Hi, Cam! I have a feeling that this is going to be a long response. I'm glad you decided to get some of that off your chest. We all need to vent. I certainly can't tell you "why me?" since we all wonder about that, but having an ileostomy is a life-saving procedure. If I hadn't had it done, I would have died and missed out on a great life! I had my surgery 16 years ago and do just about everything I did before, except move the piano during spring cleaning! I've done a lot of traveling, I swim nearly every day, etc. You are only limited by your thinking.
As far as those intimate moments, first of all, I don't think you want to make love with someone that doesn't care about you anyway! If they care about you, the ileostomy shouldn't bother them. Many of us wear the elastic women's tube top over our abdomen to "hide" the surgery. I know it helps with being embarrassed. Someone, on one of the threads, mentioned that their husband loved her ileostomy because it saved her life and he just loved her that much. That's the type of man that you should be looking for. It's hard to find if you won't take the chance and start dating.
Try to look at the good aspects of your surgery. You are alive. You are free from being chained to the bathroom. You are young and have a great life ahead of you. I know you said you never shared with anyone about your surgery. But, maybe you could join your local ostomy association and learn how to help others with hospital visitations. I started that and it was very rewarding. It gave some meaning to the surgery. I made it through the surgery and so I now can help others by sharing my experiences. We are here to help one another. This site is another wonderful way to help others.
You will find that, once you have truly accepted your ileostomy, you won't think about it much. It's a part of you. I remember that when I was due to have my surgery, I spoke with a woman who had gone through it. She was telling me about the positioning of her stoma. She said they had her stoma lower on her abdoman because, if they put the stoma in the normal place, it would interfere with her artificial leg! Boy! Talk about putting things in perspective for me. I realized just how blessed I truly was. You sound like such a beautiful person inside. Remember that. I know I always look at a person's heart...not their body. That special person will do that same thing with you.
Visit this site frequently and, if you have any experience with some of the topics, don't hesitate to respond. That might help you too.
Meanwhile, we are all here to help one another. Don't hesitate to ask for help. We have "been there and done that!" I'll be praying that you start feeling good about yourself soon. I'm sure you are the cute, funny girl with the wonderful personality that your family and friends say you are. Ditch that poor self-image and start living your life to the fullest. I think you'll be happily surprised with your future. God bless!