It’s funny to me the questions that people have about my relationship with Jason once I reveal that he has an ostomy. I have had this same conversation with the guy who changed the oil in my car, multiple interviewers and co-workers, a variety of vendors, the bank teller and countless others. It often starts off with the standard question,”So, what do you do for a living?” I’m sure they are expecting, “I’m in sales” or “I’m a pig farmer” but they never expect ostomy underwear business owner. It usually starts off about like this:
Random Person:”So, what do you do for a living?”
Me:”I own a ostomy undergarment and wrap business.”
Random Person: (look of confusion) “what is an ostomy?”
Me: “Well, an ostomy is an opening on the body that allows waste to exit into a colostomy bag. My boyfriend, Jason, has colostomy due to Crohn’s Disease. He’s a web designer and I’m a graphic designer and we wanted to help young, people like us who have ostomies feel comfortable and confident. So we created a company called Awestomy where we make undergarments and wraps.”
From here is where it gets interesting… people will often pry for more information about my sex life, relationship and details about how the colostomy works. I’m a very open person and I will tell anyone anything if they ask. I’m not shy about any of these topics because I love all of them. I thought it would be a good idea to write about how all of these things really effect me in my daily life from the perspective of the non-ostomate. So prepare yourself, cuz we’re about to get real here! (to my parents: stop reading)
Yes, we have sex. To be completely honest, we were going at it the first week Jason got home from the hospital after surgery. As soon as Jason got home, he began looking up ostomy wraps to wear since his ostomy is so high on his torso (this search was one of the main reasons we started awestomy!) He wears his wrap pretty much 24/7 and yes, that means during sex. It makes him feel more comfortable.
I have read about some ostomates having difficulty or pain having sex after surgery. We had a few road bumps at first, just re-learning how to do things but I’m happy to report that we were pretty much back to business as usual within 6 months after surgery. Obviously, at first he was healing and I didn’t want to hurt him but I wanted him to know that I still wanted him too. Full disclosure, there are times during our sessions that are interrupted by his noisy stoma but, I really don’t mind it at all. When we are in the moment, I’m not really thinking about his ostomy output.
I have seen too many posts about people breaking up with or getting a divorce because of their partner’s ostomy or IBD. This really frustrates me that some partners can be so superficial. I don’t see Jason’s ostomy has a big deal in terms of our relationship. Everyone poops. He just does it in a different way. Do we have to take precautions? Yes, I try to make sure that we have the emergency pouch kit and meds with us at all times. But it’s a lot like someone who has diabetes who wouldn’t leave home without their blood check meter or insulin supply. It just takes a few more moments to make sure you have what you need.
If this is the first blog post you have read about us, then you should know how grossly in love we are. I am very confident that Jason’s 3 months stint in the hospital actually brought us closer. Was it scary and difficult? Of course it was. I promised myself I would never cry in front of him in the hospital and I would try to be as strong as he was. I gave him a lot of tough love to get him out of the bed and to go on walks with me. I didn’t know anything about Crohn’s or ostomies before this year but I’m figuring it out thanks to Google and some wonderful ostomy nurses. In the hospital it got the point where Jason’s guests would ask me if I had a medical background because of the way I talked about the colostomy surgery and worked the machines in his hospital room. At this point, I could not love him more and I am thankful for his ostomy that has kept us together.
SHARING A BATHROOM WITH A BOY…. who also has an ostomy
I might be a weirdo but, I really don’t care about the bathroom. I know that the bathroom can often be a battleground but not with us.
Is it smellier? Yes, Jason doesn’t use deodorizer drops in his pouch because it makes him sick so it does smell. At this point, it doesn’t bother me as much anymore. He is very considerate about when he empties and often tries to trap the smells in the bathroom and warn me before I walk into a poop cloud. What a sweetie
Is there more stuff on the counter and in the shower? Yes. There is paste stuck on the counter and on the floor that I need to figure out how to get off… and Jason, keeps his “poop rags” in the shower that he uses during bag change days. But my stuff definitely still outnumbers his in the shower and counter top. It’s all about compromise and respect.
Have I helped to clean poop off the floor during a bag change? Yes. Life gets messy and shit happens. Literally. But it’s just poop.
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES…
I’m sure people will continue to ask me questions about my relationship with my love the ostomate. It’s all about raising awareness and breaking down stigmas about IBD and ostomies. So if you have any questions, just comment below!