First Job Interview with My New Stoma

May 15, 2024 3:13 am

Just wanted to share my recent experience. I find myself looking for employment for the first time in twenty years, and I now have a new consideration... stoma noises in a quiet office.

After a series of four virtual interviews (during which my stoma was not completely quiet), the company flew me out for an on-site interview, as I'm a top contender for the position. I'm coming on week seven of having my colostomy, so I couldn't help but worry... The questions started rolling through my mind: Will I find myself making unfortunate noises in otherwise quiet moments? Should I tell them about it first, just in case? Will there be smells noticed by others? What should I do to prepare? Needless to say, the night before my interview didn't involve near as much actual sleeping as I'd hoped for.

The day before the interview, I carefully avoided food that commonly causes gas, ate moderately, and hydrated heavily. The morning of the interview, I ate very light and kept my coffee intake to a minimum. I arrived at the site, introduced myself at the front desk, and was met by the HR Director. She took me to a small conference room and told me that three individual interviews would happen over the next two hours.

For two hours I answered questions and asked questions. During that entire time, my stoma was quiet... not a peep. I was so thankful. I was on day two with my bag, and I only noticed the slightest odor a couple of times, almost unnoticeable. But I still wondered if I was the only one noticing.

All in all, it was a great experience for me. I've now been in a very precarious position, professionally speaking, and my stoma cooperated the whole time. I hope to hear soon that they selected me, but either way, I've got my first stoma-related stressed out situation behind me. If I have to keep up my search and interview elsewhere, I think I'll be able to sleep well the night before. 😉

May 15, 2024 6:56 am

Rodr... that's awesome! Glad to hear it worked out well... and good luck!


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May 15, 2024 9:21 am

Hi Rodr

Congratulations and good luck with your efforts. There should be no smell from your appliance; if there is, then you've got a leak. I do notice a lot of newcomers think they can smell something, including myself at the beginning, but it's just the imagination. That's one issue you can rid yourself of.

May 15, 2024 11:09 am
Reply to Axl

What is strange about that smell is that it seems only we can smell it on us. Recently, I had that whiff on me and as a 6-year ileo, I know about leaks and seeps and upon inspection of the bag area, nothing was found to be leaking.

I'm feeling either the filter (which we all know is useless) lets out an odor or the bag itself is somewhat porous.

Drives me nuts, that stink. I don't think mine has a leak though. Those extended C strips I use seal it up pretty well.

Damn that odor though.

Good friends tell me there is no odor. It's just me thinking it.


May 15, 2024 11:12 am

Hey Rodr24, that's great. Best of luck.

No fear.

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May 15, 2024 11:37 am
Reply to warrior

Yes, the filters, oh they are horrible. I go filterless. I leaked through the filter, so I went to no filter. Telling you, they need someone with an ostomy on the inside. Speaking of, I just ordered a sample of a new bag that came out. Hahahah, oh this filter is horrible. I don't even try it because they have put cuts on the top of the bag to make lie vents next to the filter. Umm, bad move people, can we say leakage!

May 15, 2024 12:34 pm

Good luck, Rod, hope you get the position. As for your smells, ditto to what others said: you would technically be the least smelly person in the office and are likely getting phantom smells (but a leak is also possible, so be careful). As for stoma sounds, I usually press my hand or fingers lightly against mine if I sense some noisy gas, and I've gotten better at predicting that over the years.

May 15, 2024 12:51 pm

Rodr24 - KUDOS to you… onward and upward! Good luck in your job search.

Regarding filters… I've said this before… I cannot imagine there is a filter in the world that can eliminate odor and filter stickers to cover them 🤔 Is this an oxymoron? Also, a tad of air in a bag helps the gravitational pull, thus eliminating pancaking… for those who may be “over-gaseous,” a quick trip to a stall may be required… easy for me to say as I am pretty much gasless, probably because I am an ileo'. Seems the ole' colon is the gas factory, and because mine is still intact, occasionally I will pass a little “fartsie” - in the old days this would not have been funny… today it makes me giggle! jb


May 15, 2024 1:39 pm

G-Day Rodr, Now you have got this one over you on your way. When you get the job, and you will, let the office know about your stoma and you would be surprised how they will want to know all about it and let them have a look at the bag if they want. Now ice broken, so get on with life. Regards, IGGIE

May 15, 2024 2:10 pm

Congrats, Rod, for being so brave! I can just imagine the many worrying thoughts running through your head ... but you aced it! Way to go!

Plus, even in the unlikely chance that you didn't get the position, your next job interviews will be a piece of cake!

Thanks for sharing your experience - a lot of very good tips for your fellow ostomates.



May 15, 2024 8:53 pm

That's great to hear! I also am consistently worried about noises and I've had my ileostomy for 19 years. Generally, if I feel like noises might be coming on, I'll casually put my hands over my "lap," conveniently placing them on top of the ostomy. Glad it stayed quiet for you. Typically, on a mostly empty stomach, it's any air intake that causes noises, so chewing gum, using a straw to drink, that kind of thing.

That being said, there's no reason to hide it. If you feel comfortable enough, just say something like, "Hey everyone, just a heads up, I have an ostomy so every once in a while you might hear a noise or two from my area." I generally make a joke out of it, but again, this is only if you're feeling comfortable enough.

As for the smell, I'm with the consensus on the filters. I use one, but I'm pretty sure they allow a small smell to sneak out here and there. They're essentially worthless the moment they get wet from any type of output, and how they haven't figured out an improvement on this is beyond me.

Good luck with everything!

May 15, 2024 8:58 pm

Way to go, Rod, and I hope you get the job! As others have said, the smell is in your mind. As long as you have a properly applied and secure appliance, there should be no smells escaping.


May 15, 2024 9:11 pm
Reply to Justbreathe

Hey JB, I find it interesting that you don't have much gas, as I also have an ileo and mine is a gas factory! I don't have my colon anymore, and when I did, I never experienced much gas, or at least any that I did have came out without much fanfare and never caused me discomfort. The opposite is true now. I have lots of gas, and it's very noisy, and I often will get pain when it's trapped in there and having trouble making its way out. My theory has been that the gas has little room to expand in my ileum, so it causes the pain, whereas when I had a colon, it had much more room, so it wasn't painful. I don't really understand how it works, but it seems odd as my diet now is exactly the same as pre-ostomy. Do you stay away from gas-causing foods? I do eat lots of stuff that causes gas, so I know I bring it on myself.


May 15, 2024 10:10 pm
Reply to TerryLT

This is very interesting… When my life was normal (no ostomy), I frequently suffered with trapped gas in my intestinal area. Today, with my ileo, I am amazed that I never seem to have that trapped painful gas in any part of my body—well, except my husband might comment I am full of hot air! Fortunately, it is only painful to him. 🤣🤣🤣 My diet is pretty much the same as my whole life diet. Milk (which I love) and still drink will puff up my bag a bit, but not where it is problematic. I rarely eat lettuce or corn anymore—the only real change in my diet. Oh yeah, and my daily “happy hour” with Captain Morgan and Diet Coke… mostly in consideration of my liver and kidneys. But I still imbibe from time to time. jb

May 16, 2024 12:13 am

Worried about noise… why, you can't control it. If it happens, just say why it did. Changing your whole lifestyle for a few hours is just letting the ostomy win. What happens when you go back to your normal routine and it starts blabbering in front of your new co-workers? You'll explain it, and you changed your lifestyle for no reason now.
If there is a smell coming from your appliance and you're not in the process of emptying, you have 2 reasons for the smell. 1) You have a leak, might be minor, but your setup is breached somewhere/somehow. Or, 2) you didn't clean the end of your bag well enough when you last emptied.

May 18, 2024 6:09 pm

Gas-X can work to reduce the noises.

May 19, 2024 6:56 am
Reply to bigal157910

Is that a fact? Gas X will reduce noise? You use it often?

May 19, 2024 9:52 am
Reply to warrior

And of course, everyone is different. I use a bag with a filter, and it's great. I also have no gas whatsoever. Go figure...

May 19, 2024 12:56 pm
Reply to Axl

It's been said the filters are useless and some have reported they leak. That sucks. You can always finger the area to smell leakage. I know that's disgusting, but if you get a whiff of an odor, you gotta sniff around.

I would prefer a vent cap. Instead of anything else, that vent is a good idea. Not only for purging but using it to add water to the thick output in the bag, surely moves things along.

I have been using water at the tail end, filling the bag up a bit. Close. Swish it around. And whoa! Easy output. Water... no oils... no lubricant. Water.

May 19, 2024 3:30 pm
Reply to warrior

I have been using a mix of the Brava product and olive oil, which keeps the bags clean and makes for an easy emptying process. I'll have to give the water method a shot and see how that works for me. Thanks for the idea.

May 20, 2024 1:10 am
Reply to Rodr24

Hope it helps. Plenty of free water... only thing I put in the bag is that M9, which is a proven odor killer for me.

Good luck, man. Experiment. Whatever works, just pass it along.