Mental Wellness & Shame
At the January 2023 meeting, we talked about mental health wellness and whether ostomates feel any shame when contemplating life with their ostomy.
It is sometimes easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the "bad" moments (leaks, gas, etc.) but we should always remember that embracing our ostomy and looking for the funny moments can help with mental health. One member also pointed out that surgery and an ostomy might be viewed as a gift from God -- something that allows us to live a longer life with friends and family.
Anxiety often accompanies traveling with an ostomy so participants in the meeting shared a few resources that may be helpful to others:
TSA Cares is a program that will assist travelers who fill out a form in advance.
United Ostomy Association of America (UOAA) also has a Travel Communication Card that can be used when traveling. The link shared here also has a card available to notify flight crew that you need to use the restroom on a plane. Both of these cards can be printed from the link shared.
One issue many people have at various times is odor emanating from the pouch. Some solutions may be the following:
Placing Altoids inside your pouch may help minimize the odor when emptying.
Flat-D Innovations is a company that makes a pad that can be placed between your clothing and the pouch. This pad, called Overpad-D has activated charcoal that can help prevent odor issues.
Stealth Belt makes a Muffler that is an inexpensive product which is also designed to help minimize odor.
Some in the group have also had issues where they needed a change of clothes. Many people in the meeting said they carry an extra set of clothes in their car to give them peace of mind in the event of a leak or other issue.