Shani tells about finding love while having an ostomy

Shani: Finding love despite having an ostomy

When 23-year old Shani woke up after ostomy surgery, she was sure that no guy could ever be interested in her again – so how would she ever find love, get married, or have children?

Shani received compensation from Coloplast to provide this information. Each person’s situation is unique so your experience may not be the same.

Waking up with an ostomy

At the age of 23, Shani Malkin woke up from emergency surgery and felt something strange on her belly. At first, she had no idea what it was – but she soon discovered, that her navel piercing had been replaced by an ostomy. Shani felt ashamed: How could she ever love her new body? And would she ever find someone who could love her?

Shani was born with Celiac disease, a chronic gastrointestinal disease, and as a child she often had stomach ache after eating. Later, the doctors discovered, that Shani also suffered from Crohn’s disease, which caused inflammation in Shani’s intestines.

“At the age of 18, I had my first surgery. At first I felt better, but then I started to experience new symptoms and had to undergo surgery again. That was when it happened. The surgery didn’t go according to plan and when I woke up, I felt a strange lump on my belly: that was the ostomy.”.

Shani tells her story

The challenge of acceptance

Getting an ostomy was a traumatic experience for Shani. She was unprepared for the new life that awaited her, she felt ashamed of her body and in the time following her surgery, she was sure that all her plans for the future had come to a crashing halt.

“Accepting my new body was the hardest part for me. Before the operation I would show off my navel piercing in a bikini at the beach - now I had a stoma. I was a complete mess. I felt that my life was over. I was having such a hard time that I just wanted to stay in hospital. Why go home, what life could I look forward to? How would I ever find love, get married, or have children?”.

Finding self-esteem and love

Although the nurses showed Shani how to take care of her ostomy, Shani had her mom replacing the pouches for the first two years after the surgery. It wasn’t until Shani started to accept her body, that she began to take care of herself. And then she met Roy.

“I met Roy when I was 27 and married him last year. We had known each other for three weeks when I told him I had an ostomy. It wasn’t a nice thing to share and I felt quite shy, but he listened to my story with great interest and the stoma didn’t bother him at all. He was interested in me and the ostomy was just a part of me.”

Shani realised, that there was no need to be embarrassed about her ostomy and to waste time and effort in hiding it. Her best advice is to come to terms with your situation and emotions distress and talk about it, so you can keep living your life. For Shani, many of the dreams she had as a little girl have come true today – despite her ostomy.

Shani on shopping

“I can be active, I can exercise, I can travel with my husband and we go abroad two or three times a year. We lead a normal life. It’s still too soon to think about having children, but I know that getting pregnant isn’t a problem with an ostomy. What I am trying to say to people who all of a sudden end up with an ostomy: don’t give up hope. Don’t think your life is over, because it most certainly isn’t.”

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