In December 2022, Ostique launched their podcast series “Chatting Sh*t With Ostique”, hosted by Olivia Rose, Ostique’s Chief Marketing Officer, covering a wealth of topics. Guests include IBD warriors, cancer survivors and thrivers and others from all walks of life and Ostique explore so many topics of ostomy life from sex to working out, helpful advice, ostomates’ stories, top tips, things to expect, all with honesty, giggles & a sprinkle of love on the top!
As of 12th March 2023, Olivia has chatted to 8 guests since the launch of the podcast in December 2022. In today’s blog post, I am going to give you a summary of each of the podcast episodes and also post links to these for you to head straight to give them a listen.
To go to Ostique’s podcast series homepage on Spotify, click here. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Ostique kicked off their podcast with episode 1, talking to Holly Fleet about topics such as how to tell a new sexual partner you have a stoma, her Playboy bid, why having preventative stoma surgery can be so important and much more.
Something Holly spoke about so vulnerably was showing your insecurities and dealing with negative comments online (thankfully I’ve had very few). It really costs nothing to be kind and you really don’t know what people are going through. Somebody could be standing next to you, internally falling apart and you wouldn’t know. Unfortunately, a lot of people feel the need to tear others down, especially when it comes to sexuality with a stoma and being very open as a woman with an ostomy. She also discussed how worrying it can be about intimacy after stoma surgery and how you can approach this in a relationship. Holly explained how sometimes, people feel like there must be something “special” that needs doing after stoma surgery to have sex, which can be quite a common misconception and how these things aren’t true, especially once you experience things first-hand for yourself.
*Trigger warning - discussion of suicidal thoughts, mental health and fertility* I had the honour of being asked to be a podcast guest for Ostique and of course, I said “yes”. We covered many topics about living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) including my diagnosis at age 7, how stoma surgery both changed & saved my life, the impacts of surgery on my gynaecological health, fertility worries, how I use my experience to help others and much more.
3. Episode 3 - Contact Sports with a Stoma with guests Tom Kaye & Steven Fisher 18th January 2023
*Trigger warning - discussion of mental health & suicidal thoughts*
In the third episode of “Chatting Sh*t With Ostique, Tom & Steven joined host, Olivia, to discuss their experiences with IBD, the importance of exercise and how to get back into this post stoma-surgery, mental health, the pros of being part of a team, playing contact sports with a stoma & a breadth of other topics.
Listening to Stephen & Tom was really interesting, having never played contact sports with my ostomy. I always wondered whether playing rugby would actually feel different with an ostomy to which they both explore how it isn’t for them barring how they prepare in terms of support wear etc. Also, Tom raised a really good point about how with contact sports, your body is geared up to defend yourself anyway, so you naturally look out for yourself and protect yourself. I’d never thought of contact sports much with an ostomy or points such as this before listening to this episode.
*Trigger warning - discussion of mental health, cyber-bullying & death*
Episode 4 brought us host Olivia and guest Richard Davies, discussing many things surrounding living with Stage 4 Bowel Cancer. Richard spoke openly about processing his diagnosis along with his wife, how he stays positive, how cancer has driven his desire and passion to do more than ever before, the “darker” side of social media and his urge to be proactive in creating a positive space to having open conversations and so much more.
Richard speaks so openly and vulnerably about experiencing bowel problems and potential warning signs in his poo such as blood from when he was 18 into his 20s, right up to when he experienced severe pain from a tumour blocking his bowel. He tells us how even though he has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, that he is a positive person by nature and has few bad days. Amazingly, he tells us that “cancer will bring me to my knees physically but not mentally” which shows such sheer determination and fight.
Rich also tells us how “everyday that’s a healthy one is a good day” and to take one day at a time. I can relate to this so much throughout my Bowel Disease, ostomy and health journey as I definitely feel blessed and extremely grateful on the days where I do not experience pain.
5. Episode 5 - Hope, Dating and Sexual Liberation with a Stoma with guest Bethany Russell 3rd February 2023
*Trigger warning - discussion surrounding death, loneliness, mental health, cancer, fertility & miscarriage*
Bethany Russell joined host Olivia in episode 5, openly and vulnerably speaking about receiving a cancer diagnosis and the things it can impact such as work, loneliness and also the power of hope. Bethany also spoke about dating whilst receiving cancer treatment, sex with a stoma, the fight to feel like yourself again & much more.
Bethany’s attitude to having a bowel cancer diagnosis and living with an ostomy is so uplifting and encouraging. From speaking about confidence with a stoma as a very sexual person, ostomy bag accidents in the bedroom and how she overcame her low moments, she really struck a chord with me when she shared some of her tips. “Don’t associate yourself with anyone else’s story” - this is so true! Whether this be with cancer, health or life in general, your story is your own and the only story you should compare it to is your own.
6. Episode 6 - Training & Nutrition with an Ileostomy with guest Aisling Carson 17th February 2023
Next, episode 6 aired in February and Aisling joined Olivia to share some great tips for ostomates surrounding topics such as fitness training with a stoma, debagged some myths surrounding this, travelling and living abroad with a stoma, her work as a personal trainer, learning to love your body after stoma surgery & more.
Aisling discusses how she had symptoms as a child but none of which she can remember hugely, but when she turned 17, she really remembers her symptoms ramping up. She was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, when she was 17 and candidly talks about the struggles of sitting her AS levels and studying with the urge to go to the toilet.
She had surgery 3 years after her diagnosis to form her ostomy and there are so many points in this podcast I can relate to, such as how much she struggled with food and had to avoid alcohol before surgery like the plague. She also speaks about how when she woke up from surgery, she was screaming and crying in pain but at the same time she felt such relief, because she knew it was a pain that would get better. This is exactly how I felt after my ostomy surgery.
*Trigger warning - discussion of cancer, disordered eating, death & fertility.
In the next episode of “Chatting Sh*t With Ostique”, Olivia was joined by Nat Woodward, discussing topics such as her cancer diagnosis, how deep and beautiful friendships can develop through hardship, how to find hope and positivity even on the tough days, reaching a place of quiet acceptance with your stoma & more.
I always enjoy listening to Nat talk and share her experiences. An important and interesting point she raises is that we are always going to be healing from traumas. She explains how there will be days where you hate your ostomy then days where you don’t think about it & how we all have individual triggers in our recovery and grieving process such as watching other people get stoma reversals. Although we can be happy for them, there is still part of us that grieves with the part that we won’t have that chance.
8. Episode 8 - Managing High Output Stomas with Dr Mark Samaan (Consultant Gastroenterologist at Guy’s & St.Thomas in London) and Dearbhaile O’Hanlon (Senior Specialist Gastro Dietician at Guy’s & St. Thomas) 3rd March 2023
In the most recent episode, high output stomas were delved into and various things surrounding them such as what can trigger higher output, why some stomas are naturally higher in terms of output and ways of output management. Other elements such as pregnancy and output and how to prepare yourself pre-surgery were also discussed.
I found this podcast episode super interesting and educational so this is one I’m sure lots of you will also find the same. It was really interesting to find out that around ⅓ of ostomies will be high output at some point, whether that settles down in recovery or where for some, they have a high output for a longer term. So many things factor into this which the podcast explains and another interesting fact I learnt is that Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) is designed to mimic the same concentration as our bowel wall.
If you haven’t listened to this podcast yet, make sure you catch up as there is so much to take away from every episode.
Would you like to be a guest and share your story & chat with the lovely Olivia? Leave a comment below or contact Ostique via their website.
Until next time,