Some tips and strategies for dealing with the setbacks and frustration that comes from living with a stoma.
Coping with the changes after ostomy surgery can be a bumpy ride with many ups and downs along the way. There's no magic cure, but in time you will achieve balance and happiness in your life - just like others who have been through similar challenges have done.
At first you were probably concerned about all the practical skills you had to learn. And maybe you felt primarily relieved because the surgery was part of a treatment for a disease or at least for significant medical issues.
But as you begin to return to daily life, feelings of confusion and frustration might start to emerge. While there's no universal solution for dealing with these feelings, there are certain things you can do to regain balance in your life.
It is not uncommon to experience a loss of control over your situation. If that's the case you should take an active part in every decision concerning your ostomy, from choosing your products to setting the boundaries for what you are and aren't ready for. This will give you a greater sense of control – and that will without a doubt make you feel stronger.
It is also quite natural to feel a certain sense of identity loss, as if somehow you became someone different after the surgery.
In that aspect it's important to keep doing things you used to do and enjoy before. Not to be nostalgic about life before surgery, but to remind yourself of all the positive experiences you can still enjoy.
Make a list of all the things you used to do and enjoy before, and make sure that you continue to do at least a few of these things each month. And remember: It is only your physical circumstances that have changed. Not who you are as a person.
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