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Hi all , I've never done any kind of blog before so I hope someone finds it interesting ?? The sailboat in the pic is not mine , it just shows my favorite place - San Francisco Bay . All the giant crabs you can eat , water clean enough to swim in but chilly , downright cold actually .and dangerous , very dangerous if you venture a swim at the wrong beach . You have to be adventurous to enjoy life . We all have been close to death , Ostomy people I mean !! so.. no big deal ! First my big TIP for the day , MICROPORE SURGICAL TAPE by 3M . Takes a kicking and keeps on sticking ( hey that's a pretty good line , are you listening 3M ) I was in Virginia recently staying on an Island , Chincoteague Island , to be precise . I was staying with my sister at her place . Assateague Island has the great beach . This island has a population of wild horses and NO people and is teeming with wildlife of all types . The beach is a beautiful white sugary sand created from the remains of Oyster shells over millions of years . The huge waves crashing on the beach have pulverized the shells to the consistancy of powdered sugar . These same waves will pulverize any swimmer who is careless , lots of lifeguards , I'm just trying to be dramatic ( nervous smile ) .Anyway my point is ....... I got the courage to take off my shirt and swim in these huge , ten foot or more , crashing waves with just regular swimming trunks on . I was thrown around like a rag doll at times . A huge wave crashed down on my back and it felt like I'd been hit with a baseball bat , thrown flat on my back and another crashed right on my belly , square on my Ileostomy . I thought " I'm screwed " . My sister had gone back to the house and left me for a few hours to enjoy the sun and all I had was a towel and sandals !!! I was sure I had been overly optimistic about the security of my bag . The waistband of the swimming trunks falls right on top of the Stoma so I had to keep it above or below the Stoma site . Above the Stoma it just looks too weird , I'm way too vain for the "old man" look , and too young and I might add fine looking I kept ithe waistband just below the Stoma while I was in the water and just on it when out of the water . To prepare the site I clean it in the shower very carefully , making sure all sticky bits , glue etc , are removed . I then shave ( I have a hairy belly !!!) as smooth as possible with a fresh blade . Run your fingers back and forth to be sure there is no stubble at all . Stubble is the kiss of death for the wafer . For hygene , leaks, I shave the LOT - ya know what I mean , cleanup is much easier , and it feels nice I must admit , makes everything look bigger too . I use the solid washer-like Stoma seal first , then the wafer , in the diamond shape so it sticks out further on the sides . The diamond shape extends across what's left of my scar and is more secure The tape , in 4 strips is placed in a square on the wafer , under the plastic ring , tight to the ring . The plastic ring of the wafer is taped seperately on all 4 sides . The tape is almost transparent and it lets your skin breathe . I have had this on for a week with the same wafer and had no leaks . Other tape I've used makes me itch and gave me pimples , not this one . You will not even know it's there .I use the 2 inch roll and this is about $8 - $9 .You can get it cheaper on the net .CVS or Wallgreens will usually have it , If your scar is healed and is near the Stoma use an extra strip of tape on the side with the scar , it will leak here first .If the skin around the Stoma is raw then leave it exposed to the air for as long as possible when changing . It feels good also to stand or lie down without having a plastic bag stuck to your belly , if it is not too active I leave it as long as possible . Feeling and seeing my body without the THING is like meeting an old friend who will have to go away again too soon , you get your body back for a few short minutes and it has to go into hiding again . The world might see your defect , damaged goods , thats you !! This is why I proudly walked along that perfect beach among the most beautiful women I could imagine with perfect bodies in perfect bikinis , the lifeguards , more perfect bodies manned their towers ready to save lives .I held my chin up , my shoulders back with a little smile on my face enjoying the life I had given up so much in order to keep . The battles other people , doctors, family members as well as myself had fought on so many occaisions in order to keep blood pumping through my veins , these battles were fought for this , this moment in time , as well as every other moment of life I will ever experience , these snapshots of existance add up to form the life that was saved . Tomorrow I might feel miserable , every snapshot is different . This is why I love photography , the microsecond that is captured will never happen again , ever , in exactly the same way . When I photograph someone's face it is forever changed . The light will be different , the skin slightly different , the expression can never be the same in two photographs . I will not be the same person tomorrow as I am today . I have found that the times that I remember with the greatest pleasure lasted only a very short time . In my memory the better the time was the longer it seemed to go on but the fact is that those are snapshots of pleasure or wonder or simply something experienced for the first wonderful time , there can only be one First time , the rest are copies . Each moment must be relished and cherished as the unique thing that it is.One moment on that beach is one I will cherish forever . I had come out of the water and was walking back to my starting point along the beach , my head leaning back catching the heat on my face , smiling slightly , contentedly to myself . I turned my head and a very beautiful women was walking towards me , long beautiful legs , wearing a tiny red bikini , curves and bumps exactly where they should be ( and noplace else ) She looked directly into my eyes , then her eyes focused on my stoma site , then back to my eyes , she winked and a little smile came to her lips , I thought , " she knows " and she was thoughtful enough to give me a wonderful gift of acknowleging the courage it took for me to risk what I could not have imagined a short time before . She may have been a nurse , if so her patients are blessed. This kind of empathy is so important , especially for Ostomates . I felt dirty , disgusting . unclean etc etc after I got my Ostomy . I never knew when it was going to leak or come loose in public , I thought it smelled and generally was a disfiguring addition to my body , I hated myself , I was consumed by self loathing . Nobody understands this unless they have hands on experience with the condition . If anyone actually reads this ?? have you ever contemplated the ultimate solution to a seemingly insurmountable problem , ending the fear and loathing for good ?? I had and have people who love me and my main consideration was what this solution would do to them , how many lives would I ruin , how many people would blame themselves . In the intervening years I have had the satisfaction of being with and giving my time to family members who desperately needed a family member to step in and help when a non-family member would not have been acceptable for the people involved . If there is any interest in this I may explain . I think I may have rambled on too long so if there is anyone still reading at this point -- thanks . I think some pics of how I arrange my tape would be useful for some new ostomates and others so I might add some photos or a short video showing my technique .. OK I will broach the subject sex !! for the single hetero guy ?? I don't want a long comitted relationship any tips for me ?? All advice accepted or criticism . Eamon .
Just a quick "brag" about Charlene. Sorry! She is just starting ninth grade and went out for varsity swimming and she made it!! It's exciting, it's affirming and she's so proud. At the end of seventh grade she went out for lacrosse and didn't make it, so a bad memory has been replaced with a good memory! We're so pleased for her. **I forgot to mention that Charlene made varsity without her coach knowing about her Crohn's disease and ostomy (I think). She of course had the requisite Dr's physical, and we noted her condition on the interval form allowing for updates, etc., since the physical. But, I'm not sure the coach reviews those. When she arrived at tryouts, her main concern was her ankle, which she had badly sprained at Camp Oasis the week before. Anyway, we think she was accepted onto the team without prejudice, is what I'm saying!! The day I DID send in a note explaining her situation (which sometimes causes her to have to rest when others don't have to) she swam every lap in practice. Clearly she is not disabled by her disease much any longer. That's makes a mom like me very happy!!
This link will take you to the list of chapters, which cover the following topics: What Is A Colostomy? What Does a Stoma Look Like? The Stoma Nurse At The Hospital About The Pouches Prescriptions The Stoma Routine Problems With Diet Travel Sports and Swimming Returning to School or Work Relationships Sex and Pregnancy Colostomy Irrigation Food and Drink Effects Chart Leakage and other Skin Problems http://ostomyland.com/mainsite/?page_id=3