Hi Maggie - your post really tugged at my heart when I read it last night. You've been on my mind ever since.
First off, take a deep breath. You will get used to having a temporary colostomy. Focus on that one word - temporary. It will be reversed. I had a temporary colostomy too, almost 10 years ago, almost at your exact age, I was 43. I had two young children to care for - 8 and 11. I was a stay at home mom at the time and my daughters and I had a full schedule. We used to go many places - story times at the library, our local parks, a closeby nature center, the mall, etc. All of that came to a grinding halt when I had my first colon surgery. I was in the worst pain of my life - definitely far worse than child birth (I had thought nothing could top labor!). If you read my bio/sig below you'll see I had rectal cancer. I only had 24 hours notice I would possibly wake up with a temporary colostomy. Prior to this I was told my cancer surgery would be very simple - rectal dilation and "scooping" out the tumor, my surgeon's word. But a rectal ultrasound revealed my tumor was possibly thru the third layer of the 5 bowel wall layers so I ended up with major surgery. Large incision, the ostomy, etc. Not quite what you've been thru - you poor dear, just want to pat your hand and say you will get thru this - but a very, very painful recovery. I went to sleep each night with one prayer - please let the pain be gone by morning. But each morning for 4 solid weeks, it was there when I got out of bed each day. I'd just grin and bear it somehow, all I could take was Tylenol! I had kids in my care! I took each day as it came but one trick I did use (that I used in labor and delivery) - I projected forward. In my mind, I would have these continuous pep-talks. "Mary, in one week, you will feel better, in one month much better, in 2 months, this ostomy will be reversed.....". Words to that effect. This mind trick did take the focus off what was going on at that very moment. So you could try that approach. I still use it, to this day!
Second, you mentioned caring family and friends, who just do not understand. I was surrounded by folks you didn't understand either. They cared deeply about me but they had no reference to what I was going thru. Thank goodness for the internet! I found several, now defunct, medical websites with message boards. They saved me! I had people to "talk" with because locally, I'm in Ohio, I couldn't find a support group. Plenty for breast cancer but none for colorectal cancer. I leaned on friends I made on the forums I mentioned. Please lean on everyone here, you will find this Healing Well "family" - not to sound corny but I think of all of you ostomy patients as family, to those who really NEED you - as a unique, very kind group of people. Lean on your family but let go of the hopes they will truly understand what you are dealing with. I have found that most who have not experienced major surgery and/or bowel surgeries, try to understand but many fall short. They just have nothing to compare it to.
Lastly, search your area for a support group. You just may possibly find one. I think you would benefit from talking this out and letting go of what you thought would be a simple GYN surgery and recovery. That will be difficult, you're probably walking around saying that to yourself (I did! I kept saying out-loud, this was supposed to be a simple bowel surgery, 1 day hospital stay, not 7, and no bag either, patting it as I said these words, my husband would just sigh.....LOL).
Lean on the folks here for suggestions, help, advice for caring for a colostomy. They are the experts! Mine was so long ago, I'm sure the same appliances are still around but they'll be able to help you in this area probably more than I could. I sincerely wish I could just pat your hand right now and say - this too shall pass. Those words may sound hollow but they are very, very true.
Wishing you my best this morning.......
- Diagnosed with rectal cancer, April 1999 - Stage I, no treatment necessary
(5 hour colon resection: 90% sigmoid removed, 15 inches of colon removed, gall bladder removed, given temporary colostomy)
- Colostomy reversal, June 1999
- Left with IBS/D symptoms, multiple bm's every day
- On a low residue diet at least 75% of the time
- Takes Colace 50 mg each evening
All in all I do okay, I just use the bathroom A LOT! But I survived and beat cancer!