This year’s Ostomy Awareness Day theme is Resilience: Bouncing Back into Life.
Having an ostomy gives thousands of people a chance to keep living, and in many cases, that chance improves their quality of life exponentially. There’s an old saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
I say, “When life gives you an ostomy, bounce back.”
The reasons people find themselves with an ostomy span from cancer to IBD to gun shot wounds. It doesn’t matter your race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexuality, or political stance – anyone is eligible. And I’m not going to lie, whatever the reason for someone’s need to have an ostomy, the experience is not always a stroll in the park.
It’s surgery, of course it’s painful. But the pain is temporary.
It’s a change in the way your empty your bladder or bowels. But the contents still ends up in the toilet.
It’s stigmatized. But we can raise awareness and change the perception.
Literally bouncing back on a trampoline is optional, but bouncing back to your regular activities is mandatory. Life is to short not to.
Ostomates are everywhere. We’re body builders. We’re athletes. We’re postal workers. We’re chefs. We’re nurses. We’re doctors. We’re teachers. We’re lawyers. We’re writers. We’re artists. We’re musicians. We’re parents. We’re spouses. We’re young. We’re old. We’re fighters. We’re a community. And we are resilient.
Raising awareness about how ostomies work and about all of the things ostomates can do is important because knowledge is power, and without knowledge it’s very hard to accomplish change.
Learn how you can raise ostomy awareness by visiting the UOAA’s Ostomy Awareness Day page. They have downloads for social media images that you can use in selfies or as your cover photos (like the #iamresilient one used in this post) as well as some great ideas for ways you can celebrate Ostomy Awareness Day.