Stop feeling discouraged … and remember why you have it.Apr 14, 2021
My bag bought its challenges. But in reality, it's stopped me from dying several times. That on its own made it absolutely amazing.
It had its off days, but we all do. It's leaked at the worst possible times (during sex, at a funeral), it made noises during business meetings, and it meant I always had to plan ahead (which I often didn’t do in the beginning). But: Would I rather go back to constantly feeling unwell, endless hospital stays, ER visits and surgeries. No, I would not.
So, this year on World Health Day (April 7th) I am joining the campaign to build a fairer, healthier world. I am doing that by celebrating my health and the health of those around me. I am speaking out to ostomates around the world and educating people, one ostomate at a time. One partner at a time. One Dr., surgeon or stoma nurse at a time.
As we know our world is an unequal one, and some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services and supplies than others – this is entirely due to the conditions conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age.
All over the world, some groups struggle to make ends meet with little daily income, have poorer housing conditions and education, fewer employment opportunities, experience greater gender inequality, and have little or no access to safe environments, clean water and air, food security and health services. This leads to unnecessary suffering, avoidable illness, and premature death.
Unsurprisingly, ostomates around the world have limited access to anything other than rudimentary supplies and little to no support. So, I chose to use World Health Day as a reminder of ‘Why You Have It!!’
You can live a full and happy life with an ostomy bag.
It does take some readjustment and getting used too, and honestly, if someone had said to me seven years ago that I would be talking about this thing that caused me so much shame to anyone, let alone publicly, I would have laughed them out of the room.
So, what changed? Why now? Why at all? We all have our little secrets, our issues to bare, the things about us we don’t want the whole world to know. My ostomy bag was mine.
A lot has changed in the last few years. There are so many things I wish I’d known earlier on. So, here I am, I fought for survival, I struggled to make sense of my pain and suffering. BUT ... I lived to tell the tale and that is what I hope to do with you here today.
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