Ostomy user experience

Brad: Becoming an Ostomy Dad

Becoming an ostomy dad is easily one of the toughest but most gratifying things I’ve ever been through

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

Becoming an ostomy dad is easily one of the toughest but most gratifying things I’ve ever been through, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without both “Shawn” the Stoma giving me my life back, and Coloplast products playing a significant role in keeping my ostomy healthy.

There was a time in my life when I thought being a father and starting a family just wasn’t in the cards for me. Especially after two decades of constantly battling, not only my body's health issues, but also the strain it took on me mentally.

Let’s rewind a little bit.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease back in high school after months of not being able to make it home without having an accident.

I felt ashamed and didn’t want to talk about it. I remember when my family doctor told me that I had Crohn’s. He almost seemed annoyed about it. Like it was too much for him to deal with. I believe that this experience with my doctor along with also being bullied in school, because of my Crohn’s, led me to feel like my disease was a burden. I spent years either hiding that I have Crohn’s from people or downplaying how badly it affected me.

I had my first surgery back in 2009 and the experience honestly had me swearing off anything surgery related later in life. I felt I was pushed into it without being heard or understood. I remember having to go for a counselling session where I first learned about ostomies and was told that there was a possibility that I could wake up with one. It freaked me out and I couldn’t handle it. One of my biggest fears was how people would look at me afterwards but if I had seen all the advocacy that I’ve seen now, it would have truly helped me understand it more back then.

I didn’t end up getting an ostomy that time, but I would end up back in the hospital within a couple of months going through renal failure. After recovering I switched GI’s and went through another whirlwind of tests trying to figure out what was stopping me from finding remission. With no answers found, I was told that maybe this was the best I was going to get and that I would never find remission. The worst part is that I believed it.

Miraculously, during this time, I met the woman who would later become my wife. Together we moved into my sister's basement suite allowing me to be close to family and to see my nephews grow up. Seeing them, I quickly realized I wanted to be a dad.

Just before Covid hit, my health started to crash hard. After 20 years of dealing with IBD, nothing was helping to reduce my symptoms and phone call appointments alone just weren’t cutting it. After trying new meds and nearly bleeding out due to complications, my GI dropped me onto a new doc. I was upset and hurt but it would end up being the thing that saved me. Finally, after months of fighting, the decision was made to send me to a surgeon who would conclude that it was time to remove my colon and rectum.

I went in for surgery at Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody, BC without any complications. I spent the next month of my healing process trying different bags given to me by my NSWOC at the hospital from various manufacturers before deciding on Coloplast. I had been having issues with leakage as well as bad skin reactions from all the adhesives, but when I saw the sleek design of the Coloplast bag I knew I wanted to give them a try and was ecstatic to find that together with the barrier rings, they would be the product that would prevent any further issues.

The design of the Coloplast bag made it so much easier. It made me feel confident. This is easily one of the biggest reasons why I would recommend Coloplast to any ostomate.

Now, a year after living with my ostomy and through 5 months of being a new dad, I can attest that my thoughts have not changed in the slightest.

From the long nights of no sleep with the newborn stage to the bouncing, swaying, and playing with my daughter as an infant; my bag has never leaked thanks to my Coloplast SenSura® Mio 2-piece click system in light convex.

The ability to switch out my bag without having to change my baseplate has come in handy a few times. Like, when I’m introducing my favourite things to my daughter at the FanExpo convention, or going on a long road trip. The flexible Brava® Protective Ring is easy to mould around the dips and bumps of my stomach around my stoma, helping to keep my skin healthy and safe from leaks. It was such a game changer when I started using them. Especially during the first month after my daughter was born. The long sleepless nights were followed by copious amounts of coffee to which my bag continued to hold up.

Bag changes are also effortless with the help of the Brava® adhesive removal spray, making the removal of my SenSura® Mio quick and painless, letting me get back to doing what I love; looking after my beautiful baby girl. To say that Coloplast has taken the worry out of being an Ostomy Dad is an understatement.

I rarely think negatively of my stoma or feel anxious about what could happen, keeping me in the moment with my new little family which I couldn’t be more thankful for.

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