The decision to start training capoeira after I felt strong enough post-surgery was not an easy one. I knew that I missed capoeira a lot, but I’m pretty risk averse and training any martial art with an ostomy has its risks. Most obviously, I don’t really want to get kicked in the ostomy or do something that would result in a hernia. In order to combat these two concerns, I try to really be aware of my movements to make sure I’m not doing something that would compromise my abdomen. I also tell everyone I come into contact with for drills or playing (sparring) to please avoid kicks and takedowns that would impact my abdomen. Sometimes people ask and I let them know I had some abdominal surgeries, but I don’t go into any detail beyond that usually. There have only been a couple times where someone may have forgotten and done something that I wasn’t totally comfortable with (but I ended up fine anyway). I try to be overly cautious and I’m sure people are tired of me reminding them, but it’s important to me that they remember!
The school that I train with is one that I trained with before my surgery so many of my friends knew of my surgery when I returned to classes. All of my new friends and old have been supportive and cautious, checking in on me to make sure I’m doing okay. They go slow if I ask them to and are really accommodating of my insecurities about where my limits are. We have a parent school only an hour and a half away so when some of my friends mentioned a road trip to go to a class there I jumped on board at the opportunity. I started going to our parent school once a week or once every other week for a couple months and really felt myself progressing, learning and appreciating the variety of teaching styles I was being exposed to.
Being at a new school meant interacting with new people and letting them know about my abdominal surgery. The first couple classes went fine. I told the teacher who was incredibly supportive and came over to make sure the guys didn’t roughhouse with me too much.
In one of the classes, as I was telling my training partner to please not kick me in the stomach because I’d had surgery, she responded “should you even be here?” I immediately snapped back a little bit defensively that it was fine that I was there and I was just letting her know of my limitations. I brushed it off and we continued with the drill.
As the day went on, her remark started to bother me more and more. I know she probably didn’t it mean it maliciously and said it more out of concern, but boy did it bother me once I realized what she’d asked. Should I even be there? Absolutely. I worked really hard to get to the point where I felt comfortable training with strangers and I should absolutely be participating in an activity that I enjoy.
Stand Up For Yourself
Some people feel that having an ostomy is a disability. Technically, it is a disability. But for many people, it’s not one that is used as a crutch to keep them from doing activities they love. In fact, many ostomates take up more intense exercise than they participated in before they received their ostomy. There are ostomates who go sailing, play rugby, play roller derby, run marathons and triathlons, golf, go swimming, do martial arts, dance, rock climb, ski, backpack and hike, compete in fitness competitions and probably a ton of other activities that I can’t think of. Each of us has gone over numerous road bumps to get to where we are in our active lives and we should all, absolutely, continue to push our limits and strive to do continue growing in our sport.
Are you active with your ostomy? What’s your favorite activity?