A Colostomy By Any Other Name

Working in the social media space for Awestomy, I use Twitter to find out what is going on in the world. Many times I will look for keywords such as #stoma, #IBD, #Crohns or #ostomy to see what people are talking about in the community. However, when I search for #colostomy it is often a whole different community of people that show up: The Uneducated.

Take a gander at some of the gems we’ve found in this colostomy mash-up:

Search Colostomy on Twitter

Different Term, Different Results

Does this make my blood boil, you bet your ass. People would never talk this way about a mastectomy, chemo or any other life-saving procedure in this manner. It’s things like this that make me realize how important education, raising awareness and supporting bowel related non-profits truly is.  As far as education and acceptance goes about ostomies, we have a long road to hoe.

What I find interesting about these tweets is based on the term you search for you receive a totally different attitude. The word colostomy often times results in a negative attitude, however our “in the know” term ostomy provides mostly a positive attitude, support, and assistance.

The Ostomy Choice?

What I find interesting in some of the tweets above is that they suggest that there is a choice between doing one thing and having a colostomy. The problem for us ostomates is the fact that many times the choice is made for us. We are given ostomies because without it we wouldn’t be around. Our situation is so dire that this is the last resort to restore us to health. If I was to rearrange one of the tweets for ostomates I would state, “If I had the choice of a colostomy bag or being dead, I’d choose the colostomy bag.”

I believe with out a doubt if you polled the majority of patients who’ve had an ostomy placed, they would say that an ostomy has saved their life or allowed them to thrive with fewer worries.

Look, I Get It

I believe I’ve said before that a colostomy is an easy comic target. The easiest overall explanation is this:

“People are afraid of things they don’t understand.”

This is what allows the “comedy” of an ostomy. It’s is also a stereotype that has been placed on us. Stereotypes are funny because at times they are true. However this “ewww” reaction doesn’t make any sense. We eliminate waste, you eliminate waste. We are just forced to do it in a different way, unpopular to the masses.

To Whom it May Concern

My purpose is not to spew anger in this post, but to end it with some education & awareness. For any individual reading this who may not understand what an ostomy is let me quickly educate you. An ostomy (colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy) is a surgical procedure on a patient that is done to create an opening where waste can leave the body. This is done for numerous reasons including disease, digestive issues, an injury.

Many times patients have multiple procedures besides the initial ostomy surgery some have the ability to be reconnected, and some have their ostomies permanently. Although we may not look sick or am comfortable sharing the fact that we own an ostomy, we have more intestinal fortitude than some will ever know.

What I think you’ll find is that a large percentage of ostomates are willing to share the things they have gone through. I also believe you’ll be surprised that we also have a sense of humor about our condition with more heightened and accurate jokes than your blanket statements.

Please feel free to educate yourself and connect to an ostomy related organization to learn more.

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About Jessica Demaree

Hi there! I'm a born and raised Hoosier, and co-owner of Awestomy. I love what I do and tackling exciting challenges. I'm an art nerd & love meeting new people. Queen of ostomy underwear with pockets and ostomy wraps with pockets.

One Response to “A Colostomy By Any Other Name”

  1. Hollie March 9, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    Bravo! When I read the tweets, my blood boiled. I am so thankful for those who continue to educate, advocate & make aware! While I am not an Ostomate, my mother was (she is deceased) and if anyone ever made a comment like those tweets, I would simply lose my mind. However, I know better and I know these people are just ignorant to a lot of things that are your’s and my reality. While I love you for what you do, Jessica & the rest of the Awestomy! crew, it is apparent that there is so much more work ahead of us. I’m proud to stand next to you and do my part for Ostomates and people with IBD everywhere! I have Crohn’s Disease…it does not have me! <3

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