Confidence and self-esteem .... gone


Hi group!!!

I'm a single woman, I have been pretty self confident until "this" happened, I have a colostomy and huge abdominal scar, and I am not adjusting to it, surgery was June 2023....I'm hoping it gets better as time passes, but I'm not feeling much better emotionally. I'm guessing these feelings are common with these surgeries, yes, I try to be positive about it,  but it's very  hard. Nobody I deal with in my daily life has had any surgeries such as these, so as much as they try, very hard for them to understand what I'm going through....

Don't want to sound like a "Debbie Downer" and I apologize if I do....

Any suggestions, thoughts? 

Thanks for reading....



Dear Sue,

You are in the right place to get help, the people here are very kind and understanding. Now, just wait for the good vibes to come thru. 😸You are FAR from a Debbie downer! You've had major surgery, and from what I've read, and what happened with me, they don't tell you much when you leave the hospital.  My cats and dog have never pointed and laughed at the huge scar I got. Now I look like bride of Frankenstein.  But my cats and dog still love me. Especially when I feed them😸

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First off, this is a pretty cool site with 33,419 members. Get inside and you will see.

It's not all about ostomy. Everything is being discussed.

Many come here for advice or to give advice 🗣, others have found good friends 🤗, and there are also those who have found love 💓. Most of all, people are honest and truly care.

Privacy is very important - the website has many features that are only visible to members.

Create an account and you will be amazed.


Sue, Without the surgery that you had you may not be here with us today so think of it is a blessing because life goes on. Originally I had a ileostomy And I was supposed to be put back together. I had rectal cancer, and the surgeon had left a little bit of my rectum to reattach my colon and my intestines, however cancer came back at the surgical incision and I was unable to be put back together, and I feel blessed that I wasn’t because I don’t know how well I would’ve done if I would have to wear diapers for the rest of my life because I couldn’t hold my Poop. So I claim it and now they put my little intestines back together again closed up ileostomy, and now I have a colostomy. I claim it I own it and it’s mine, and without it, there would be no quality of life. Yes, I have Scars that look like railroad tracks and they’ll lighten up not feel is firm and everything will be OK and I treat my colostomy like my best friend although no I’m not named it. I’m not gonna the best thing I’m gonna do is claim that it’s mine because there was one point of my life That I thought if I can’t be put back together again, I’d rather die for me. Well guess what that was a lie because I have so much to live for and so do you and maybe no one can relate but you got a whole site here of people who can relate to the good the bad , the medical supplies everything someone in here can help and if not, they’ll direct you to who they might be able to help you so you’re not a Debbie downer and welcome to our group. It’s a pleasure to have you. 


Yo Repo (love that name),

  We've all been where you're at now..........and sympathize.  It's a process that you can't just have to go thru it like everyone else.  It's overwhelming in the beginning and seems impossible to rationalize.........but you will.  Then you go thru the adjustment phase followed by the acceptance phase, then the 'shit, this ain't so bad' phase and finally the 'ok, this is the new out world, here I come" phase.  So don't fret too much, the good folks on here will get you thru it all and you can feed off everyone's experiences as they went down the same path.  Then before you know it you'll be one of the senior folks on here giving everyone else advice.  Just don't try to rush'll have good days and bad..........the important thing is that you keep moving forward, no matter the pace.  It does get better!  So welcome aboard and hold on's gonna be one hell of a wild ride!



So you have a scar and a bag, are you a different person now? Yep, the healing process sucks but once that’s complete, you either open your mind up and get to living or let this set back take over your mind/life. I know it’s winter but the worst thing any of us can do is sit around and let our minds take over the emotions. Get up and get back to YOU, whatever that was pre ostomy. 

How to Manage Emotions with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Hey, Sue. I totally get what your saying. I was the same way for a long time. But when I was dating/talking to a gal, and once we got around to the point of sleeping together, I was up front and addressed any concern they might have had. BUT to my surprise, the gals took it in stride and had no concerns. I'd usually leave a tshirt on because I felt more comfortable that way. I just made sure I had on a clean bag before getting 'down to business'. Lol. I know it's easier said than done though! 


Hello repogirl2.
Welcome to this site and I'm so glad that you have already had a few useful replies which have portrayed most of what I might have said.
You are quite right when you say that these feelings are common after major surgeries. However, it sounds as if you are already thinking through this logically and managing your emotions as well as can be expected for the time-frame. 
I found that it was quite helpful to read through some of the past posts on here covering those things that were concerning me at the time. These can be found in the 'COLLECTIONS' section at the top of the page. 
As for the scars: The physical ones will heal and fade (a bit). The most important ones are the emotional scars which need to be managed and healed, because if they are left to grow, they can be much more dangerous than the physical stuff (This healing takes time, effort and patience).
I look forward to hearing about your progress
Best wishes


Hello Sue,

Welcome.  This is the place that will help you figure it all out.  Imagine, people with ostomies, from all over the USA and the world, sharing their experience.  

I'm now at 1year post op.  Reading some of my old posts on this web site, I can see how far I've progressed from my dark days after leaving the hospital.  Like w30bob posted, you go through stages.

It's very hard at first.  Recovering from surgery.  Looking at this thing poking out of your stomach.  Learning about ostomy products.  I remember looking at a catalog of ostomy supplies and was baffled.  What the hell is all this stuff?  How and why would you use it? a question on this web site, about anything, and someone in our ostomy world will give you an experienced answer. 

We all had surgery, returned home.  Had an ostomy nurse give us basic instruction about wafers and pouches.  Taking em off, putting em on.  And that was it.  But there's so much more to it.  And that is what you'll learn here.

My time in the hospital was hard.  Had excellent doctors, nurses and the best care.  And yet everyday that passed... I was going down and no one could figure out why.

And just when I figured I was toast...exploratory surgery and and a colostomy saved me.

I still can't talk about my ostomy medical adventure, get very emotional.  I've spoke about it generally.... but cannot get into the details.  Even as I'm writing this... I'm feeling it.  Not sure I'll ever get over it.  And maybe that's a good thing. 

When I look down and see the bag hanging from my's good.  Saved my life.  

Give yourself time.  My surgical scar and stomach looked like hell at first.  A year later... looks OK.  Just a thin red line and a misplaced belly button.

You'll get there.

Take care,






You are no 'Debbie Downer'. Everyone goes through those negative feelings. Brave words and other words of consolation can appear trite to someone in that situation. So, I offer French words favoured by diplomats and military strategists: 'Fait Accompli'. They describe something that has already happened and there is no other option but to accept it. No point flailing at a fait accompli! For those who think that life is a spinning wheel, there is the cry of the croupier at roulette : 'faites vos jeux', (place your bets). All the best wishes.


Take it 1 step at a time. I don't judge anyone we're all unique and learn to live with then further on accept our stoma s in our own time some take longer than others thats ok we all do it in our own time.

Your family and friends probably understand more than you think  and can see your hurting inside there just afraid of saying anything thinking they will upset you.

Try getting our more and weekends away when you can all helps to build your confidence back up.

I always believe talking is the best therapy I know it can be easier at times to talk to someone you don't know and can't see if that's right for you post away as much as you want on here we're always here to listen.


Give yourself time to adjust to the 'new you'. {{{Hugs}}}


As others have said, we are all on a journey to a new normal. Having “down” days is perfectly normal. I am now 2 months post colostomy + Ken butt surgery due to rectal cancer. Even though I know the surgery has helped to save my life from cancer (I still have cancer in my lungs though), it is still tough. I have good days and bad ones emotionally. I am going to therapy to help get through things and that seems to be helping some as well.

Good luck and best wishes. Know that you are not alone and what you are experiencing is perfectly normal. Give yourself time and permission to feel what you feel. It does get better.


Past Member

Hi folks

My first post here  . I have been a stoma patient 7+years . I'm getting emotional reading the posts . It has been a rough ride. Making friends with the bag helped . It saved my life and for that I need to be grateful and that takes time and work . It took me thi along to reach out to others.

Looking forward to checking in on you people. 

Reply to Anonymous

Fred..........don't be a stranger.  The more people that contribute to this forum the better it gets.  We need you as much as you need us!  Looking forward to hearing more from you in the future!!  And everyone else who hasn't jumped into the water yet.  It's warm and not very'll do great.  Thanks for posting!!


Past Member
Reply to w30bob

Thanks for reaching out

Much appreciated

I have an appointment with my surgeon next Tuesday to  discuss the reversal and I guess that's what brought me here . I am used to life with this now and it feels vain and a bit foolish to interfere with what is now. A stable and normal ISH life .  I guess there is comfort in knowing im not the only one



Reply to Anonymous

Hi Fred,

Good to read your first post.   Wow, 7 years.   You have experienced it all, having an ostomy.  It is tough.  I'm just now getting comfortable with the bulge protruding under my shirt. 

Keep us posted on your progress.  Your experience will inform and help everyone here.


I am always amazed at the range of wisdom and gravitas from this crowd.  Thank you all for posting, for the lovingkindness and camaraderie.  And the laughter....I'm sitting at the kitchen table laughing aloud while my adult child contemplates a lemon tree that needs repotting.  

Two people from my local support group recently enrolled in hospice (bad metastatic disease, worsening pain control) so conversations about medical aid in dying are swirling around me.  As a health care provider and consumer, I am endlessly cheered by fellow humans, but largely the ones I met through having surgery five years ago.  Like you, if you are reading this today.

Peace on all of our houses, and indeed, may one's intimate aspiration ever inspire as we try to live each day fully.  No matter the form; there is so much marketing about what makes for a meaningful connection, enduring hetero-normative 'true love' and soul mate is a wonder it ever works out, however transiently or enduring.   Be of good cheer.  We woke up on this side of the ground.   Always love, Lee Ann


Thanks Lee Ann !


1) You're from Chicago so you already have that going for you 2) If you want to compare scars or find someone with more than you, you came to the right place... we all have stories to tell from our scars 3) You don't have to feel grateful for "it" (ostomy/scars), it's ok to be however you're feeling about it today. I heard someone say if they couldn't be thankful for xyz at this present time they found something they could be thankful for.  On the days I can't go back in time and tell that Dr in Chicago he diagnosed me wrong and if he would treat me with immunotherapy we could probably save my colon, I find something else to be thankful about ;) 

Reply to Itsme58

Thank you!!! The understanding from all you wonderful people is so helpful already....


Repogirl2 ….

I believe most who have a stoma have gone through this phase (as w30bob has pointed out) - I know I did.  This site made all the difference in my “downer” days which I refer to now as my stomacidal days.  Welcome to MAO.  Going forward I hope it will be as helpful to you as it has been for me - it has been a game-changer.

hugs, jb

Reply to kittybou


Thank you for the words of wisdom, I do appreciate then, they are very important. 

I have many days I call myself a "monster"... 

It's when I really think about it, plus other things that have happened before surgery etc....

Perhaps sharing and talking about this and definitely laughing about it, will make a huge difference... 

My dogs don't care about any of it either, as you said,  as long as we feed them, they like us....

Thank you and look forward to more conversations!




Reply to Anonymous


I would at the very least explore the reversal option, again,  more of the "unknown"....that's one of the things that bothers me the most,  the unknown and the lack of direction provided by the Drs...they do the best they can to explain all of this, but we all take in information in different ways and react differently, this is a situation that affects every aspect of one's life, all levels....that's my opinion anyway. 


I guess it really is one day at a time....


Don't worry you will work things out just don't pressure yourself.

I've accepted self esteem and confidence were friends I lost long ago


Sorry I am a little late on your post. Just wanted to say welcome to the site and you have a great bunch of people who will give honest and best of all first hand experiences of you a wealth of topics relating to ostomies/ and lots of other things. XX 

Reply to Justbreathe

Most my moments that I experienced or alone alone in the hospital alone at home, But that’s what makes me stronger, honest in here reading everyone’s experiences helps me the most. Thank you thank you to everyone.

Reply to repogirl2

G-Day Sue,  You hit the nail right on the head when you said "One day at a time"  I did have a reversal but got rid of it after 18 years because of on going problems and now with my Stoma, life is perfect again. You will get used to it, One Day At A Time.  Regards IGGIE


Hi and welcome to the site. 
you are not alone. I’ve been going through some therapy due to anxiety related to my surgery in November. I also decided to start on meds to help. Talking to someone has helped. I also spend a lot of time in prayer and reading my Bible. It is what has been helping me get through this tough time. 
take care, rhonda 

Reply to CrappyColon

Well Done You!




Hey Sue, 

Im sorry, it's a shock even when you expect it but you need to know that you are beautiful just as you are scars and all.  You are a fighter and a survivor and each scar proves that to you and anyone who see them. I'm proud of mine and I could be a body double for Frankensteins bride after 3 major abdominal surgeries lol. If someone loves you it wont be a deterrent because they love you and it is a part of you. I became an Ostomate 06/01/2021. It took me 2.5 years to really appreciate my body with or without my colon. I'm kinder now and waste less time but otherwise I'm still exactly who I was before my ostomy. In fact I wouldnt go back if I had the chance. I'm pain free for the 1st time in my life! I still talk to a counsellor but the people on this site know 1st hand how you feel, they dont have to guess or just empathize. They are funny, poetic, sarcastic, optimistic and positive people who share how they thrive instead of just survive. I'm positive you can have everything you want for yourself if you heal 1st and that just takes time. Best wishes.