Perks of Being an Ostomate
Two years ago I would have said there was absolutely nothing positive about having a urostomy. It was uncomfortable, always a hassle, and a constant outward reminder of my bladder cancer. But now I can say there are definitely some perks to having a bag instead of a bladder.
No more pit stops
Need to drive 5 hours without stopping? No problem. Stuck in the middle seat on a long flight? No big deal. Having the ability to hook up to an extension bag and not worry about finding a restroom has to be one of my favorite ostomy perks.
I travel to my hometown at least once a month and travel for work all over the state on a regular basis. I no longer need to worry about finding a restroom in the middle of farm country or keep an eye out for the next rest stop. On flights, I do not have to strategize a bathroom run just before boarding to avoid crawling over my neighbor and using the tiny airplane bathroom.
The freedom to travel without fear of where I can “go” has definitely been enjoyable.
No fear of public restrooms
All ladies know the shiver of disgust when walking into a super gross gas station bathroom. I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to pee while standing.
No more laying out toilet paper and wishing for a hot shower after using a questionable public restroom.
Sneaky pouch emptying
Being able to stand to empty my pouch, the ability to flip it out of my waistband, and quickly empty definitely has advantages. There have been backcountry hikes and fishing trips that would have made a bathroom break pretty difficult.
Depending on the situation, I can empty it into a mini extension bag and wrap it for disposal later, or find the nearest tree.
I think every ostomate will agree that night drains are probably the best part of having an ostomy. If you use a night drain system you can quite literally sleep the whole night without a bathroom break. Waking up at 3:00 am with a bursting bladder is a thing of the past now.
Learning to accept and adapt to having a urostomy certainly took time and patience. I still have days where my bag gets on my nerves, but I have to admit, the no bladder life can be pretty fun at times. Next time your ostomy leaks, or the night drain kinks, think of all the fun life hacks you have now that you don’t have a bladder!
Have you talked to your doctor about navigating sex with bladder cancer?