I have been able to complete long journeys with my stoma. I try to make sure I travel with spare stoma bags in my luggage. I avoid eating spicy food and fizzy drinks when travelling by plane to prevent any problems in the bag due to air pressure. It is possible to travel long distances without needing to change a stoma bag, emptying it at convenient points of the journey. I have been supplied with a RADAR key which allows me to access disabled toilets benefiting from the privacy and facilities offered.
Playing football brings me a lot of pleasure and the exercise is good for my overall mood and wellbeing. I was fearful leading up to my surgery that my days playing would be numbered. It turns out I’ve played as much as I ever did, if not more, without any issues.
In 2014 I completed a half marathon working on my fitness and stamina. Having a stoma hasn’t held me back. To make sure I can train without any problems I make sure I stay hydrated and sometimes consume a rehydration drink after a run. This contains the correct balance of salts and minerals to help my body replenish and recover.
The thought of eating a restricted diet didn’t sound like much fun to me. I’ve been very fortunate that there hasn’t been anything I have had to cut out of my diet - I just make sure I chew my food properly and take particular care when eating vegetables, which my body finds harder to digest now. I am able to enjoy spicy food like curry without any problems.
When I had my ileostomy I thought my days in the water were over but wearing a wetsuit, catching waves and even messing around on a body board has been no problem. I can wear a stoma guard to protect the stoma from impact with the board in big waves.
In terms of friendships it is up to me whether I go into detail about the operation I had and the resulting stoma. I have been able to be honest with close friends who have shown me respect and have encouraged me about how I am coping. I was engaged at the time of my operation - I have found that it hasn’t changed how my wife feels about me, she accepts me just as I am. Having a stoma hasn’t caused problems in our sexual relationship. Overall, going through something difficult strengthened our love for each other. This has helped me to grow in confidence and not let any body image concerns adversely affect me.
In terms of friendships it is up to me whether I go into detail about the operation I had and the resulting stoma. I have been able to be honest with close friends who have shown me respect and have encouraged me about how I am coping. I was engaged at the time of my operation - I have found that it hasn’t changed how my wife feels about me, she accepts me just as I am. Having a stoma hasn’t caused problems in our sexual relationship. Overall, going through something difficult strengthened our love for each other. This has helped me to grow in confidence and not let any body image concerns adversely affect me.
Currently I am training for a half-marathon working on my fitness and stamina. Having a stoma hasn’t held me back. To make sure I can train without any problems I make sure I stay hydrated and sometimes consume a rehydration drink after a run. This contains the correct balance of salts and minerals to help my body replenish and recover.