‘You should cover that up!’
‘You shouldn’t have that on show!’
‘It’s not nice to look at!’
…Obviously, I don’t need to do any of those things.
My confidence in my body is fuelled by more than what it looks like to others.
My confidence comes from still being alive to enjoy myself.
When I was first diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer, I was distraught. I bought into the negativity thrown at having a stoma, I didn’t even know anyone with one, but I thought in that instant how grim and dreadful it was going to be.
I wanted to survive cancer obviously, but I really felt my days of going out, seeing friends, holidays, adventures and a full life were behind me. I couldn’t picture what life with a colostomy could look like.
Now, I appreciate that a lot of people don’t ever come to terms with having a stoma, and I totally get that.
But my stoma life turned out to be something unimaginable to me back then - vibrant, full and beautiful beyond all and any expectations.
So when and if I face criticism from people who know nothing about me I’m not terribly bothered. I wouldn’t say it’s like water off a duck’s back, I’m not impervious to cruel remarks, I’m human, it hurts.
But I am powered by knowing this life is all too often cut short, and I refuse to allow negativity to affect me.
If I want to wear something, I decide on it based solely on how I think it looks and how it feels on. I’m not going to run through a checklist of who will and will not approve.
I’m 12 years in now and to this day I’m delighted to still be here. I think my friends and family would agree that I radiate positivity about my colostomy life.
Yes, it’s true, I actually prefer it to the old-fashioned way. ;)
So whether I want to wear a bikini on holiday or want to wrap it up in a hundred layers, it will always be based on what I want to do, and how I feel about it.
We should all appreciate our bodies more. We should all be bold and proud of our bodies.
I have been everywhere in the world I ever wanted to go. I have been to more places with a colostomy than I ever did pre. I feel very grateful to my stoma for allowing that to happen.
Life is for living and living well! :)
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