“What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you about your stoma?”

Hello Pelican readers,

I hope this blog post finds you well, as always, but I know that for some of you that is not the case so I am sending lots of love and encouragement.

Dating & relationships – asking those who have had stoma surgery a question

Recently, I decided to run another question box on my Instagram around the topic of Dating & Relationships after speaking to a number of people who were worried about dating and how to get yourself into the dating world with a stoma.

This is when I decided to go with the question “what’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you about your stoma?” I wanted to show other people that it wasn’t just my experience that had been mainly a positive one when it came to dating with a stoma. I got many responses and they are listed on my Instagram post but I’ll share a few with you below:

  • “Your stoma is part of you which means I love it.”
  • “I don’t understand it yet but you’re alive & that’s all that matters.”
  • It doesn’t change the person I fell in love with in any way but for the better.”

I also asked my other half to summarise how he feels about my stoma and this was his response:

  • “I think it highlights that you’re both beautiful on the inside and the outside.”

That definitely brought happy tears and a smile to my face.

Having a stoma doesn’t make you unlovable

I always say to myself and other people when talking to them after stoma surgery that the people who matter to you don’t mind, and the people who mind don’t matter and don’t deserve your time or energy. This might seem a really short and abrupt way to look at it but it really is as simple as that and I did adopt that attitude a few years after surgery. Before then, I was scared to date.

Confining myself to dating those who understood

Image credit to Comfizz

Because of my fear of dating and worrying what others would think because I had a stoma, I did date but I confined myself to dating within the Bowel Disease and/or stoma world because I knew that chances were, I wouldn’t have to explain to them what it was or fear rejection or judgement because they’d have heard of it or have a stoma.

I did date people and have happy memories from this and it was nice to be with someone who got it so you didn’t have to explain. Those dates and/or relationships ended because of other factors. However, the one person who actually treated me the worst & was abusive actually had Bowel Disease and a stoma bag…so go figure!

It might sound cliche, but it really is them, NOT you.

If someone is going to be negative then they will be regardless and it really is their problem. You deserve so much better and someone who is worth your love and being in your life will embrace you and love you for who you are with a stoma. Your stoma is part of you, it isn’t your entirety.

How things are for me now

My fiancé I met outside of the IBD & stoma world, nearly 5 years ago (I had my surgery in 2011) & he’s so supportive & embraces the person I am, stoma & all (& so should the right person!) On our first date, I had a bag leak on the walk back to his & he was so calm & reassuring with it & asked if there was anything he could do to help. He helped me get my bag leak sorted when I was back, as would I with him if it was the other way round and as would the right person. He wears a stoma bag on World Ostomy Day each year and even puts liquid in it so he can get a feel of what it’s like for me and to empty a bag. Also, he accompanies me on hospital visits and sometimes my Mum does, and he has slept in the car overnight outside A & E just to be on hand for hugs.

Whether you have a stoma or not, illness or not, scars or not, nobody is perfect and the right person won’t expect you to be perfect. Somebody who loves you and is worth your time won’t see what you see as flaws as flaws and will love you in spite of your worries and elements of yourself which you don’t like. Having a stoma isn’t a flaw and neither is having an illness. Having a stoma isn’t the end of your love life. It is just the start. Just like it was the beginning of being able to live properly for me and not just survive in agony and not being able to eat or drink. It has enabled me to feel better about myself over time which in turn has enabled me to see that I do deserve to be treated right and to be happy with someone.



Meet the blogger: Amy

Everybody, meet Amy! She is 29 years old & is a Yorkshire girl. Amy has had Crohn’s Disease symptoms as long as she can remember but was diagnosed at age 7