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Fashion

Ostomy Pants!

How I got all crafty and refashioned the waistband of my pants to fit better without rubbing or cutting into my stoma. Yay! I can wear my jeans.  Check out this really cool way to make Ostomy Pants!  (Or fix any waist band really)

After all, you are perfect just the way you are.  Make your clothes fit you.  Not the other way around.

A Boy, A Bikini, and an Ostomy

20140722 039

For once, I’m not writing a blog on an airplane to kill some time. Christy mentioned an issue that I feel needs to be addressed immediately.

In light of all the bikini shots that have been going around, and the recent media attention surrounding them, a few very good questions have rolled her way. One of them caught my eye as it pertained directly to my past behavior. But first, a bit of context for those who like context….

On a long flight to Philadelphia, roughly two years ago, I wrote a blog for Crohniebolognaibd.com that got split into two parts. They reflected the events and my feelings that were involved in my wife’s permanent ostomy. There is some heavy stuff in there, and I still get a bit emotional thinking about it. Several times in the course of our marriage Christy has nearly died due to Crohn’s, and I believe the events that occurred during her recovery from her permanent ostomy was the closest she came to leaving me a widower. That is in Part 1. The information under the ‘Ballroom’ portion of Part 2 contains some of the context pertaining to the question I need to address and answer.

Surfing a few of the posts from various Crohn’s and Ostomy websites, there has been a recurring concern since the whole ‘Ostomate Wearing a Bikini’ media storm in early July. And that concern, and the reason why I’m writing this brief post, is “I am a woman with an ostomy, and my husband/fiancé/boyfriend does not want me to wear a bikini in public.” So, let’s dive into this and I’ll give you my perspective as a non-ostomate in a committed relationship with an ostomate.

Every man is different, and every man will react in a different way to various situations. That said, I think I can weigh in on this one with some level of accuracy. There are three likely POSITIVE causes for his reluctance for you to wear a bikini in public. I say ‘positive’ because if you are in a bad relationship, then all of my advice and insights are not going to be helpful. Those three things are: Overprotectiveness, Anxiety, and Fear. Not great words to associate with ostomate boy-toy’s eh? Doesn’t make it untrue as I went through each and every one of these emotional states.

I was Overprotective of my wife. I did not want people to judge her for her ostomy. They didn’t know her; didn’t know what she went through. And it was not fair for them to make assumptions based upon the gear hanging off of her abdomen. But…they WOULD make assumptions, and they would say something to ruin her day. Or….at least that is what my overprotective emotions were relaying to me. I must do all I can to help her hide her gear so she doesn’t have some asshole make a stupid remark!

I had anxiety because I didn’t want to deal with the fallout from those stupid remarks. People MUST NOT FIND OUT that she has an ostomy! If they do, they’ll give her shit, and I’ll have to deal with the emotional fallout! I’ll have to spend days or weeks helping her feel better and find ways to make life not suck! I want our lives to be happy, not ruled by the sadness that is going to come from some random jerk or judgey people.

And I felt Fear. It isn’t normal to have ostomy gear on display to the public. Women should look like they do on TV, in department store ads, and in the general public eye! A woman should be without flaw….and if a flaw is detected, physical or behavioral, then she will be ostracized as badly as Hester Prynne.   That scarlet letter on her abdomen will be a mark upon our relationship that will destroy any chance we have at a normal life!

Some or all of those are problems your man battles with in that grey-matter between his ears. Contrary to sitcoms and general stereotypes, men are VERY emotional, we just like to think we can hide our emotions. The overprotective, anxious fear he feels could be a direct result of his love for you and his need for the relationship to not fall into turmoil or a quagmire of depression and sadness. Is the possibility of your relationship being defined and dominated by your ostomy? No. Not a snowball’s chance in hell. Is the possibility that he has trouble dealing with the public perception of an ostomy and for this reason he has a fixation on 1-piece swimming suits? Almost definitely.

With that said, here’s how you deal with this problem of public perception.

Be yourself!

The ostomy doesn’t define you. It doesn’t change how you act and react to the roses and poo thrown at you in the course of your life. If you want to wear a bikini, wear one. He’ll get used to it or he’ll leave you . If he leaves you, it’ll hurt, but ultimately he likely would not have passed critical line: “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health”. Christy kept her outgoing nature and I was able to eventually get over my anxiety and overprotectiveness.

Mental Tricks!

Make him aware of a philosophy I picked up a while ago. I’m not sure how or where I ran across it, but the philosophy goes something like this: You care about yourself more than other people care about you. This philosophy works in two ways. An example of how it applied to ‘me’….I have some anxiety when making public speeches, and it took many years for me to figure out that this little item was causing me more anxiety than was reasonable. I was too worried about what people thought about me, and it was causing me to focus too damn much on the fear and anxiety of how they would react to what I was saying.

Turn the sentence/philosophy around and look at the other side. They are too preoccupied with their own life to care about my speech. Odds are, they will forget 75% of what I said, and the 25% that remains will only be a vague memory of the content of the speech, not what I was wearing, or my hair cut, or whether I stuttered mid-speech.

Once he understands thatNobody Cares

1.) We aren’t in High-School anymore, and

2.) Joe Blow on the beach cares more about what he is doing than judging your life, he will get beyond any applicable public fear.

A person is able to be himself, and let their significant other be herself. And hell…. I guarantee he’ll be a happier person!

 

Dismiss the Jerks!

Some people are jerks. They insult for the fun of insulting. Most of them are young, inexperienced people who, according to any game of Call of Duty I’ve ever played, had intercourse with my mother on several occasions. Eventually they may graduate high school and experience the real world. Then they will not have time to devote to attempting to boost their self-worth by reducing other people’s self-worth. Dismiss these cretins. Tell him that these idiots don’t matter one whit to your life or relationship. ….. maybe word that into a more flowery, tactful way….. In general, not letting some stupid jerk mess with your head, regardless of whether you are an ostomate, boyfriend of an ostomate, have red hair, have big hips, are too fat or too thin, are straight or gay, have freckles, dimples, or are wearing your ‘weekend cleaning clothes’, or are generally living life, then you will find yourself dwelling more on the good things life has to offer, than what some stranger said in an attempt to look cool or feel superior.

However, if they go too far, don’t be surprised if your boyfriend/husband punches them in their stupid face. There are limits to the types of verbal abuse we will allow someone to say at/to our significant others or close friends.

Baby Steps!

Buy your bikini, but buy a few sarongs to go with it. The first time you wear the bikini around him, wear the sarong 90% of the time. Then next time you are with him, 80% and 70%, and so on. Not only do sarongs look hella sexy on women, but it’ll give him a bit of that middle-ground between a bikini and a 1-piece. As time goes on, wearing a sarong won’t even matter anymore because he’ll have acclimated to the bikini AND he’ll have realized that the majority of people just don’t care that you are an ostomate wearing a bikini on the beach.

see nobody cares-bikini

 

Here’s an excerpt from Part 2 that I feel is still relevant and highly applicable to this post:

“Perhaps if your guy-dude-person-spouse is being overprotective, or he is pushing for longer shirts, one-piece swimsuits, or whatever, don’t assume he is ashamed to be around you, or with you, or of you.  He may just be worried about stupid people saying shit to you that will hurt your feelings for no good reason.  It only takes one snarkey emotionally shallow teenager to ruin your day.  I don’t want to see any day’s ruined.  That is no excuse for me to hold my wife back from her outgoing, expressive self.  And as long as I can recognize WHY I feel the way I feel, I can check myself when I need checking.  But it did take me some time to get to the point where I could realize these emotions.  So, if your spouse is doing stuff that seems to be overprotective, this may be why.”

 Every relationship has its semi-unique issues. The older I get, the more I understand that all relationships have some crazy and wild stuff happening. A kid with hemophilia, a crazy family member, cancer, depression, infidelities, poverty, severe disabilities, Alzheimers. The list is expansive and emotional. The thing is, if everyone is going through this stuff, then those complete strangers are too preoccupied with their own issues to devote more than a brief portion of their life to your problems. The things that trouble you matter only to your significant other, to your close friends, and to your own self-worth. Realizing this, you and your significant other will find you have the emotional freedom to enjoy you walking around, sunbathing, and swimming in that bikini.

Be well my friends.

Of Course Ostomates are Sexy!

When it came to Bethany Townsend, 23, from Worcester, the world, or at least the world of Facebook, overwhelmingly agreed. Bethany is physically striking.  And sexy.  Ostomy and all.  Townsend posted her pic on the Crohn’s and Colitis UK Facebook page. Her image was viewed by more than nine million people and has received 190,000 likes. That number just keeps growing.

Definite conversation starter.

Cheers to the power of a well posed selfie.

But along with the messages of support, ‘Hey, my mom/dad/brother went through that.’ and the ‘You’re so brave.’  There is also a sense of surprise.  Like people are just now noticing IBD, and especially Ostomates at all. But more specifically they’re seeing us in a good light.  As if the negative stereotype of Ostomates in their mind just got challenged.  In a good way.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s terrific, but hardly new news to the rest of us.

In the being brave, strong, lovely and even sexy category, Bethany isn’t alone. Not by a long shot. There are scores of beautiful Ostomates out there. So much so that Awestomy had its own #right2remainsexy campaign in July and August of 2013, giving all Ostomates the open door to proudly bask in their sexiness while encouraging others to do the same.  Empowering, validating confirmation of our continued ability to be seen as beautiful and desirable in a way many would automatically think of as ‘no longer an option’.

Vanilla Blush is another company promoting self esteem and Ostomate loveliness for all. It’s absolute perfection that Nicola Dames uses real Ostomates as models.  Not one person can dispute that those who pose for Blush are highly qualified for their positions.

And that’s what’s beautiful.  Each person that posted to Awestomy or poses for Vanilla Blush are regular people like you and I.

You know what’s really sexy?

(Because sexy isn’t just the skin deep attributes that look good in magazines or there wouldn’t be a big push to put ‘real’ people in ads.)

DUH!

It’s being okay in your own skin.  It’s confidence and openness to life.  It’s loving yourself exactly for who you are.  It’s being intelligent, educated about your disease and having the poise to represent that truthfully to the world.  It’s a kind of charisma that’s earned.

Just look around our IBD community. There are legions of intelligent, beautiful, clever, inspiring Ostomates, J-Pouchers and IBDers out there.  It could be that special someone who inspires you, who encourages you, who makes you smile or laugh. Someone who makes you feel like you’re not the only one.  That person who’s been through exactly what you have, and come out the other side.  That person open enough to share in a way that shows you hope that maybe you can try again and get there too.

I made a little list of just a few of the people who inspire me.  I admire their dedication to the IBD community and their willingness to share their journeys with us.  These people are beautiful to me.

Jason of Awestomy
Sara Ringer of Inflamed and Untamed
Maggie Baldwin of Let’s talk IBD
Sam Cleasby of So Bad Ass
Jess Grossman of Uncover Ostomy
Dan Sharp of The Great Bowel Movement
Christy of Ostomy on the Track
Paul Riome of Living Bigger with Colostomy
Frank Garufi Jr of The Crohn’s Colitis Effect
Marisa Lauren Troy of Keeping Things Inside Is Bad For My Health

And of course the list goes on…  I could easily continue.  Suffice it to say, these people are inspiring, beautiful and lovely to me.

So, great job Bethany for the selfie seen ’round the world.  People are talking, cheering you on and hopefully viewing Ostomates and the IBD community as a whole in a more beautiful light.

Now if only we can segue all that instant recognition into education.  That would be the most beautiful of all.

Sick but lovely
Because it isn’t always pretty.

I love Duck Tape

Glow in the dark Batman!
Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na (Glow in the dark) BATMAN!

I love Duck Tape. Classify me as a proud addict. I have been known to turn up the music so I could tape in a ‘party atmosphere’. I have included my kiddos to perpetuate the Duck Tape love, and encourage them to tape on their own. I even keep my tape on a stand (repurposed broken floor lamp) that resembles a stripper pole. When I look at it I giggle inwardly at the naughty secret reference and must confess all those bright colors and artistic possibilities make me giddy. I seriously have the warm fuzzies for the projects to come and frequently crave alone time to draw them out for later completion. The anticipation occupies my mind in a day dreamy warm glow. Yes, I love Duck Tape.

Repurposed broken lamp base aka The Stripper Pole.
Repurposed broken lamp base aka The Stripper Pole. (Tee Hee)

But it’s more than tape on a roll. It’s more than creativity. My love of Duck Tape is an outward expression of love for my anatomy just the way it is. My love affair is the gift of acceptance to Crohn’s Disease, Ostomy and myself as a whole human. When I wear my Duck Tape creations I am most frequently in a bikini on the beach. Just me enjoying life in strategically tied triangles of fabric with Duck Tape, sunglasses and a hat as my only accessories.

I earned the right not to hide.  So I don’t.

Feeling like a Crohn's Cutie in my hipster mustachio Ostomy cover.
Ben snuck this pic of me feeling like a Crohn’s Cutie in my super cool mustachio Ostomy.

 
People look, some stare and others inquire. And you know what? All of that is okay. Because I am okay with me.

Beach ready!
Beach ready!

Woo Hoo!  I found a tape that matches.  Totally made my day.

Dog Beach!
Dog Beach!  Check out my Take Steps visor.  Rock’n!

The one time I tried the ‘nude’ look aka no Duck Tape.  Wet nude bag = see through O.o  No thank you.  Lesson learned.

So if you have Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, J-pouch, Ostomy, Urostomy, scars, tubes, tanks, PICC lines, or what have you.  You have earned the right to not hide.  You deserve to live openly in the sun.  And if a little tape helps you along the way, go for it.

Love you my Sweet Bolognas 😀

Glamorize Your Bag!

How do I cover my Ostomy bags? With the help of Duck Tape I rock my Ostomy bag in style. In this video I show you how I cover my bags, how to remove the fabric liner, how to line up pattern, how to cut around the vent and how to reinforce the backing for a more secure, longer wear time all while looking amazing.

Join me in glamorizing your Ostomy bag, and enjoying your life as lovely as can be.

Perfect Jeans Wanted!

Hugging my husband wearing the magic jeans!  They made every occasion a comfortable one.
Hugging my husband wearing the magic jeans! They made every occasion a comfortable one.

My favorite jeans have been dead for over a month now. I actually wore them out.  As in I wore them for so long and for so well that they could not stand up to my Awesomeness anymore!  The end was a hole right by the back pocket that tore in an assward direction while I was shopping at Walmart of all places. Good Grief! I was one of THOSE ridiculously dressed Walmart shoppers.  Thank goodness for underpants.

*Presses eyes closed to bury the shame of the moment.*

I miss them terribly and MUST find a replacement.
And so, in my mind I have put up an advert:

Perfect Jeans Wanted!
*Just the right length
*Figure flattering
*Rides low enough that it can go below my Ostomy
*Rides high enough that I can tuck my Ostomy under the waist band
*None of that trendy stuff like rips, splotchy bleach stains or crazy skinny legs et al
*Must not cost a fortune
*Butt crack must not show when bending over, moving or having general fun

All applicants meet me in the dressing room.  I will be there shortly.

In all honesty the right pair of jeans is very important to me as an Ostomate and a lady.  In these jeans I never worried about my Ostomy and whether I looked good or not.  These jeans were always an automatic YES.  I felt confident and at ease in my own skin.  No tugging, bunching, pinching or being self conscious.  I could just be myself.  They were a part of me in all the best ways possible.

And yes, I am aware that I am a nut ball.

It’s all in the Booty Shorts

Awesomy!’s motto is “Ostomy apparel with attitude”.  Awestomy! Women’s Booty Shorts fit the bill and then some.  From the minute I opened the box and peeled back the vibrant, cheerfully wrapped delight I knew I was in for a treat.  On first glance I could see how beautiful and daring this panty is.  Upon further inspection, clearly the ‘attitude’ is backed up by superior construction.   Any woman would welcome this luxury.

When I first picked up the black lace booty shorts, I ran my hand over the smooth, stretchy fabric and gave it a tug.  I thought, “Oh, how nice!  These are going to move with me and follow my curves.”

I must confess that I am suspicious of lace.  It is often scratchy and unforgiving.  I rubbed the black, fine spun confection over my wrist.  It was not scratchy at all.  How’d they DO that?  With my curiosity piqued, I turned the garment inside out.

The entire creation is tailored with smooth-finished seams.  The texture feels soft and adaptable, as if the booty shorts were custom made to fit me.  Around the reinforced waist band there is a small silicone strip.  Not too much; just enough to keep this sweet dainty in place without grabbing or bunching while moving around. 

The front of the shorts have a hybrid lining/pocket system that envelops your gear.  The pocket system is designed to be compatible for either right or left sided Ostomates.  Because of the method in which these pockets are constructed, the inner lining is seamless to the outside of the garment.  No one looking at you would even know those little pockets were in there.  This clever shelf system is multi-purpose.  It holds your Ostomy bag in place, allows for a sleek look, and is a barrier between the Ostomy bag and your skin.  It works perfectly for a regular bag folded in half or a swim size bag.

What I assume may be an unintentional design perk that I never expected is that the extra pocket holds paper bills with perfect discretion.  If one were to go out on the town and needed a secret place to stash emergency cab fare…well, there you go.  A girl can never be too safe!

I was impressed with how the lower portion of the booty shorts is constructed.  Awesomy! has blended quality workmanship with exquisite form.  The smooth seams on the legs give a second-skin feel with an attractive finish.  The perfectly fitted stretch-fabric shapes to flatter your bum while accentuating your best assets.    The cotton crotch is finished off with surged edges versus folded edges.  This method provides a more comfortable fit that looks smooth from the outside without digging into ones lady parts. 

Wearing my Awestomy! Women’s Booty Shorts I feel sassy, confident, sexy, daring, and lovely!  It allows for a sleek ‘nothing there’ look; proven time and again as I strut my stuff in close fitted dresses, skirts, shorts, and fitted jeans.  Every woman wants to feel amazing in their lingerie.  The Awestomy! Women’s Booty Shorts easily achieve this by accentuating your natural effervescence. 


Plus these booty shorts make my bum look Awesome!

I am wearing a right side, full size, Hollister 2pc Lock n’ Roll appliance in this picture!

Christy ~Inspiring your journey to Ostomy Awesome!

To Learn From a Trend

 

Thank you Duck Tape!  We are now best friends in my head.

Once a week? Really?!! Yes, that is the current trend of bag exposure for the fearless CrohnieBologna.

Thank you Universe.

Today the Jump Rope Club got another public showing. Yay! My lil guy took off running full tilt. I had to drop what I was holding (my giganto water cooler thingey) to take off after him as no one else here knows he is an Alcatraz impressionist. In the Flash inspired running I was doing, my shirt worked its way up.

By the time I wrangled a flailing toddler up into my arms my bag was open for all to see! SO glad I was wearing the super pretty one that you see in the pic.

The jump rope teacher had the very same tape in his bag for decorating jump rope handles. ~What a small world; and perhaps another Duck Tape lover to chat craftiness with?? One could hope!! 😀

Lessons learned:
1) No more bringing the gigantic water cooler thingey as it distracts from watching Mr. Runoffboy.

2) Just like we all try to wear our prettiest lingerie when we know someone will see them; always endeavor to wear either super cute decorated bag or the nude color when attending activities for my childrens school. *Must NOT mortify the children.*

Let’s Talk About Sex

*Disclaimer!  I am writing this article with a specific audience in mind.  If you are healthy enough for sex then I am talking to you.  If you have just been cleared by your surgeon and you are a brand new Ostomate wondering how to jump back in then I am talking to you. If you are the partner of an Ostomate, this may be helpful for you.  If you had a longer than expected hiatus from sex and are wondering how someone else made it through something somewhat similar to you then this is for you.  If you are looking at Ostomy surgery in your future and were wondering how the transition back to sex might work after then this is for you. For that matter if you are an adult in general interested in sex I am talking to you.
Who I am NOT speaking to:  Minors.  Yep, that’s pretty much it.  This article is NOT for kids.*  
There is a myth out there that Ostomates are not sexy.  There are misconceptions about whether Ostomates even have sex.  Surely it can’t be any good, what with ‘that bag’ in the way?
In truth couples are proving this myth wrong every day.  We have energetic, passionate, rowdy, tender, flirtatious, spontaneous, tangled up, sweaty, naked, and amazing, keep the lights on and give him a good show married people fun. 
I have been married for nearly fifteen years to my dearest husband Ben.  He is funny, charming, smart, and my friend.  We have been through a lot together and make a great team.  Because of all his nifty traits, (and his lovely melty brown eyes), I trust him and don’t have to hide anything from him.  This makes for wicked awesome sex!  That’s right folks, I am his Goddess.  Bearing in mind that I have not been keeping tabs on other peoples love lives; I would consider us normal.

After surgery to become a permanent Ostomate there was a transition period.  I was learning to meld with my gear, reacclimate to being pain free, and figuring out my new activity level.  By the time I got the ‘all clear’ from my surgeon, I was ready to regain my goddess status.  But we had a few obstacles to overcome before things could get back to normal. 

The most important was body image and self confidence.  I feel sexy so I AM sexy.  Just one of those life facts that I figured out early on, and still stand by today.  I am sure if I went into hiding and pouted about my Ostomy or Crohn’s Disease I wouldn’t be cute at all.  Not even to myself—so I didn’t.  But that does not mean there wasn’t a journey.  I needed to be proactive and find a way to make this new thing work.

Because my husband is my friend I felt natural being naked with him.  But starting out I did not see my Ostomy as part of me; I was still transitioning (melding) with my Ostomy.  It was awkward to go from flat tummy to what I felt was a bulky bag.  This stoma/bag combo was a rude interloper messing up my hard work.  I was grateful for it, after all it saved my life, but did not think it was sexy.  At the time I was using the clear full length bag where you can see all your output.  Useful for a new Ostomate in regards to learning about stoma size change and output patterns, but it’s not going to have your husband panting after you by any means. 
I was concerned with being able to rock the Ostomy and be as sexy as I felt inside.  I was worried that my poo-phobic husband would not find me amazing anymore.  I was afraid that instead of passion I would get pity, disgust, or even worse- rejection.  I discovered with only small changes to my lingerie I could hide the clear bag and have fun.  But that wasn’t enough.   I hated the sense that I was hiding any part of myself and it made me cringe to think that this was the trend I was setting so early into my new Ostomy life. 
I discovered opaque bags.  And even better, I discovered the drainable small opaque bags.  Now I am hooked.  They are skin colored, tiny and perfect for my needs.  Now I could feel totally naked with my husband and not worry about Ostomy gear getting snagged in and amongst all the sexy high jinks.  It has been the perfect fit ever since.
My sweet husband had an Ostomy journey of his own to traverse.  He was stressed out in his own way and recovering from the surgery like I was.  On one hand he was grateful to have me healthy, happy and pain free. But on the other there was a real sense of loss. 
For him the Ostomy was like his wife had lost a body part.  He saw me as permanently handicapped.  No more washboard stomach and flat ‘safe area’ for him to run his hands freely over.  Instead it was replaced by a new, mysterious, and dangerous area that may cause harm if touched wrong.  He was afraid to touch my bag for fear of injuring my stoma, irritating my skin and making a wound or pulling it off during the fun.
In the first two months there was cautious reluctance on his part when it came to any physical contact beyond a gentle hug.  I could feel his efforts to be extra gentle.  I watched the expressions run across his face as his hands lightly surveyed my body.  Ben was afraid to ‘break me’.  He had been witness to what Crohn’s Disease could do and had seen me at my worst.  That was stressful on him and made a lasting impact.  So, of course he could not feel comfortable having sex with me until he was sure that I would be okay.  I was eager to get back to our active sex life but did not push him; knowing he was still working things out.  At first he was very aware of my every reaction and took special care to go slowly.  I went out of my way to show with my actions that I was more than healthy and enthusiastic.  Once he realized I was just fine, he became more comfortable.  
It was an adjustment and a definite change.  Ben welcomed my new lingerie with eager acceptance and warmed slowly to the small opaque bags.  He is still very careful about my stomach and sweetly accepts my wish to dash into the bathroom to ‘freshen up’ aka. empty my bag and sometimes switch to a small swim size bag as an addition to foreplay.  This does take some of the spontaneity out of our sex life but it is easily compensated for with a little preparation.  I often return moments later to lit candles and fluffed pillows, so I count the ‘distraction’ as a positive one.  It is not that there is no spontaneity, it has just changed.  Ben now notices when I’ve just left the bathroom and makes out with me in the hallway in effect skipping that whole ‘freshening up’ phase and getting straight to lighting each other up. 
At this point Ben has come to terms with my surgery.  It doesn’t matter if I am in a small or regular size bag, lingerie or in the buff.  Whatever I feel most sexy in is how he loves me.     
Sex is more than the in and out grinding off of one another.  It is the confirmation of our covenant expressed physically.  When a couple has sex they are feeding their relationship, nurturing each other and connecting in a spiritual way that infuses their souls.  I comfort, console, empower, and confirm him as my one and only.  Why wouldn’t I want to do that every chance I got?  The act of sex is quite claiming.  I belong to him and he belongs to me.  This fact goes beyond the presence of an Ostomy. 
For this past Lent we celebrated by putting our marriage first.  We chose to have sex every day as a gift to ourselves.  It was about giving up all those things that make you too tired, too busy, and too irritated.  Our lives are busy, so we had to carve out time and prioritize each other.  We were sweeter, made out more, and reveled in our happiness.  It was about strengthening our marriage.  Personally, I was celebrating my life and my health and the ability to participate fully in it.  It was the most glorious forty days ever!  I would highly suggest sex as a perfect way to celebrate any season of the year.
Some tips that might help
*Switch to small opaque bags for sexy times.
*If you feel timid or have a partner who is, wade in with lingerie then lean towards going without once you or your partner gets more comfortable.

*Don’t hide in the dark.  You are alive, lovely and healthy enough to have sex.  Be proud of your good stuff and celebrate that with your partner.

*Be patient with yourself and your partner.  Cut, altered, sensitive, and mute nerve endings in the perineal area –especially if you have had a proctolectomy- change sensations.
 

*Be willing to try different positions.
  Work together to learn what feels best for you.  Try things like being on top so you have better control, plenty of water based lubrication and creativity.  If something doesn’t work, don’t give up.  Just try something else.  You are only limited by your imagination and flexibility.
 
*Don’t be afraid to talk with your partner and nicely guide him to what works best.  Trust me- he wants to rock your world.  He can’t do that if you don’t help him out. 

*Practice makes perfect.   Keep trying until it is just right….then do it again!


 Happy love life everybody.

Ostomy Didn’t Ruin My Life

This is me dressed as ‘Bad Sandy’ from the movie GREASE for a sing along I attended with friends 2 weeks after my surgery.  I am a devoted wife, stay-at-home mom to a 3yo and 6yo, assistant organizer of my play group, mom n’ tot swim class, home schooling, not afraid to get dirty, camping, playing with kids on the floor, awesome gardener, stack the wood and rake the leaves super active person.  And I cook and entertain with enthusiasm and creativity.
Crohn’s really kicked my butt.  But I won!I have an Ostomy.
I don’t smell funny, look different, or walk around sad about it.
Having an Ostomy has not ruined my life.
My Ostomy saved my life.

Look for yourself.

Do you see my Ostomy?

Hint* it’s on my right side about 2 inches below the belt.