I need a plan.

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 303
   Posted 9/23/2008 6:25 PM (GMT -6)   

I have always been comfortable making plans. Since my surgery, I have been at home where all my supplies are there ready for me to use. If an ostomy problem arises, I have all the time in the world to work on it. Now, I need a plan. I agreed to fill in for a fellow teacher while she is out for the month of December. How will I manage the bag?Should I use closed bags or drainable bags?  What do you that work outside the home do? I probably should have told her that I couldn’t do it, but I really am getting stir crazy. I guess I am just scared that something will go wrong .

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 9/23/2008 6:52 PM (GMT -6)   

Nene--of course you can do it!!!  I use drainable pouches, myself...If you are really worried about the pouch filling and needing to be emptied, there are a few things you can do:

  • watch your coffee intake to it won't go through too fast
  • eat small amounts for breakfast/lunch (carry crackers or small cookies if you think you'll need them)
  • carry a small spray for when you use the bathroom (I found a purse size lysol at walmart by the registers that is great or I also carry breath spray if I have a really little purse).  Spray the inside of the toilet as well as the air to avoid any "funky" smell getting into the bathroom.
  • Pleated pants conceal a more than empty pouch.
  • Wear a shirt that can be left untucked to conceal
  • Wear pantyhose or some kind of spandex to hold everything in...it doesn't stop the stoma from working!!
  • Make quick trips to the loo if needed...I will usually empty more when I am out just for piece of mind.

Oh, carry a small cosmetic type bag with an extra change, if needed (I put a ziploc bag in it with some quartered papertowels that I put my "stoma soap" on so that all I have to do is wet it and I can clean just about anything).  By the way, I only had to use it ONCE in 8 years!!  I always use a pretty bag that people just think I have makeup in it. 

I am sure you will get a bunch more of great suggestions...don't let it worry you, go and have a great time getting out of the house, you'll be fine:)

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 212
   Posted 9/23/2008 7:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Nene, Ohio 76 is right.

I carry a bag "Hollister" sent me that I hold all my supplies. Actually, I keep two sets of changes and an extra pair of underwear. If my bag leaks, at least I'll have that to change too. I've been back at work on and off for a year now and I've only had one accident as well.

I had an accident at the movie theatre once too. That was just after a few months of getting my ileostomy. It got messy, but I made it through. I went into a handicap stall so I had more room to spread all my supplies. I took off my pants, etc. and placed them over the bar. Before I went into the stall, I got lots of paper towels; some I got wet others were dry. I also filled up my water bottle (I always keep on me.) I just knew to stay calm.

It all works out. I fill my water bottle in the bathroom to rinse my pouch. I do this just about everytime I drain it. I don't care if people see me walk into the stall with it. I figure if someone ever asks, I'll tell them. If they have the nerve, I will too. Nobody has ever asked, though.

Something else I used to be self-conscious about was standing to empty my pouch into the toilet. I used to wonder if people were concerned or wondering themselves, why I was standing up like a guy. But that uneasiness passed too. I don't see how people can empty their pouches while sitting on the toilet. It looks awkward. Plus, I don't like the thought of touching a public toilet. We share bathrooms with other offices in our building. Plus, it's not my own.

Don't let your ostomy deter you from doing anything you want to do. You'll figure it out. We all have ways (some crazier than others) of dealing with challenges/issues in our lives. The more you do something, the easier it will get. Good luck!

Post Edited (Ohio43) : 9/23/2008 7:06:09 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 303
   Posted 9/23/2008 9:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you sooo much, Ohio 43 and Ohio 76. The more I thought about going back to work, the more I wanted to back out of it. Your words of encouragement have helped me a lot. If you all can do it, so can I!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 9/23/2008 10:25 PM (GMT -6)   
something you can also do is take a few immodium before you go out, if you only do that everyonce in a while it won't cause a problem.  and i usually take 2 gas-x before i go out.
you can get this thing at motherhood maternity, i think it's called a belly band, that helps hold it flat.  And it won't mess stuff up.
A note on the breath spray, you have to spray it first, for some reason it doesn't work the other way, plus you don't really want to put it back in your purse after you touched it with your poo hands, lol.  The great thing about the breath freshner is that it also will help kill some of the germs on the toilet, i use it sometimes even if i am not emptying, if a bathroom is really icky.
I had a big problem with worrying about people smelling it, until it occured to me that noone knows where the smell comes from, they only know that it didnt' come from them, but they don't know if it was there when they came in, or if one of the other five people in there did it!  stall bathrooms are much better for hiding the smell, lol.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2765
   Posted 9/24/2008 5:15 AM (GMT -6)   

Congratulations on your job! Everything will be just fine! :-)

I've been working full time with an ostomy for over 2 years and have never had a leak. I keep an extra set of supplies in my office drawer, just in case.

I recommend that you wear a drainable pouch and keep a small bottle of deodorizer drops in your purse.

Baby doll tops are great for hiding the pouch when it fills up a bit.

Have fun!

Dx'd Crohn's in '99 at 28. Proctocolectomy and ileostomy in '06.
Disease-free, medicine-free, and very thankful to be healthy again :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 552
   Posted 9/24/2008 5:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Congrats on the job. What a great way to get back into working again. My daughter is not a teacher but she does have to go to school everyday. She prefers to wear the babydoll type shirts that are popular now. She doesn't like the feeling of tucking her bag into something like pants. She also has a cute A-line skirt that she wears with a fitted shirt. She wears a drainable pouch and carries her deodorizer.
Good luck and have fun. Remember, December is usually a short month for school!
--Mom of bratcat (17 years old) and nonamejames (19 years old)--
Daughter bratcat was diagnosed with pancolitis October 2006
Flared Fall 2006, Fall 2007, Spring 2008
Asacol, Rowasa, hydrocortisone enemas, prednisone, 6-mp, Remicade
7/3/08-Step 1 j-pouch surgery and no more meds
Step 2 scheduled for November 10
Son nonamejames was diagnosed with Crohns in Spring 2008
Asacol, Pentasa, 6-mp

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 303
   Posted 9/24/2008 10:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all the good thoughts. I am working on a tentative plan using your suggestions. I like the idea about taking it easy on the coffee, small breakfast, using immodium and carrying air spray with me into the handicap stall.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1998
   Posted 9/25/2008 12:05 AM (GMT -6)   

All of the above are great suggestions. In fact, I thought I wrote OHIO76's response. Right on the money!

After the first couple of days, you will be more at ease with "making it thru the day" and will find your own system.

Congrats on getting back into the swing of things and let us know how you do. Don't fret about it - just take one day at a time.
Diagnosed with CD in 1979, many resections and meds
Perm Ileostomy July 1984 at Cleveland Clinic
Disease free since surgery 

Glad Bag
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 699
   Posted 9/26/2008 3:50 PM (GMT -6)   
"he is able who thinks he is able" - Buddha.

take the above advice and then get out of your house! you will be amazed after you get home how worried you were about nothing...once you make it a few times away from home, you should feel much more comfortable.
"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together!" - The Beatles

doesn't that just sound cool when you sing it?

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 9/26/2008 5:50 PM (GMT -6)   

Congrats on your short term sub position! I am also a teacher, and was worried about how the bag was going to be at work (this is my first school year with an ostomy)

It is really no big deal!--I keep emergency supplies in my closet, but have never had to use them.

I am lucky in that my ostomy is typically really inactive until about 1pm, no matter if I eat breakfast or not!

one suggestion: to make emptying faster, I bring one of those small, pint-sized water bottles into the bathroom with me. I fill it up and dump water in my bag before I even empty it, b/c adding water seems to make everything rinse out much better (no using 10 pieces of T.P. to clean the tail of the bag--takes too long!)

*I definitely recommend that you use drainable pouches with a velcro closure. They are fast and comfortable!

You will be GREAT, I am sure!!!

E :-)
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