Camille: My ostomy gave me back the things I love

And just like that, I got my life back. I could travel again, go out with friends, go on hikes, jog, paddle board, sky was the limit.

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

A Tremendous Wave

I remember the moment I woke up from my first ostomy surgery very well. The day was March 29, 2021, and I was all drugged up and alone in my hospital room.

I immediately pulled up my hospital gown to see a translucent bag with a red button peeking through the plastic material. There it was: Zac le sac, my colostomy and new favourite buddy.

I felt a tremendous wave of relief and joy as I addressed this ostomy of mine, just like I would have done a newborn:

“Hi Zac, my name is Camille, and we’re going to be a team. I’ve been waiting to meet you for a while. Gosh I’m glad you’re here”.

It was love at first sight. Mostly because Zac came into my life at a moment where I was ready, but also because I knew that it would allow me to go back to the life I had before my Crohn’s got out of control.

Flare-ups and Symptoms

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2010, at the age of 20. For most of the decade that followed, I managed to live a balanced life. I worked, went to school, and had a lot of friends and a partner. At the same time, episodes of Crohn’s were happening more and more frequently.

My disease found new ways to flare up and I was beginning to look like a Crohn’s pamphlet as I had almost every symptom in the book: diarrhea, constipation, intense abdominal pain, joint pains, night sweats, lumps on my shins, fatigue, weight loss, ulcers all over my mouth and, more and more frequently, perianal abscesses.

The abscesses kept on coming and going and I was becoming a pro at draining them, but one of them got too big, too fast, and I had to get hospitalized in 2017. I was done. I was scared and tired. That’s when I had the first “bag talk” with the gastro. He said I should consider having the surgery, to give my body a break. I immediately refused without really knowing what it would imply and, more importantly, what good this surgery could bring me.

Over the course of the next three years, my Crohn’s got more complex and aggressive. My new gastro brought back the ostomy idea a few times, never pressuring me, but always reminding me that it was an option. I wasn’t ready yet, but I was on my way to be…

During those three years, I started dropping things in my life that mattered to me: food, traveling, sports, going out with friends, making love…

The Bag Talk

That was the last straw for me, so I talked to my gastro and surgeon, and I begged them to give me an ostomy bag. My exact request was “I never want to poop again” which to them seemed a little intense.

To me, it was not. I was done with the excruciating pain 15 times a day, whenever I went to the bathroom. I was done with the exhaustion, the incontinence and the fever that came every night if I didn’t take a nap during the day.

And most of all, I was done with the constant and ever-growing anxiety related to bathroom access.

A week or so before my surgery, I met with Emily, an ostomy nurse who played a vital role in my acceptance (or should I say excitement) about the bag. The moment I walked in to get my stomach marked for surgery, she asked me about my lifestyle. She asked me what I did for a living, but also for pleasure, and most importantly, what were the things that I looked forward to being able to do after the surgery.

So, I told her about the hikes that I would like to go on, the softball league that I wanted to get back to, the places I wanted to see, and the intimacy I was eager to redevelop. I wanted to feel good in my skin, and confident and comfortable enough to wear whatever I wanted.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Emily was quite excited to introduce me to the SenSura® Mio drainable two-piece system. It looked good, it stayed put, was easy to empty in any circumstance and (cherry on top), it was foldable for discretion, which exactly what I needed! I left her office feeling reassured and enthusiastic about this new chapter of my life.

Why do I stick with my SenSura® Mio 2-piece click system? So many reasons! First of all, it’s the cutest on the market. Second reason is that the click system makes me feel very secure while wearing and sleeping with it. The drainage system is also the best – it’s easy to open, easy to clean, and I’m never worried about it leaking. It helped a lot with the anxiety and stress that often comes at first with an ostomy.

Getting My Life Back

I got my colostomy surgery in March 2021 and then an ileostomy in December of that same year. And just like that, I got my life back.

I could travel again, go out with friends, go on hikes, jog, paddle board, sky was the limit.

I could eat without fear or calculation, and I could get back to being the partner, friend, aunt, sister, and daughter to those who love me.

All that, thanks to my friend Zac, this cute little stoma of mine.

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