So you have an ostomy.  Now what?

Where do I find experienced nurses?

Certain nurses are trained specifically for ostomy care. Fitting, products and complications are more easily addressed by people trained specifically for our state. Email and we'll connect you to some great medical experts.

If I just knew someone in the know...

As a support group, Elm City Ostomy Association offers moral and educational support to those who are facing or have had ostomy surgery. ECOA does this through members who have learned to live with an ostomy. ECOA provide an ostomy visitors program which offers one-on-one support by a trained certified visitor. Visits can be made in person to the hospital, home or by telephone to answer initial concerns of the new patient. A visitor serves as a positive role model for a new Ostomate.

What does everyone think about me now?

After surgery, new ostomates may fear that their social role may be changed and that others may not accept them as in the past. One of the first concerns seems to be how to tell others about your surgery, who to tell and when.

• Ostomates can explain surgery with a few brief statements such as, “an ostomy is a surgical procedure for the diversion of bowel (or bladder).”

• Ostomates do not have to tell everyone about surgery. Be selective about who and how much to tell. It may be only to friends who will be supportive through rehabilitation.

• Returning to work place may present a concern about restroom facilities, interaction with co-workers, and feelings of being “watched.”

• A few co-workers may need to know in the event of an emergency.

• Employability and insurability are issues for some individuals. If these issues develop, seek help from healthcare professionals and/or talk with others who have found solutions.

• Sexuality issues are common concerns for the new ostomate. Linked closely to our feelings of sexuality is how we think about ourselves and our body image.

• Any sexuality concerns should be discussed between the patient and his/her partner. An intimate relationship is one in which it matters how well two people can communicate about the most personal of human functions, that is, bodily elimination and sex.