• What am I faced with and is it worth the journey to recovery?

    Asked by SirKenneth on Friday, June 7, 2013

    What am I faced with and is it worth the journey to recovery?

    Not knowing enough about how having a colostomy will give me lower self-esteem and make me feel less of a man

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • Vivenia's Avatar

      I'm sorry that you're facing this problem. When I was diagnosed they weren't sure if I would need a colostomy or not. Just the idea of one was terrifying to me. I did some reading online and I found the most comfort from myccasupport-dot-org. It is a forum similar to this one specifically for those with colon cancer to support each other. There are people in that community who are leading full lives with colostomies. I can't give you any specific answers, but I can say that to me, and the women I know the way a man poops isn't anywhere on the list of how we judge manliness. I hope this helps. Good luck on your journey back to health!

      over 3 years ago
    • CrazyHarry's Avatar
      CrazyHarry (Best Answer!)

      Hey Sir Ken. It's nice to have royalty online here. I have rectal cancer and a temp ileostomy. Which so far has been the least of my problems. I've been through neo adjuvant chemo/rads, surgery and now the adjuvant chemo. Most days recently I've been feeling like total XXX and wonder like you if it's all worth it. In the end I always find something each and everyday to show me that its worth it. Something nice my friends or family said or did. The dogs doing some dog thing.

      Hope you can find the same on your journey to recovery.

      over 3 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      Two weeks ago, I was out to dinner with a friend who is about 70 now. He was diagnosed with colon cancer within the past year and has a colostomy, all of which I just learned about, as we had been out of touch for about 2 years.

      If he hadn't told me, I would never have known. He ate EVERYTHING at dinner, which surprised me (no dietary limitations.) He continues to travel, see friends, and actively live his life. He's happily married, and they were both doing great. It's a matter of adjustment. My friend has done extremely well, and I see him as an example should my cancer situation ever come to that.

      over 3 years ago
    • catherinemarr's Avatar

      I personally know two people who have had a colostomy due to colon cancer who have chosen Not to reverse them,when given the opportunity.They both feel that their lives are very rich with the process in place.I did have one that was reversed,I found the process challenging,but not degrading.As for lowering selk-esteem,never entered my mind.but as a woman,I cant imagine being less impressed by a man,just because of that.

      over 3 years ago
    • Flowers55's Avatar

      I have two friends whose husbands each had a colostomy - my son had a temporary one but maybe going back as they have found cancer in j-pouch (due to UC) Facebook has closed groups -oneis a Stomamate) - you have to request to be one - about every stage you can think of - - There is the j-pouch.org which may offer something. There are a lot of folks out there and a lot of info. I even came across medpubs - with specific research tests for my daughters cancer. I do remember one thing - that the stoma is placed not too low or too high - thi k it has to do with pants etc.

      over 3 years ago
    • joyce1979's Avatar

      A colostomy is a part of the journey to recovery. Having one can be a normal part of life and lots of people have them. You just aren't aware of their colostomies. You won't be less of a man. unless you feel you are. Perception is everything. You can do it. Hugs.

      over 3 years ago
    • fastdog's Avatar

      When I had my surgery last year, I was told I might very well wake up with a temporary colostomy bag. The first question I asked when I woke from surgery was, did I have "a bag"? I did not. Whew! Having a colostomy was my worst fear, mainly because I hadn't researched it, and had big-time fear of the unknown. Since then, I've seen many posts on another cancer site, from people who have had this surgery. One was very humorous, about going through airport security with a stoma and a bag, and having to explain it all in detail to the TSA. This was written by an attractive young woman, whose husband clearly loved and desired her, a mother of two small children. And I thought, if faced with this in the future, if she can do it, I certainly can. If I'm faced with this in the future, I will get all the accurate information I can, and it does look, Sir Kenneth, as if it may be a pain in the butt, but not the end of the world. Not this, nor anything else, will make you less of a man.

      over 3 years ago
    • booboo's Avatar

      If I am reading your profile right, you are Stage 0. Is this accurate? Because if so, I think you are getting a bit ahead of yourself. Has a doctor told you that you require a colostomy or are you just anticipating worst-case scenarios? If you don't have all the facts about your diagnosis yet then its not time to do the "is it worth the journey?" analysis. So try not to torture yourself with these questions yet. You don't have enough information yet to give it any meaningful consideration. Talk to your doctors, find out what treatment plan they recommend. It may be nothing like what you are dreading.

      Its normal to have a lot of anxiety now. Ask your doctors for help with that. Talk to a counselor about your fears. You are not going to see the whole picture clearly all at once. Its more like a polaroid picture that came out blurry and the image developed over time. But sooner or later you will see a clear picture and a clear way forward. Try not to get too wound up over this, it will only make you feel worse. Don't borrow trouble.

      over 3 years ago
    • LauraJo's Avatar

      Sir Kenneth,

      I had a temporary ileostomy for 6 months between surgeries. and I can tell you I was horrified at the thought, but frankly, it was no where near as bad as I had anticipated. I went to the gym, the beach, swam almost daily....and no one knew. I went to an amusement park. I went to work, I went to church, I went on a couple day trips..I did what I wanted to do. The bag IS manageable, and should not make you feel any less of a man or a person. If you couldn't hear, you would get hearing aids. Or glasses, if you couldn't see. That's all the ostomy is, it's just an alternative method for using the bathroom. If you need some practical tips on it's use, I would be happy to give you some pointers, as would other folks here on the site. Has your doctor told you this is a definite outcome? Is it to be permanent or just temporary? If you are Stage 0, as mentioned, you may just miss this entirely, in which case, it's not really worth worrying about,

      I can't answer if the journey is worth the recovery for you...I think that answer is different for all of us at different stages. I think it is highly likely that you are still in the shell-shocked stage most of us go through, but after you have a chance to absorb things I hope that you will think differently. Cancer is not an automatic death sentence anymore, and the treatments are nowhere near as brutal as they used to be. I went through 3 surgeries in 13 months time, 2 rounds of chemo, 2 port implants, and the bag for 6 months, and other than the mandatory time off for surgeries, when I worked at home, I missed only a day or two of work...not because I was trying to be tough, but because I honestly didn't feel that bad, and was bored at home by myself. I tell you this just to let you know not everyone is hammered by chemo. My surgeries were laparoscopic, so very quick recovery. And as a little old lady at church told me "If your surgery is below the waist, you don't lose your hair." At least not the hair on your head. :)

      And when the active part of my journey was completed. I decided to try to find joy somewhere in every day. Somedays, that is my son's laughter...and someday's, it's just getting a good parking space, but I think my life is worth what I went through.

      I should also tell you I know a couple who were married for 40 odd years, and he had to have a bag,for about 8 years before he died (not of cancer) which he refused to change. His wife, who is a saint, did it for him. Those few of us who knew about this situation thought he was less of a man for not taking responsibility for his own needs.

      Hope that helps somewhat. Take a deep breath. There are folks here to help you.

      over 3 years ago

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