Why I Gave My Stoma a Name
Understanding the medical terminology
I went home and quickly “googled” what all these medical terms actually meant. I was particularly interested in the “stoma”. To be honest, I had never come across it before. But then again, why would I? I had never come across anyone with bladder cancer before.
The medical definition of "stoma"
Stoma, the medical definition: (as per Wikipedia). A stoma is any opening in the body. A mouth, nose, anus, etc. are natural stomata. Any hollow organ can be manipulated into an artificial stoma as necessary. This includes the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, ileum, colon, pleural cavity, ureters, urinary bladder, and kidney pelvis.
Mmm, all very interesting, I thought.
Meeting my stoma for the first time
My stoma was now my new “private part,” the bit where my “wee wee” was to come from.
It was at this point I realized I didn’t use the “proper” term of urine. That I used my own, more comfortable and familiar word of “wee”. It seems we all have our own “favorites” for this most natural of bodily functions.
Naming my stoma
And so it set me off thinking about my own “stoma”. And suddenly and without any real warning, “Winnie” came to my mind, “wee Winnie”. A little bit of alliteration came in, and I smiled to myself. “That’s it, Winnie it is”.
Naming my stoma that day put me at ease with it. Made me chuckle a little.
When my stoma nurse came round later that day, I told her about naming my stoma. She smiled and said that actually, many people give their stoma a name. She reeled off some of the ones that she had particularly liked; Princess Pee, Rosie, Patsy (from absolutely fabulous), and so the list went on.
A name lightens the mood and makes me feel more at ease
Naming my stoma gave me a sense of familiarity with my own body. That it didn’t sound so medically scary. That, in fact, “my Winnie” was my new little friend. After all, the birth of “Winnie” saved my life.
Also, in the early days when we all suffer from leaks, blaming it on “Winnie” seemed to make it much easier. She was a part of me, true, but a part of which I had no control over. I would say things like “Winnie’s had a bit of an outburst,” and we would laugh.
My friends seemed to find it easier too. I remember getting into the car one day with one of my best friends. She smiled, gently tapped my tummy and said, “So how’s Winnie?”
So from that day to this and for as long as I live, my "Winnie” is right by my side.
How well does your healthcare provider understand your bladder cancer?