Cute cherry's that represent the authors stoma

Why I Gave My Stoma a Name

When I was first told that I would need a “Radical Cystectomy,” I seemed to suddenly be bombarded with all sorts of different medical terms. Stoma, urostomy, ileal conduit, and so on.

These new and quite foreboding words were totally alien to me, and to be honest, they didn’t sound very nice!

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

After my surgery, I was quickly introduced to my “stoma”. That red rosebud shaped “thing” sticking out of my belly that I would now have to learn how to care for.

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.

Have you named your stoma? Answer here.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

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.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

How well does your healthcare provider understand your bladder cancer?