Please remember who you are:
You are lovely just the way you are. You have earned the right to be okay in your own skin. You have earned the right not to hide. So Don’t. Your life and your story are valuable.
So there I was having a bad hair day. To top it off I had laundry to fold. Not horrid. But not fabulous either. To cheer myself up I slapped on a green bandanna to cover my hair, and match my green bikini, spiffed up my ostomy bag with some barrettes, and set out to the back yard where I staged the laundry baskets around my picnic table. Folding laundry on a sunny day is exactly the spoon full of sugar to make everything far more delightful.
Kids are crafting, I’m folding and somewhere in all that new found industrious zen I decide to officially submit a pic to the #GetYourBellyOut campaign. (There is also a community support page on Facebook) Why not? I’d posted many a pic of my belly before. This is a movement for education that I’d seen and thought was quite clever. It was my turn to participate. In no time flat a pic was shared. Cheers to education and advocacy. Ostomates go to the beach like everyone else. Yay!
And then this happened:
I’m in an article in the El Diario. vvv
Bikini photo inspires hundreds of patients with Crohn’s disease
Turns out, that pic shared to a closed group ended up out in the world. *Several lessons learned for me.* In the end I decided to own the situation and shared that same image on my own twitter et al.
Now if I may please add a couple gentle corrections. This article talks only about Colostomy bags as though all bags are the Colostomy variety.
Colostomy~ a stoma coming from the colon to exit stool
Ileostomy~ a stoma coming from the small intestine or ileum to exit stool
Urostomy~ a stoma coming from the bladder or ureters to exit urine
And any combo there within.
The general term would be Ostomate.
In addition, the article suggests that Bethany’s pic ‘triggered a movement’ where people then began to share their Ostomy selfies. This is not true. Perhaps some people saw Bethany’s pic and decided to share. Which is great if people have felt empowered by her. However, her share did not trigger a movement more than it highlighted a movement for education and awareness that was already there. To read Bethany’s original feature here she states ‘She got in touch with Crohn’s and Colitis UK Facebook group to see if they would let her post something on their page.’ Bethany sought her local education and awareness group to see if she could participate. And good for her. From there the world of Facebook took notice. She started conversations that have lead to greater awareness. Cheers to her for that.
Now that I have cleared up those errors I can say that the media seems to be slowly improving in a way I appreciate. They are showing Ostomates in a good light which I hope will lead to a break down of negative stereotypes. And they’re getting the terms more accurate over time. We need much more of that.
*Updating to add because it’s very much the same photo and article regurgitated into different papers. Does no one respect original writers or what?*
I’m on the cover of The Huffington Post below Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany. THAT is never going to happen again.
Here’s a link to that Huffington Post article
There were more news outlets as well….
In the end I learned a lot from this experience, both positive and negative.
The laundry got folded, the world kept moving and my Grandma was pretty impressed about the Angela Merkel thing.