I Am A
Hi, I'm a stoma!
I am great when you think about it. I must admit I have upset many
people. Some people even consider me crude, rude and socially
unacceptable. Well, excuse me!!
Just about everyone gets bent out of shape when their doctor says,
"It may be necessary to create a stoma". Me!! They make it sound
like a dirty word. Listen, it isn't the greatest for me either.
I'm usually created from a piece of your intestines. I guess you
know all about that. And then, just maybe you don't. So I will
Becoming a stoma wasn't my original function. No sirreee!! I used
to just lie there in your abdomen, minding my own business. Then
Some surgeon decided - let's make a stoma. He had a nerve! Why??
How could he consider such a thing? Well, I guess it was because
you hurt so much, because you were very sick from a disease like
Ulcerative Colitis or cancer, from a trauma like that automobile
accident or from a birth defect. Your surgeon knew that by putting
me to work, you could be free of discomfort and problems. In
truth, so you could get on with living.
If that is why I was created, then why do so many people complain
about me? Did you know that I am not given to just anyone? You
see, there is a lot of planning and evaluation of each human being
before I am created. So I know you can say only a "chosen" million
or so in the world (35,000 in Australia) are lucky enough to have
You see - my people are special. My people are not like the normal
run-of-the-mill people. I must say it takes them a while to
recognize that fact. And, sad to say, there are a few who never
It isn't easy being a stoma! Some of you just don't understand
what a miracle I am! Listen, before creation, I just laid quiet
and usually content in your abdomen.
Now I work! It's rather easy when faecal waste comes through
because that's what I'm used to. But some character decided, why
not water waste as well? We then found out that character was very
wise because that works also.
You think YOU have problems adjusting! Phooey. Did you realize
that I am a delicate mucus membrane? Yet I am durable but some
people think I am asphalt tile. Thank God, I don't have feelings.
But my friend, skin, does. You want complaints? Give a listen to
her sometime. She really gets upset because of ulcers, fungus,
irritants, barriers, etc. We are a team! And a darn good one. I'm
moist, she is dry. I'm pink red, she is natural. I'm smooth, she
is a little bumpy.
One of my biggest problems is my size. I am not always the same
size from one human to the next. I am not always round. I don't
always protrude nicely. Then why do some of you insist that my
pouch opening is always the same? You need to check my size once
in a while and fit me appropriately. Your shoes fit, don't they?
Some of you complain because I'm not pretty. Well, your anus
wasn't Miss Australia! I think I am attractive. I am red like a
rose. I am always moist if I am healthy. And, I don't smell. My
discharge can't help what you put in your mouth. If you care for
me with thought and keep my equipment clean, that just about takes
care of that.
In closing, let me say you can live a good life, a productive
life. It's up to you. Believe me, I do not deserve a pedestal
life. I am just part of you trying to do my job. All I ask is that
you be honest about me. The doctors, Stomal Therapy nurses, other
professionals and your Ostomy Association are always ready,
willing and able to help you.
Adapted from an article by Mary Lou Thomas, RN, ET,
North Arundel Hospital via OAB Bulletin, Boston