Clive: The first year of living with an ostomy

Clive: The first year of living with an ostomy

Clive shares his experience of dining out and resuming to old hobbies the first year after his surgery.

A few days after my operation, I did wonder if I would ever get used to this thing they had put on my tummy. I couldn't even empty it myself at first, but soon I got used to doing it with help from the ostomy care nurse.

When I got home, I was quite sore, as I had had my bottom removed as well (the inside, not the outside – that would look ridiculous!)

in time, Clive was able to pick up old hobbies again

Taking my first stroll

After about a week I took my first walk along the road, then after a couple more weeks I walked along the seafront with a few stops in-between. Things have got much easier as time progressed and now emptying, changing and dealing with my bag has become second nature.

I have had the odd leak at night and sometimes in the day but I just go and change it – no bother. Half the time I don't even know it's there!

No need for a prolonged morning routine

My usual routine in the morning is to have a shave (face not legs!), shower, then put on a new bag, and that will last me until the next morning. I get my new bag and stuff ready the night before, so it takes just five minutes.

A change in energy

Before my operation, I was very ill with Crohn's and was housebound. I just couldn't go out for fear of having an 'accident' and I had no energy. I was constantly rushing to the loo, which sometimes I didn't make, but now I can go out with confidence, eat out and do most of the things I used to be able to do.

going out after ostomy surgery is possible

Knowing what to consume

My first trip out was in December when my family took me to Winter Wonderland in London, UK. I had thought I would never go out again, but we had a lovely Christmas that year and I was able to eat all the things I used to with no problems. You get to know the things you can and can't eat.

Nowadays, I don't usually drink alcohol and for New Year I didn't have a lot, but I did mix a few and was duly ill... my own fault of course, and everyone thought it was hilarious.

Taking up old hobbies

I have given myself some projects this year. The first was to restore my mountain bike, which I stripped down and had re-sprayed with new transfers. It now looks like a new bike! Unfortunately I can't ride it yet, as I don't think my rear end is ready for that yet... but maybe one day.

In the 1980s, I used to be a DJ and I would quite like to get back into it, so I have been getting together some gear and building my own lights. Now I can hardly get into my garage as I also have a drum kit in there – 'poor neighbours', I hear you say!

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