#ShareYourStory: Josephine

Date: 20 November 2020      Category: News

Josephine is 71 years old and has a colostomy as a result of her struggle with Diverticulitis disease.

Blessing in disguise?

It hasn’t been a smooth journey for Josephine. She suffered with PTSD following her stoma surgery – as a result of this she had a very low mood, but despite of this, she used to write about her experience and even used humour to help her through. Josephine describes having a stoma as “going blind and having to find my way around” – she wasn’t prepared and really wished that she had found Colostomy UK prior to her operation.

Through all of this and with her experience with a stoma, she has written blog posts for the support group and now even has her own blog site, which you can visit here!

In Josephine’s words, “It has made me stronger and enabled me to develop my writing ambitions”.

Trial and error with products

Most of Josephine’s experience with products has been trial and error – it has taken her 3 years to feel as peace and settled with her situation.

Medilink Service

Josephine enjoys using the Medilink service because of the ease of the ordering process and the fact that they call her to order.

If you’re interested in joining the Medilink service, you can find out more here.

Advice from Josephine:

  1. Try to hold onto the fact that your operation is not usually a choice; it’s a life saver.
  2. Some of you will get almost instant benefits especially if you have suffered previously, but some of you won’t and that’s fine
  3. The unknown can be scary so try to inform yourself as much as possible. Know that you are not alone. Find us on Facebook sites, so reach out and get as much support and information as possible. YouTube and stoma supply providers have many useful educational videos and lots of information, too.
  4. You will cry and that is part of the grieving process. Let it out. Talk to someone.
  5. You are not born an expert in ‘stomas’. You have to learn how to handle it and that can take quite some time.
  6. Output varies from day to day. Stomas just love to surprise you so don’t even be tempted to take it seriously. You will learn about diet through your nurse, internet and experience. We are all different. Also, keep a food, alcohol and medicine/health supplements Diary/Journal as it will give you an idea of which foods might not react well in your body.
  7. All bags are slightly different. Try them all until you get the right one for you. Look for the samples.
  8. Take care with lifting and straining. You don’t want a hernia. You can get pants, supports etc. on prescription (UK) or online. Try to do some core strengthening exercises but be careful and make sure they the recommended ones.
  9. Think about irrigation for colostomies it can be a great method to use. I do it and it gave me my life back.
  10. You will have accidents regarding bag leaks, it’s normal, but you will learn how to manage it in time.
  11. You can live a pretty normal life once you get used to your situation. Most of you are not ill but just inconvenienced.
  12. Despite the colon being severed you may still have an instinct to push. Mucus collects in the anus and once it is removed you will feel better. Some people use suppositories. I irrigate mine. However it is only relevant to those who aren’t sewn up (Barbie or Ken butt)
  13. When travelling abroad you are eligible to wear a lanyard which lets staff know that you have a hidden disability and you will be able to use the fast lane through passport security control. Contact Medilink to get yours.
  14. You are eligible for a free toilet key to access the disability toilets. Your provisions provider should be able to get you one. They can also provide you with a ‘Can’t Wait’ for the toilet card. Contact Medilink to get yours.
  15. Finally, remember to blame the windy noises on the dog but if you don’t have one and your partner won’t take the blame then blame your mobile phone ring tone. If all else fails then be brave and own up.

Thank you to Josephine for sharing her wonderful story with us!

If you would like to share your story with Medilink, then please visit our dedicated website page here: https://www.saltsmedilink.co.uk/share-your-story