Sad woman looking at her reflection in mirror

Bladder Cancer and Its Effect on My Body Image

I’ve had my stoma, “my Winnie”, coming up on two years now. Having my stoma hasn’t stopped me from doing anything: traveling, spa days, swimming, etc. In fact, I have been eager and up for lots of new adventures I would never have participated in prior to having my stoma.

Being thankful

I am thankful to those medical professionals that saved my life, and on the whole, I try to make every day count.

I smile as much as I can and tell the people around me that I love and appreciate them. But there’s one big “but,” and that’s how I view myself.

Looking in the mirror

Professionals say that you should stand in front of the mirror and practice 'self-worth'. That can involve looking at a different part of your body each day and appreciating each little part of you, to learn to love and accept who you are. But for me at times, it is easier said than done!

Going to the tailor

I recently went to a local tailor with an old dress that I loved. I liked the style, and the fit (loose) made me feel comfortable. I asked him to make me an exact copy. I chose the material I wanted and handed over my old dress that I wanted him to duplicate. I thought that would be it, but oh no! He requested that I put on my old dress for him to look at the fit. No problem, I thought.

However, he had different ideas and said that the dress was “too big” around my hip area. He went to get his pins. I didn’t want it fitted in, especially in “that” area, as that’s where my stoma is. I feel comfortable with a little “looseness” around my stoma area. It gives me room for my bag to fill, without it becoming noticeable.

Revealing I have a stoma and a bag

There was nothing else for it; I was going to have to tell him about my stoma and the reasons I “needed” my dress to be loose in that area. He immediately flooded with sympathy, saying how sorry he was. I just wanted an exact copy of the dress I had brought in. I didn’t think I would have to divulge my stoma and accept all his sympathetic sad looks.

Feeling emotional

You see, I hadn’t been feeling great about myself. Having cancer made me lose a lot of weight. Since getting rid of the cancer, I’ve slowly been putting it back on again. So, not only do I feel unhappy about my long scar and my stoma and my bag, I also feel fat! All of these factors contributed to feeling emotional while at the tailor.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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