Who Farted?

funny-dog-pictures-casual-farted

My colon is intact but cancer destroyed my sphincter muscles, which means I could either wear adult diapers the rest of my life or get a colostomy bag.  For me it was a no brainer– I went with the bag.  The bag I use comes in two parts:  A wafer which looks like a large Band-Aid with a hole in the middle (so the stoma can poke through) is attached to my skin. The bag (also called a pouch) is attached to the wafer which catches whatever comes out of me. The whole thing covers my stoma (a part of my intestine, which pokes out about an inch outside of my abdomen). The stoma looks like raspberry.

The pouch is made from material similar to a rubber glove or balloon. When my stool comes out from the stoma it flows directly into the bag. The bag works best if there is always a small amount of air inside, which brings me to the subject of “farts.”

Did you know that every single creature on the planet farts… even termites? In fact according to The Fart Facts website (yes it exists. Look it up if you don’t believe me) they come in “number one” as being the gassiest of all creatures! You’re probably thinking where is she going with this? What does colostomy bags have to do with farts?

Plenty!

Like I mentioned earlier, cancer destroyed my sphincter muscles;  a group of important, ring shaped muscles located at the entrance of my bum and their job is to keep “everything” inside until I’m ready to release the contents — including farts.

You know what that’s like; we’ve all been there. You feel a fart coming on and you’re in a public place or on a date and the last thing you want is to let out a loud fart (unless you’re with teenage boys. Then it becomes a competition); so the first thing you do is squeeze those muscles tightly until the urge passes. If your sphincter muscles are broken, there’s nothing to squeeze.

The first time I found out mine were kaput was at the deli counter at a Sprouts grocery store. I was with James, my son and I had just got out of the hospital after my rear end had been cauterised to stop the bleeding from the tumor that grew there. Three people were in line ahead of us when I felt the “urge.” I squeezed my cheeks together and nothing happened! Luckily it was a silent fart– but you know how those go. I stood there hoping for the best until James looked at me and said, “Mom. Is that you?”

l couldn’t speak. All I could do was laugh.  A few seconds later, the people in front of us started looking around.They appeared to be in distress, which made James and I laugh harder. They had to know that toxic odor was coming from me. It didn’t take long before the only ones left was me, James and the poor deli clerk who looked like she was going to faint. She quickly filled our order and I pretended I didn’t know anything was wrong.

A few months later I got the bag and thought my farting problems was over because now everything went through my stoma. It turns out, stomas don’t have muscles to hold in unwanted odors or noises either.

A couple of years ago I was at a lecture, sitting five rows back from the stage.  About fifteen minutes into the lecture, my stoma thought it would be funny to “cut loose.” All of a sudden, what sounded like gun fire erupted from my bag. Two women sitting in front of me turned around and stared at me. The woman sitting next to me smirked. I sat there looking confused, blinking my eyes (and trying not to laugh) hoping they would think the noise didn’t come from me. A minute later my bag sounded like fireworks. This time there was no way to deny the explosions weren’t coming from me. One of the women in front of me turned around again and said, “How rude!” The woman sitting next to me busted out laughing which made me laugh. Unfortunately the guy on stage heard us and angrily asked, “Would you ladies like to let everyone in on the joke?”  I waved my hand no and kept giggling. Luckily my stoma remained quiet for the rest of the evening.

I named my bag “Whoopie” since it sounds like a Whoopie Cushion. Years ago I bought one with the sole purpose of placing it under chair cushions and waited for an unsuspecting person to sit on it.

Now the jokes on me.

Actually, my bag is worth any “perceived” problems. I always had a wicked sense of humor so farting ain’t no big deal and I raised a son who thought farting was a sport, especially when he was with his friends.

Be well!

ingebird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Influential Ostomates Living a Vegan lifestyle

A few days ago I received an email from Christine Kim, the founder of Ostomy Connection, a website dedicated to helping ostomates stay connected by  sharing stories and events. Christine asked me if I would share how becoming vegan made my life better in a post she was writing.

Well…of course!

If you would like to read her article, click here.

Be well!

ingebird

I’m Lovin’ My Colostomy Bag

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I have an ostomy bag.

It makes my life better.

Before that I went through adult diapers like crazy and I couldn’t keep any weight on. After the colostomy surgery I didn’t have as many bowel movements and my weight stabilized. Now I lead a pretty normal life and definitely a less stressful one! Most people who know I wear a bag attached to my abdomen are online. I don’t advertise it unless my bag “goes off” while I’m in a public place and the noise draws attention to me. That’s when I either laugh it off and say nothing, or give a quick lesson on the benefits of an ostomy. I’ve never had anyone say anything derogatory about my bag to my face and frankly even if someone did, I would shrug it off –because I do not care what anyone thinks about my bag or me for that matter. I like myself just the way I am and I’m grateful to be alive. That’s all that matters.

The reason I decided to write this post is because a fellow ostomate was deeply offended by a remark (actually it was a dumb joke) made by someone (who does not have an ostomy)  about having a colostomy bag. (Whew! Trying to write that last sentence and make it make sense, got me all tangled up in my own underwear!)The funny thing is, this person who got offended is a writer and believes in “free speech” in general, but apparently joking about colostomy bags is over the line. In other words, free speech is good unless you are the target of that speech.

I also believe in free speech and that means speech I may not agree with. Someone can make fun of colostomy bags all day long and my response is, “Who cares?” I will admit years ago I said I wanted shoes to my match my colostomy bag (as in handbag. Get it? Your shoes should always match your bag). Back then, I didn’t know what a colostomy bag was. I was ignorant and you can bet I never dreamed I’d actually have one–but I do. Maybe it was a law of attraction thing. Who knows? I don’t, but I do know this bag is a permanent part of my life and I’m glad to have it. Before the bag, I’d freak out if I had to poop and was in the middle of heavy freeway traffic. Now it comes without warning but at least its emptying into that bag. Of course as soon as I can, I empty it in a public toilet but I’ll save that story for another time.

This blogger also told story about a woman (with an ostomy) who was at a bar talking to a guy who seemed to “like” her, so she decided to be upfront about her appliance. His reaction was childish to say the least and she was devastated. If she told me what happened in that bar, I would have said, “First of all, you’re in a bar. How many people find their one true love when their all liquored up? Second, your ostomy is none of his business or anyone else’s, but if you choose to share this information be ready for whatever response comes up. You cannot control other people’s behavior but you can control yours. You don’t have to feel victimized either. Why do you give a shit what some drunk guy thinks?”

Eleanor Roosevelt said (I’m paraphrasing) “No one makes you feel bad without your permission.” She should know, her mother was a real bitch to Eleanor when she was a kid.

People say stupid shit all day long. Just turn on cable news for a minute and you’ll see what I mean. I say stupid shit. You say stupid shit. We all do, but hopefully we learn to stop saying it out loud so much. I think it’s a human flaw. We also need to stop being so offended. Whatever that person said that ticked you off, has nothing to do about them, it has everything to do about you and how you see yourself. No one is perfect. We all have secrets we think would be the end of the world if someone found out. I have news for you; it won’t. In the grand scheme of things no one cares or if they do, it will be only for a minute, until there is someone else they can gossip about or judge.

As for that woman in the bar, she will eventually meet someone who will fall in love with her, ostomy and all and until then I suggest she work on her boosting self esteem because confidence is sexy. She would be surprised to find out how many of us are walking around with bags hidden under our clothing.

Life is too short to get worked up about bullshit. Instead of being offended about petty shit, go out and have fun!

Be well and LOVE yourself 100%

Ingebird