Accepting Change

The dragonfly depicted on my front page is a traditional symbol of change. That’s one of the reasons I chose it, and because it is beautiful.

When you have bladder cancer, your whole life does change. You have many doctor appointments, scans, and tests. All of these change the perspective of your life and future. No matter how positive you try to be, there is always a knawing in the back of your mind of how it will all turn out. I know this feeling well. Every test, and every scan, you have to remain hopeful and positive. Because you have no choice. Think, know that you are going to survive, you’re going to get well. That’s where support from family, friends, nurses, and doctors come in. They are also the ones you have to express your feelings to. Let them in and help you. This is the time to bring humor in, because a lot of this condition is funny and you have to remember that. Possibly the following might help you see it.

There are many advantages to having a urostomy.

  1. You never have to worry about sneezing, laughing, coughing – you’re totally covered! It is impossible to unexpectedly pee your pants in these situations.
  2. If you hate putting on a swimsuit in public, no worries! Unless they invent something new, there is no way to go into a swimming pool without some type of adult diaper. This may appeal to you but not to me. I wouldn’t think it would be too attractive under a swimsuit, but its totally up to you.
  3. This is for women only: if you have always envied men who are able to stop on a long trip or on a woodland outing because they don’t need to wait or look for a restroom, now you won’t have to. A large bush or tree is all you need because with an ostomy you can pee like a man!
  4. This section is for anyone who hates hygiene. If you do not like to take a daily shower or bath, no problem! They do make covers you can use in the shower to keep the ostomy bag dry, but I have not found them to work well. I tried to ask the manufacturers if they would work in a pool so I could swim for exercise, and they do not encourage it.
  5. This section is for people like me, in wheelchairs. You have to learn to “embrace the bowl”. Simply put, you have to roll up to the bowl, embrace it with your knees, and empty. Unless of course you like cleaning and sanitizing the area every time, this is the system I found works best.
  6. Unless you’re an Olympic gymnast, it’s practically impossible to empty a bag while sitting on the stool. And unless you are a man, who has good aim already, you might have to practice a bit before you can accurately hit the target.
  7. I know some of you are very curious about having intimate relations with a urostomy. I do not have personal experience with this, but I have read about it and apparently there is a cap type device that you can temporarily apply. I can’t imagine how this works, especially for a length of time. Essentially it is a quite small version of the bag. I wish much good luck to anyone who wishes to experiment with this. Your imagination will soar!

I hope you found a chuckle in my steps. I encourage you to find the “funny” in your own situation. I make light of this serious condition because it’s there. It’s always going to be there and you have to learn to accept it for what it is. It’s just another part of you, sort of like a double chin or pinch an inch. You might not like it, but you live with it. And on the upside you’ll be cancer-free. And living is much better than the alternative.