How to talk about your ostomy

Talking about your ostomy

Are you afraid of talking to others about your ostomy? Do you not know what to say to children? Here are some ostomy conversation tips.

Talking to others about your ostomy may be difficult initially. It is generally helpful to take a strategic approach - especially in the beginning.

How to prepare for a conversation

Start by determining the goal of the conversation. Do you want to be able to talk openly with the other person or do you wish to show that nothing has really changed?

This will help you address the feelings, needs or concerns in each situation rather than "just" talking about your ostomy. You will have a much better chance to avoid feeling disappointed or feeling exposed.

Write the beginning of the conversation down

This may seem silly, but often it is only the beginning of a difficult conversation that is actually difficult. Being prepared with exactly what you want to open the conversation with, may make it easier for you to approach it.

Keep a positive attitude

How you act and how you say what you want to say will greatly influence the outcome of the conversation. So even though you're nervous, take a deep breath and remain positive. Your listener will most likely be positive and feel more relaxed.

A bit of humor or lightheartedness can also help ease the tension for both you and your surroundings and help you control the tone of the conversation.

How to talk about your ostomy

Choose who you wish to share with

When discussing your ostomy surgery with others, you put yourself in a somewhat vulnerable position.

If someone is not giving you the opportunity to express your thoughts and feelings but rather just giving you advice, you may wish to end that conversation.

What to say to children

What to say to children

If there are young children or grandchildren in your life, your first thought might be that they are too young to understand.

However, not telling them can make them think a situation is more serious than it really is, and children tend to cope well if they are given the information in a simple and honest way.

How to tell teenagers

It is not uncommon for teenagers or even older children that they react with anger or withdrawal when confronted with a parent's health condition or surgery.

Some parents choose to tell their teenagers only key points about their surgery, but remember that in spite of the unfavorable reactions, it is still important for them to hear your open and honest answers to their questions. Also keep in mind that any anger is likely concern for you and based on their worry over your health and safety.

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