New to Ostomy?

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 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. Linked closely to our feelings of sexuality is how we think about ourselves and our body image.