The prospect of buying a new snowboard always gets me excited. I love delving into which boards best suit my riding style, and figuring out what is unique about them. So when I had my ileostomy surgery, I had this familiar and comforting rush of excitement, only now, instead of snowboards it was aimed at ostomy supplies – strange I know! Analysing the best features for my style so to speak! It was like I was figuring out what type of snowboard to get next. I believe this automatic mindset really helped me stay positive. I was excited about my new reality and getting to test out some new gear!
I believe the first thing you should really consider when choosing an ostomy bag, is the lifestyle you envision for yourself. You have an ostomy, due to some major health issue, but you shouldn’t let your ostomy hold you back, and neither should your ostomy products! How active do you want to be? What type of activity do you enjoy doing? Once you have set some benchmarks for yourself, you can work with your ostomy nurse to start figuring out which products will work best with you, and allow you to be you. I had incredible help from my ostomy nurse after surgery, suggesting different products, and with a little trial and error, I ended up with a system that worked for me.
I ended up using a ‘2-piece Coloplast SenSura Mio Click’ early on. For me, I really liked the fit and the feel of it. I just didn’t seem to notice I was wearing it, and if I did have the bag out for any reason, I didn’t think it looked bad either. It felt secure and stable to me. I also really liked the ease of use on the 2-piece system. Applying the base plate was easier with a 2-piece as I could see everything whilst putting it on, and the way the bag attached it was mega secure, that thing was not coming off easily!
After about 10 months I wanted to try something different, something a little more flexible and one that could sit more flush with my body. So I tested out some 1-piece bags and ended up really liking the feel of them. It was lighter, sat closer to my body, and was overall a lot more flexible. It did take some time to get used to applying the bag because as you are bringing the flange over your stoma, the bag blocks your view and you can’t really see as well compared to a 2-piece where the flange and bag are separate. Once I got used to this (2-3 bag changes at most) honestly, I hardly noticed I was wearing it.
Now, another 10 months-ish down the road, I find myself trying out something slightly different. After having some troubles with leaks for a week or two I am trying out some convex bags (see image below) from Coloplast at the suggestion of my ostomy nurse. Generally I was getting 3-5 days of wear per bag, and then out of nowhere I was down to 1-3 days, and always ending in a leak. After discussing the problem with my ostomy nurse, she thinks my stoma is retracting a little from time to time which is causing my output (poop) to get under the baseplate. The reason a convex bag might help this, is that it pushes down the area around the stoma, and kind of forces the stoma out. I imagine it similar to squeezing out a blackhead.
The leaks were always starting on the same side, so at least there was some consistency to the issue (gotta find the positives where you can!). This change could be due to multiple reasons, I just recently underwent another major surgery, removing my anus and rectum. So the recovery from that may have had an effect. Also, I have been working out a ton, and really concentrating on my core strength, so I think that some of the changes to my muscle around the stoma area could be affecting how my stoma reacts. It’s still early days with the convex bag, but so far so good. Back up to 5 days, and no signs of leakage!!
That is the other fun aspect of being a “gear head”, the search is never over! As you change, whether that is lifestyle, physique, or whatever, there are always new evolutions to products, you never know what you will find yourself searching for!
Is it weird that I get excited about new ostomy products? I don’t think so! Being excited about the products you use, makes living with your ostomy a joy!Tweet