Hero image alt text:	Ostomy user experience

Hannah: Getting my confidence back with my ostomy

I go for runs, I do yoga, I go on trips, I get to swim and bike, go out with friends and family - all thanks to my ostomy.

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

Ostomy user experience

I’m Hannah, I am 23, I currently live in Calgary, and I have an ostomy.

I remember the day I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis very clearly. I was 16, I had missed a day of school to go for my colonoscopy, both my parents came with me. When I woke up, still loopy, I was told I had moderate to severe ulcerative colitis and was prescribed medication immediately. I remember how many emotions I felt all at once - fear of the future, peace knowing what was causing all my awful symptoms, and hopeful to start treatment and maybe find some relief.

For the next 4 years I had periods where my medication would work and I would be in remission, followed by failure to respond to treatment and experiencing flare-ups. The constant cycle was stressful, painful, and often embarrassing. I missed out on so many moments; nights out with friends, days at the beach, school - I felt like I was just surviving and not living. Then one day my health completely collapsed, and I was admitted to the hospital due to a severe flare up. After receiving IV steroids and switching to a new biologic treatment I was released - I felt so much better and thought that maybe this would be the end of the struggle.

Then everything changed in October of 2020 when I was admitted to the hospital once again. I was at my sickest, I had lost so much weight, I couldn’t eat anything, was constantly in the bathroom, in pain and always nauseous and nothing was helping - not even IV steroids.

Having ostomy surgery was always my biggest fear.

It was something I considered the worst-case scenario and never wanted to have to go through it - until I realized it was the only thing that could give me my life back. When I told the doctor I wanted to have the surgery he told me that he was unsure because I was so young, and he didn’t want to give me an ostomy at this age. I told him I needed my life back - I needed to experience being in my 20s, not being in and out of the hospital and unable to leave my bed. He agreed and I started mentally preparing for the immense change that was coming.

When I woke up from surgery at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, I immediately looked down to see what my new normal was going to be.

Staring back at me was a bulky beige transparent bag with a little red stoma peeking through. I was worried that I would never be comfortable in my own skin again.

In the initial weeks following surgery I tried out a few different products from various brands, but ultimately fell in love with Coloplast when my NSWOC set me up with some SenSura® Mio pouch samples. My favourite thing about them is how sleek they look - they don’t feel like a medical device but rather an accessory. I was most nervous about how I would feel in my own body after the surgery, but with Coloplast products I feel confident and sexy.

I use the SenSura® Mio 1-piece pouches because I love the fact they can fold in half when needed, they’re sleek, and the material is soft and comfortable against my skin - not crinkly like other products I’ve tried.

And with the addition of Brava® Protective Rings and Barrier Cream, I always feel secure.

And now, I finally feel like I am living again! I go for runs, I do yoga, I go on trips, I get to swim and bike, go out with friends and family - all thanks to my ostomy. My ostomy saved my life and gave me my freedom back. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, so I now use my Instagram platform (@hans_colitisjourney) to advocate for those with IBD and ostomies and to bring our community together so other ostomates are not afraid to be who they are. If you are new to life with an ostomy, I highly recommend finding community online and connecting with others who have gone through similar situations. And never forget that it might feel like your life is over at first, but it is truly just beginning.

Sign up
To top