I am 27 and had my ileostomy performed about 2 months ago. I am going to be very honest about my feelings before and after surgery.
I am a female, I like going out and having a few beers with my friends, I love going hiking and to sports bars with my fiancée, and frankly, like most young women, I am vain—I care about how I look! I like to wear nice clothes and look pretty. I am also a teacher and am very dedicated to my job—it is a big part of my life.
I am also the kind of person who was TOTALLY against having an ileostomy—frankly, I was appalled at the mere thought of it. I thought it would interfere with all the things I like to do--not to mention, I would feel like I was gross and less of a person (harsh, I know but this is how I felt). I just could not believe my horrible luck that I had to have one due to severe Crohn’s. I cried, I thought my fiancée might leave me (sheesh I was going to have a bag of poop hanging from me…!) even though he said he did not care. But I had no choice, I was so ill.
Before my ileostomy, I thought that maybe if I tried really hard I would be able to not hate it eventually—maybe. I NEVER thought I would be even slightly happier with it than having Crohn’s (when my surgeon said he thought I would be happier with an ileostomy , I thought “Are you nuts?? You don’t have a clue. Maybe if I was 80!” ).
Here it is 2 months later, and I swear to you (I can hardly believe this myself) that I am very happy to live with an ileostomy. I can still wear cute clothes, and you really cannot tell at all that I have a pouch underneath. Many of my close friends and relatives do not even know! I chose to tell only my parents, fiancée (of course!) siblings, and 2 friends. That’s it!!
The bag is just there, and I seriously forget I even have it most of the time! It does not smell, and I just empty it when I go to pee, so I really don’t make any special bathroom trips with it. I have had no problems at all with leaks/poorly fitting bags (I hope it stays that way!). I am also much healthier, I am able to go out and take trips and be spontaneous for once! Things with my fiancée are also very good—I wear really small pouches when we want to be together, and I usually wear a tight tube top around my middle just for my own piece of mind. He has been very supportive and understanding—and (if you have been to Shaz’s webpage, what she says there is true-) he has taken on my attitude about the bag—it is SO not a big deal for me!! And I seriously can’t believe I am writing that and it is true. J
Well, this ileo is actually my THIRD one...if I were to count. The first one was due to complications from surgery(had it reversed), the second one was my choice and the third and current one is permanent. I didn't hate the first one, it was the only way I was going to continue living, so I accepted it. I was happy to have it reversed, but the "temporary" reprive of Crohn's was enough to make me want the second one (life is great when you are not running to the bathroom) more than pooping "normally". Number three (really just a technicality) came when I decided to have my colon/rectum removed. Facing reality is knowing what your disease is and what can be done to help ease your pain. I would be living in lala land if I was mad I had to have an ileo...a j-pouch would never have been an option.
So, to say the least, I am not sad/angry/depressed...I am thankful to have such a wonderful life and be able to travel, visit with friends/family, workout, work and most importantly be able to live another day...what is better than that!!!
My story is almost identical to Little E's. I was so against having a bag, but once I got it, I really liked the freedom it gave me. Freedom from being sick, freedom from having to sprint to the bathroom too many times a day, freedom to eat what I want, and freedom to enjoy life!