An Ostomy: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Last updated: December 2022
"All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth," sang Alvin and the Chipmunks, but what do we all really want for Christmas?
Well, you could ask thousands of people, and you would get so many different answers. In fact, if you ask the same person at 5, 10, and 25 years old, the answer will change.
The value of a gift is not a price tag. It is the item's value to the individual at the time of receiving it or even many years later.
A gift that keeps on giving
For me, I see an ostomy as a gift that keeps on giving. I feel the gift it offers and how it is perceived personally and by others changes over time. Initially, for me, the feeling was of relief.
Relief that the ostomy creation surgery was possible as it was needed to save my life. My emotions were a rollercoaster at this stage, and how I saw my ostomies changed daily.
It was very much a love-hate relationship in the early days.
All I wanted for Christmas
Following my ostomy surgery which took place in November, it was the only present I wanted for Christmas that year. The only presents (plural) I wanted, as I had 2 ostomies following my surgery.
I then went through a period when it was more like an unwanted gift from an elderly relative. It was there. It was a gift, but really, I didn't want it. It changed my life in ways I could have never imagined.
Then, as I continued my physical recovery and became accustomed to my ostomies, I also began to recover emotionally. I was more accepting of what had happened to me, the surgery I had gone through, and why. I became more accepting of my ostomies.
A changed perspective
It was no longer the unwanted elderly relative gift. It was now the gift of a doll as a teenager from Father Christmas.
You love the doll. You secretly wanted a doll, but actually, that isn't cool. You really wanted the clothes to show off to your friends.
At this stage, I was, on the one hand, so proud to talk openly about my ostomies but on the other hand, saying that I passed urine and feces through holes in my stomach wasn't cool.
As time progressed, I got even more comfortable with things. My ostomies became like my favorite childhood teddy bear.
My ostomies saved my life
I would go as far as to say I had an affection for them. An eternal gratitude for the role they played in my day-to-day life and the fact they were essential to keep me alive. They saved my life.
It became a lot simpler. There was no doubt in my mind, even in the difficult days, of their life-saving properties. There was no question of whether I was in a position to want them or not. I grew an even bigger gratitude for all they had and continue to offer me. They were the best gift I have ever received and would ever receive - the gift of life.
An ostomy is, for sure, the gift that keeps on giving.
Does your bladder cancer treatment have an impact on your mental health?
Join the conversation