From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook September 1997:
Ten Commandments for the New Ostomate
by Anita Price, via Rapides Parish (LA) CenLA
Ostogram and Northwest AR Mail Pouch
- There is no answer for "Why Me?", but it is normal to ask
the question and you need to work through the answer to this and other
- Stomas change in size and shape the first few months after surgery.
The initial swelling of your stoma will decrease and its diameter will
decrease. Check the size of your stoma with a measuring guide every pouch
change, until it stabilizes to its permanent size.
- Each person's ostomy is different even as our own fingerprints are
- Support and information from someone who has an ostomy can be
helpful. Ask your doctor or E.T. nurse to arrange for an ostomy visitor.
- It is your ostomy. Learn to manage your ostomy and don't let your
ostomy manage you! It is normal in the beginning for your ostomy to be the
center of your existence; however, with time and practice, your ostomy and
its care will become just a normal part of your daily life.
- Fundamental management techniques can be learned, and new
experiences and any problems that may develop must be met and managed as
they occur. As you learn and practice these new skills, you will become
comfortable with your ostomy care. Do not confuse accidental leakage or
spillage with what is normal or to be expected. If you have problems,
consult your E.T.
- One of the most important goals for healthy living is good
nutrition. The one difference in having an ostomy and setting your
nutritional goals is that you need to take information provided for the
general public and adapt it to your own needs, keeping ostomy management
- You are not alone! Surgeons make at least 500 ostomies every working
day. One out of every 200 persons has an ostomy and over two million of us
make up almost 1% of the US population. Support organizations are
available to help you. There are over 1700 Enterostomal Therapists in the
US and Canada and the United Ostomy Association has over 600 US chapters.
[Ed. note: There are now under 500 US chapters; sadly, the number has been
- You're alive! You will get better and stronger as you recuperate
from surgery. Give yourself time to get over ostomy surgery and to adjust
to this body change and adapt to your ostomy.
- Share what you have learned with another new ostomate, with your
family and friends and others. It is up to you who you tell you have an
ostomy. As you grow accustomed to living with an ostomy, there will be
opportunities to help others along the way. Remember your own experiences
and the fear of the unknown and the helplessness until you met another who
had traveled along the same road as you.
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