¬† I guess everyone handles it differently as you said.¬† I had my ileostomy surgery at 23.¬† Luckily I had a very good support system, a lot of very good and supportive friends and family of course, and a confident attitude.¬† I was so happy not to be in pain or have to take medication anymore, not to mention not having to rush to the bathroom everytime I turned around, I wasn't too worried about what people thought of me.¬†
¬† No one felt sorry for me thank God because I can't stand someone taking pity on me when there are so many more people that are WAY worse off than I was.¬† When it came to going back to work and school, there wasn't any real issue.¬† When I met new people at work, school or the bar, I wouldn't even bring up having a pouch because unless you tell someone you have one, they'll never notice (for the most part).
¬† Now when I talked to someone that might be interested in me romantically, I would bring up how I'm a hygiene freak jokingly and how I have Crohns disease.¬† This of course brings up the, "What is that?" or "I've heard of that" kind of statements.¬† This opens the door up for more questions and a dialogue ensues.¬† Eventually I'd talk about the surgery I had, that I have a scar from midchest to just above my crotch followed by, "Oh, and I don't sh*t like everyone else."¬† Then I'd blab about how I used to be in pain constantly and how I had to frequent the bathroom often, took so many different types of drugs, etc, etc.
¬† Most people respond positively and are curious.¬† I guess the way I explain what a stoma is to them and how much more convenient it is as opposed to getting the urge to poo.¬† Most women I've been romantically involved with were worried about if the pouch would come off easily or were worried they might hurt me.¬† Most would want to see and touch the stoma through the pouch of course.¬† After assurances that it was anchored down and sturdy and the pouch wasn't going to pop, I was good to go.¬† Maybe I was just being a lil cocky.¬† Not to toot my own horn, but I do know that I can be a charming mofo.¬†
¬† I've been told by several members here that it's easier for a man to deal with having an ostomy than it is for a woman because some women are very concerned with their body image.¬† No more 2 piece bikini's or nice outfits, etc, etc.¬† That might be true for some people but I think it depends on your own attitude.¬† Sure I get a little depressed about not taking my shirt off in public and showing off my little beer belly but I'm still the same person no matter what.¬† I think in my entire 21 years of having an ostomy, I've had one person that was creeped out about it.¬† And maybe I'm lucky, but I figure if they can't handle me having an ostomy or are grossed out about it, then they really aren't worth having my attention.¬† Just my 2 cents.