Perspective: Finding Gratitude Amidst Struggles

Nov 02, 2023 10:22 pm

Hello again, Stoma Champs,

Usually during the week, I complain to my wife and coworkers about my peristomal hernia.

One of our relatives, age 55, is in the hospital. She is very beautiful and has had a charmed life. Feeling rundown a couple of months ago, she got a check-up. Stage 4 breast cancer spread everywhere. Oncologists are attempting chemo. She now weighs 80 pounds, lost all her hair, and is deathly sick. She has three boys and a husband. It does not look good.

So... I'm going to stop griping about a little bump. I've lived with stage 4 thyroid cancer since 1983. I have the charmed life.

Mysterious Mose
Nov 02, 2023 10:44 pm

I'm with you, Dan. I will never complain about anything related to my ostomy. It just is not fair to my family members and especially my wife as she stood by me in what she thought could be my deathbed. Nope. I'm one lucky son of a bitch and will say so to anyone that will listen.


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Create an account and you will be amazed by the warmth of this community.

Nov 03, 2023 8:13 am

Hello Beachboy.

I rarely 'complain' to my wife or family about anything stoma related because, if there is anything bothering me, I tend to use the information to compile a rhyme and that process enables me to clarify my thinking and document my feelings. Then I'll post it on this site because there are people on here who understand that we need to rant occasionally, and they are (generally) prepared to listen and respond appropriately. 
As far as ranting with my wife is concerned, the subjects of our mutual rants tend to be age related deterioration, which offer abundant opportunities to discuss things we have in common. This way, we are able to give each other mutual support, whereas with stoma stuff it would/might be a continuous one-way support system, which would probably become a burden for someone who has not had first-hand experience of stoma issues. 
However, every now and then, my wife makes a genuine enquiry about specific stoma related things and I can respond with a factual description of whatever it is , making sure that any negative  'feelings' are kept out of the conversation. This way, the conversations may be serious but at least they are light-hearted and don't impose any emotional burden on her, or any guilt response in me for having been such a potential burden.
For me, the 'unburdening' of feelings about stoma issues, is therefore confined to this site (and the stoma nurses when it seems overly serious).


Best wishes

ron in mich
Nov 03, 2023 1:42 pm

Hi all, if I do any complaining, it's to the dog when we are out walking, and she will look back at me as much to say, "Aren't you going to give me a treat for listening to your whining?" And so it goes, it's pointless to complain.

Nov 03, 2023 6:36 pm

All whining and complaining do is put your mind into a negative mode and bring you down further. There are lots of motivational speakers that people should listen to to lift their spirits, such as Matthew McConaughey, Denzel Washington, etc. Change your mindset and it'll change your life for the positive.



Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Nov 03, 2023 6:45 pm

Matthew McConaughey... Excellent in the movie "Contact."

Nov 05, 2023 4:04 pm

I think I have much to be grateful for, but go easy on yourself. We are only human after all, and our individual suffering is not irrelevant. Having said that, we can always see that there are others who are worse off. My husband has a muscular neuro disease and it is progressive. He doesn't complain much and usually has a positive attitude. I try to learn from him. Plus, I am avoiding saying the word "shit"! LOL!

Nov 06, 2023 4:20 am

We don't have to look far to find someone who puts our griping into perspective. I just sprouted a peristomal hernia myself; you're right, it is no picnic, but compared to other people's health issues, it is nothing. My heart goes out to your relative, and I hope she has the best doctors and care that are available.

Nov 06, 2023 5:13 am

Thank you, Mom.

Life is such a random "throw of the dice." I never dreamed I would end up with a stoma, develop stage 4 thyroid cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and yet remain very healthy. Nearly all my friends are dead or suffering from dementia. All had healthy lives until the end. Yet, here I am.

It's always later than we think.

Nov 06, 2023 11:59 am

Perspective is everything. I wrote a memoir titled Why Not Me? and the subtitle is The Power of Perspective. It starts when I'm 11 years old and get my ostomy.

Mindful gratitude makes it easier to adjust to life's continual new normals.

Sharing our stories matters; it is a great way to remember we are not alone and perspective matters. This platform is a perfect example of this!

Nov 06, 2023 12:49 pm

Well stated, Lins0808. "Mindful gratitude." I like that.

Nov 18, 2023 7:08 pm

Yes, 'Mindful Gratitude' puts all in perspective and helps lift the most difficult moments ...

Still learning, for most of us have a way to go at times ... but being mindful and cultivating gratitude is in fact a rewarding and expansive sharing perspective.

Best wishes to all




Did you begin a journal as an eleven-year-old [perhaps encouraged to do so by your family], or did you write 'Why Me' [which is usually our first response to something traumatic / outside our comfort zone or a happening of an incredulous nature ..... And then, over time as we begin to process our happening, grow into an understanding, come to terms by way of research, sharing and actually living through and forward, we gain a more rounded perspective... subsequently to the event.

Linds, have you published your writings?

One thing I personally value about this site is the ability to respond to postings and thereby actually adopt a 'mindful' perspective as one has empathy with what is being interchanged.


Naturally, I am a very private person when it comes to personal stuff, but, because this community resource does have a baseline of commonality, one's mindfulness in not either burdening others or circular thinking oneself and the mind is channeled whereby, whatever our offerings - be they positive, reflective, informative, and carefully expressed, potentially help others and one feels the 'difference' within our own personal circumstances is no longer 'isolating' - but may be a little more 'open' .....

Such a valuable feeling, when some of us have been brought up to have a 'stiff upper lip' and in some cases are very reticent in expressing our feelings when deeper emotions are close to home.

Without exception, every contributor adds something to my own learning and enriches my understanding of humanity.

Personally, I have come a long way since the sixteen-year-old within the consultant's room, with my parents, when after having heard the delivered words of 'incurable disease' and 'six months' ... in those 'bad old days' I just 'turned off and retreated into a personal space where, actually I learned to cope - but without the emotional support, that today is 'touchable' and folk are far more 'mindful' what they say and try to express stuff kindly.


To BeachBoy, who highlights the very issue of some of us remaining when many whom we have known have passed - by your sharing you encourage us to indeed have a perspective which is broad and inclusive - best wishes for your own inner circle and thoughts are sent for those whom you support: Thank you for sharing.


We all have so much to give - and we all can be the richer for receiving with grace what others are able to gift.

In gratitude,


Nov 25, 2023 10:53 pm

My 83-year-old father has endured so much in his life. Married 60 years, and when my mom died, his whole world was turned upside down. Despite that, and despite the many health challenges he is facing, he gets up every day, always trying to move forward. He is my hero.

Complaining about my situation seems to be a waste of mental energy. Do I like it? Nope. Am I happy to no longer be experiencing the constant pain I have been in the last 6 months? Absolutely.

Since my surgery, I have spent many hours thinking and writing. I am alive. I have 4 beautiful grandchildren and 2 amazing sons. This bag on my body does not define me or change the person I am. I am working on reminding myself of that every day.

I hope your relative is resting pain-free. My heart goes out to you, her husband, and kids.