feel' for doing it blind. When I'm finished I check it in the two mirrors.
Burgundy sounds like a great statement of confidence and I hope that life isn't too dull for you as you are still a young woman from my perspective. There are so many things to do and explore as we get older and can no longer physically do what we used to. Just a year or so ago I started to read books and decided to give it a go at writing a novel myself. (Before that I only used to write in rhyming verse)I am now on my second novel written in prose and I can honestly say that it is all down to having a stoma. I sit on the loo for a couple of hours each night and instead of feeling resentful about the waste of time, I am busy typing out my novels on my laptop. The time flies by and when I am finished waiting for the stoma to do its stuff I have usually written a page or two. My theory is that if I can average a page a day I would have a reasonable sized book by the end of a year.(365pages)
I think your son and daughter-in-law have a very valid point about bringing children into a world that has so much uncertainty. One of my daughters has decided that way for herself. The other one has had two children so we do have the dubious pleasure of grandchildren. I'm hoping they grow up quickly so that they lose the irritating bits of childhood and can hold sensible conversations instead of screaming and shouting about anything and everything that frustrates them.
Just so that you know, I don't find your posts at all boring so keep them coming.
I Hope you can get things to run more smoothly for yourself with the changing and have a good weekend
Best wishes
Jul 02, 2016 12:02 pm

Hi PB, how's it going today? Are you ready for fireworks, he-he! Hope you have a great 4th. We're going to grill out with some friends, sit around and just bs all day, lol! As I told Bill, the nurse that had come in when hubby had back surgery, didn't know her booty from a hole in the ground. We even showed her how we done it, being I've had the bag for 4 years, we knew how to do it. But she had to do it her way, which by that evening, it was leaking. I was furious! Another problem I have is sleeping or the lack of. Ever since my surgery in 2010, I can't sleep all night, I wake every 2 or 3 hours, which the first thing I do is feel my bag, always have to get up and go potty. So I'm sitting there half asleep. I stay tired every day. Dr. gave me some Ambien, that didn't work either. I guess I was afraid I'd wake up in poop, that's not good. It's been awhile since that has happened, thank God. Just curious if anyone goes through the same thing. Have a blessed 4th, enjoy the fireworks! SMOOCHES! ALICE!!!! :-)

Jul 03, 2016 1:46 am

Hi Alice. I hope you have a great 4th of July too. Beautiful weather here in Jersey. I usually wake up maybe once or sometimes twice a night now. It used to be more, but I have learned to work with my stoma. I don't eat much late in the evening so my stoma will remain pretty quiet. In fact, whenever I eat, my stoma starts working, keeps busy for about 90 minutes, and then stays quiet for hours. So, I have come to appreciate waking up once or twice during the night just to check the bag and take pre-emptive action. Knowing your stoma's patterns is important. I won't drive any distance, for example, or go shopping right after eating. I also know the best times to change the bag without incident. As long as you try to fall asleep fearing a leak, any amount of Ambien won't help. Know your stoma, and you can say goodbye to those nasty surprise fireworks. Good luck!

Jul 06, 2016 5:27 am
Hello to all you new people who have read this rhyme on depression and have either enjoyed it or got something else from it. Just to remind you all that I posted another rhyme entitled 'DEPRESSED' on July27th.2013
So if you liked reading this one, you might also like to scroll back to 2013 and take a look at the previous blog.
Jul 06, 2016 3:58 pm

Hi Bill and PB, how are y'all doing? I had an awesome 4th, hope y'all did too. It really turned out better than what I thought. My friends stayed awhile, it was tiresome but fun. Great friends, great food, great dessert, what more can you ask for? Then I took myself a great nap, lol! Now rest up for the family reunion, now it could be a little boring, lol! You know how some family can be, hehe! I tire out easily since I get up so much during the night. A girl needs her beauty sleep, then makeup, I do, lol! Otherwise just call me funny face. Bill, you're so good with the poems. You should write a book of them. PB, what's your thing to do? Hope to hear from y'all and tell me about your wild or wacky 4th. Have a blessed day! Smooches!

Jul 06, 2016 6:50 pm
Hello Alice. Thanks for sharing your 4th July celebrations and I'm pleased it all went well for you.
Once upon a yester-year I used to take groups of young people to Paris for their 4th July fireworks display on Bastille Day in the hope that they would learn about ordinary people rebelling and winning against the oppressive regimes of monarchy, colonisation and legal frameworks that are designed to put and keep those ordinary people in a class ridden system that by and large only benefits the rich and powerful. -- So, at least they enjoyed the fireworks!
As for the rhyming verses. I really did not think that there would be so many to put in a book, so after I had written about 30+ I decided I'd publish a booklet. Then they kept coming to me so I published another booklet and another. It was at that point that I thought it was time I combined the lot and the final book was called 'My Ostomy World -Trilogy'. I've been gradually publishing all the verses in my Meetanostomate blog and there are still a few to go from book 3. so if you're patient you will get to read most of them. Also, if you are interested, you could always trawl through past blogs and catch up on those I've already put on here. I haven't written any poetry at all for a while as I've been busy writing novels but the process of writing is much the same for me. Each night I need to spend an hour or more on the loo irrigating so I utilise the time in writing. This makes the tedious job much easier to manage psychologically as my mind is almost totally taken up with other things to do with the storylines.
Lovely to hear from you again
Best wishes
Jul 16, 2016 9:40 am

Hi Bill, on ya for irrigating. I infuse 500ml (1 pint) each morning. Cool blogs. Pete

Jul 17, 2016 8:25 am
Hello Pete.
Thanks for your comment. It's nice to hear from people who appreciate the blogs.
Best wishes