Finding Perspective: Overcoming Ostomy Stigma


About seven years ago, just about every aspect of my life was ostomy related. From the moment I was told an ostomy might be needed until some months down the road I existed as a person afflicted with a colostomy. I feared someone other than my immediate family might find out I had a bag. Ugh! What could be worse? Suppose it filled real fast when I was out with no place to hide and take care of myself. God forbid should it leak in church! Suppose I roll over on it in bed. I was a lesser creature, destined to a life of emotional anguish and physical routines different from most of the rest of the world. I felt like a freak. Then I found folks like you guys here, read your stuff, really “listened” to what you had to say and I began looking at things differently. We know perception is everything and I began to understand how good things were relative to what they could’ve been. So many folks had it so much worse than I did. That didn’t make my discomfort go away but it exposed how fortunate I was to be dealing with my stuff and not their’s. I felt a little guilt, maybe selfishness but quickly forgave myself by understanding I just wasn’t smart enough to fix my feelings. Then, I wonder what smarts have to do with feelings. My perception was warped so my perspective toward my existence was warped.
I learned over the last few years with the help of lots of folks right here at MAO that I could be better at living just by accepting some facts. It is what it is and so what? It’s not the worst thing to happen to a person.
I think everything is, in some way, related to everything else. I just put the ostomy thing in the back seat and drive forward.

Past Member

Very inspiring, Mike. I too have found some amazing people on this site who have helped me. After everything you went through, you now have become one of them!

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I agree with you, Mike. So what, it isn't the worst thing that could happen! We all have our fears and emotional issues, but when we look around, it seems there are more and more folks who have more complicated and scary issues than an ostomy. If we reach out and take the time to understand that our world shouldn't revolve around ourselves, we can see much clearer.



I too agree! I have found some great friends on this site that have coached me through irrigating i.e. freedom! I too, as all of us do, had that time of feeling trapped in a new world with nowhere to turn. Luckily it passed very quickly for me. My motto is always "It is what it is" and I just had to apply it to this new life! Glad you have adjusted your thinking and are moving forward! Looking forward to having many conversations with you and my friends here!



Hello Mike. Thanks for a very well composed and informative post which I really enjoyed and entirely agree with. My own period of angst was the years of faecal incontinence, before I opted for the surgery and a stoma. I had already experienced all the potentially embarrassing aspects, so I was pleased to be able to manage the problem from the front, rather than the inaccesible rear/bottom. It's been relatively all good since then.

As you point out, most of it is all about perspectives and attitudes. Stay positive!

Best wishes


Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

It's the folks like you who make this such a special community.  Thanks WNL, Mrs.A, Puppy and Bill for being who you are for so many of us to rely on.




Mike.... Thanks for being so honest. I sometimes still get those feelings, and have to snap out of it. There are so.... many in worse conditions than us. I'm so thankful to have found the site, for I was fortunately enough to come in contact with some good people. Such as yourself!!



.....and so many here Angel are so fortunate to have found you.