I have had an ileostomy since March of this year. I had it in order to get relief from Ulcerative Colitis and a constant cycle of prednisone and imuran which eventually became completely ineffective. I am only 24 years old and I had just finished my teaching degree and started working. I was extremely frustrated by my quality of life and felt restricted in looking for a contracted position because I knew when going into an interview I could not guarantee them 100% that I was the right person for the job because of my health. So I decided to continue as a teacher-on-call until my health issues could be resolved. Now, I had a very traumatic experience with my ileostomy as I had several seroius complications during recovery. Instead of it taking the usual 2 months to feel a lot better it took me closer to 3 and a half months ( I am just now starting to feel like myself). Despite all of the problems I have had I am certain I made the right decision by having the surgery at such a young age.
Where am I going with all of this???
I told all of my closest friends about the surgery as well as my family. They had seen me struggle for years with UC and I saw no harm in telling them about the surgery. It would have been more of a burden for me to hide it from them. And they have been awesome! Very supportive and surprisingly curious about the surgery and how it has changed my lifestlye.
Maybe it is the teacher in me or maybe it's just my personality but I am not ashamed about my ileostomy. It is really starting to improve the quality of my life and I am proud to say that I have survived all of those complications. I have no problem at all educating others about what I have been through and in fact I think it helps me to deal with and accept my lifestyle. I have a chance of having a j-pouch made in 6 months or so, but even without that chance of going back to a "normal" lifestyle I think my feelings and perspective would be the same. So I say be PROUD of surviving all you have been through. It is totally up to you who you share your information with. It should certainly be your information to disclose to who you want but never feel ashamed or less because of it. Sorry if I rambled on a bit there .