Coming out of surgery I was given the advice that I should name my stoma (the part of my small intestine that now sticks out of my abdominal wall, or stomach!). I was told by my nurses, my girlfriend, and my family to name it, but that didn’t seem to sit right with me.
I want to start off by saying that if naming your stoma helps you in any way to accept having it, then 100% go for it. I am not dunking on anyone for doing what helps them. If you find giving it a name gives you confidence, and allows you to move forward with a smile on you face then I really encourage you to give it a name. Tons of people with an ostomy have taken this advice, and it seems to be working for a lot of people!
Here is why I chose not to.
Everyone who encouraged me to name mine only wanted the best for me, but I felt hounded a bit, and pressured to name it, despite the fact that I really didn’t want to. I mean, it is a funny pink rosebud sticking out of my stomach that spews crap out of it without warning. It was going to take some getting used to, but naming it was not my way.
I had been sick for so long, and surgery was something brought up many times over the years that, by the time I opted to have the surgery, I was ready. I had already accepted the massive change in my life. I was getting this done to get back to some semblance of normalcy.
One day while on a short walk as I was recovering after surgery, my mom was pressuring me to name it, and was listing off potential names that she liked, and I was growing kind of frustrated that she didn’t understand my point of view. Finally, I just turned to her and asked “have you named your asshole?!?”. This seemed to drive home my point, and her name suggestions stopped flowing.
Just a quick aside, if you are having trouble coming up with a name for anything, my mom has tons of suggestions for you!
I do not want my stoma to define me. Yes, I talk about it A LOT! But when I go snowboarding I don’t want it to be front and center in my brain, I want to be fully immersed in the experience on the mountain, or any other sport or activity I do. The only time I want to think about it is when I need to go to the bathroom, or if I am making crude jokes about it and making my friends feel awkward! In order for it to blend in, it can’t have a special name, it has just gotta be there, doing what its meant to do.
By writing this I am not trying to take anything away from those that name theirs. Everyone heals differently, and we all handle emotional stress and change differently, so don’t feel pressured to follow everyone else’s path. Do what works for you, and take pride in that.
Mostly, for me, naming mine would make me feel awkward about it, and I am already awkward enough.