I AM SO PLEASED THAT RACHEL AGREED TO WRITE A PIECE FOR MY BLOG, RACHEL HAS A UROSTOMY AND AN ILEOSTOMY, BUT WE WOULD LIKE TO FOCUS ON THE UROSTOMY AS THIS STOMA IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER STOMAS FORMED BY THE BOWEL, AND I WOULD LIKE TO HELP RACHEL RAISE AWARENESS FOR ALL STOMA TYPES.
UROSTOMY – THE MIDDLE CHILD OF THE STOMA FAMILY
When you hear the word ‘stoma’ or ‘ostomy’ most people instantly think of it in regards to bowel difficulty, usually a ‘colostomy’ or ‘ileostomy’. However, there is one branch of the stoma family that seems to get forgotten about.
This is the humble UROSTOMY also known medically as an ileal conduit, a type of urinary diversion. This is where a small segment of small intestine usually the ileum is used as a conduit for the urine. The ureters are attached to it and the surgeon brings the segment to the surface of the abdomen to create a stoma where the output is collected by a pouch. Now there are different reasons for having a urostomy and not all are due to cancer. Some of these can be birth defects, trauma, interstitial cystitis, fowlers syndrome, overactive bladder, neurological diseases, hospital malpractice and radiation damage. Sometimes there is an assumption not just in the community but also amongst the stoma companies that most urostomates are due to cancer and over a certain age, this is not the case anymore. More and more younger urostomates are coming through and I believe this is due to an increase of neurological diseases and bladder diseases.
As a urostomate and an ileostomate, I can see a huge difference in the level of understanding and awareness. This was one of the main reasons as to why I started my blog ( www.rocking2stomas.co.uk) to try and bring urostomates into the forefront and an online presence. I didn’t want us to be the ‘ forgotten stoma’ not just in the media but also amongst the ostomy community itself. We are in the minority compared to colostomates and ileostomates but are equally important. However, the last year there has been a big push for this awareness and there has definitely been a change. Bloggers are including urostomates in their posts more and companies are doing research and trying to involve us more. This truly warms my heart and will help with urostomates feeling part of the community and not so isolated. We are like the middle child in the stoma family…..quiet, misunderstood and forgotten but now it is time for us to stamp our feet and be counted.
Determined to do something about this, I linked up with the UROSTOMY ASSOCIATION (UA) ( https://urostomyassociation.org.uk) , a charity offering support and information to anybody with a urinary diversion, both before and after surgery. I produced a poster to combat this difference in awraeness levels, with the help of a few friends who, like me, are not afraid to show the world their stoma bags. 24 amazing men and women of all ages sent me their pictures, ROCKING their urostomy bags ! One of the aims of the poster was to highlight the fact that not all stomas are to do with bowel difficulties.
We are BEAUTIFUL, we are BRAVE, we are WARRIORS! But most of all we are SURVIVORS of our individual illnesses!!