ostomy photoshoot sexy ileostomy 50s pin up photo shoot so bad ass sam cleasby

Why I show off my ostomy bag 

I’d like this post to just say ‘BECAUSE FUCK YOU!”
but I’m going to try and be a little more level headed. Which is difficult when I’ve just read a post on mumsnet by a charming person called Frikkadilla…

I should probably pop a warning in here to say this post is ever so sweary! If you’re offended by f-bombs, you should probably step away now.

Still here? Then let the rant commence.
Ohhhh FrikkaDilla… How I’d like to really show you my bag. Close up. Rammed in your face.
Let’s go through the points.
“Those Facebook photos with Stoma pictures. Am I wrong to really not want to see this?” 
Well, no. We have a choice in what we view on social media. If you don’t want to see these images, turn off your fucking computer.
In life, unless you wish to walk around with a bag over your head, then you will see people with disabilities, people who have medical devices that are part of their lives, people who are different to you. If you don’t wish to see people with medical problems, I’d suggest you fuck off and live in a cave.

sam cleasby body positive plus size ostomy
I have family and a friend who needs this piece of medical help however I keep being surprised (no…shocked) when I see people posting photos of themselves showing their bag off.
‘I’m not racist because I have this one black pal…’ Oh sorry! I thought we were all giving ourselves shitty excuses to say terrible things!
I’m sure your family member and friend must feel so supported by you and your desire to get people with an ostomy to hide away!
Your “surprise” and “shock” make me howl, you have the whole of the Internet at your fingertips and a photo of a woman in a bikini with an ostomy bag have affected you this much? Blimey! Let me send you a few links to some really shocking stuff. There’s this one video, at band camp…

stoma ileostomy bag woman junk food ulcerative colitis crowns ibd
I’ve even seen a woman on the beach in a bikini showing one off (Facebook photo)
How very fucking dare she? A woman went on holiday and wore a bikini??? No way!
You get that we can’t take the ostomy bag off right? That it’s something worn all day every day, it’s not a fashion statement, it’s a health device that allows us to still be alive!
People with an ostomy are like anyone else, they go on holiday, they wear human clothes, they own cameras and they are allowed on Facebook…

ileostomy bag bikini swimwear beachwear holiday

I just don’t understand this need to show it off. Why are they doing it?
Firstly, it’s none of your god damned business what other people choose to do.
Secondly, people are ‘showing it off’ because it is a part of their body, a device that can’t be removed and so most people are just trying to live their lives without embarrassment or fear of nasty, small minded bigots like you. They are sharing a photo of them, in their full glory.
Would you like all people with a disability to hide away? What about those attention grabbing amputees showing off with their missing limbs? They need to wipe their Facebook photo albums, right? Or even worse, those drama queens in wheelchairs!! All their photos are just chair, chair, chair!!!!
That was all sarcasm, in case you didn’t get it. As you don’t seem to get much do you Frikkadilla.

stoma ostomy ileostomy colostomy ibd ulcerative colitis photo shoot

Those of us who do show off our bags, and I’m talking about myself here do it for many reasons. I can’t speak for others but I’ll share just a few of mine.
• I want to raise awareness of something that affects over 100,000 people in the UK alone.
• Any illness to do with poo tends to be seen as embarrassing and taboo. This makes sufferers feel ashamed, isolated and depressed. I want to help end this taboo.
• I find it helps my recovery to share my story including photos of myself. I feel like I’m regaining control of my life after 13 years of illness, medication and surgeries.
• I am proud of my body and myself. I’ve been through hell and I refuse to let people like you body shame me.
• I want to show my kids that whatever humans look like, they are awesome. That I’m not ashamed of my imperfect body, because it’s perfect to me and they should love themselves no matter what society tells them.
• I make a difference to people’s lives by doing what I do. I get 50,000 views a month on this website! And I get hundreds of messages every month of people telling me that I am helping them through their journey. Who have you helped today Frikkadilla?
• Because I look fucking amazing! My size 16, scarred body with an ostomy may not to be your liking, but I think I look shit hot! (No pun intended!)
• I own my body, I don’t have to live by anyone else’s rules. I have full ownership and if I wish to share photos of it, I will without shame, bullying or fear.
• Because fuck you.

stoma ileostomy femininity black and white photography creative shoot

Thanks to everyone else on that mumsnet thread (that admin decided to pull because it was so shitty) who told Frikkadilla alllllllll the reasons why she was wrong/stupid/ablist/a cotton headed ninny muggins.

I read the post and was fuming but the responses reminded me that most people are awesome and just a few in this world who are dicks.
Sam xx

26 replies
  1. Becky Bate
    Becky Bate says:

    Cracking post! Totally behind every word. Some people are quite twatty aren’t they?

    I’m 4 weeks post surgery and won’t be hiding mine away. It restores my faith in human nature watching my kids learn and ask questions about my bag – they are completely without prejudice or bias, and genuinely want to learn about it. Somehow some people lose that as they grow up!

  2. Micky Richardson
    Micky Richardson says:

    Lets get loads of us Ostiomates on a beach showing of our belly bum bags for a bleddy good photo shoot down in Cornwall. It’s a popular holiday destination so it’s s good place to raise awareness. Let’s show em we’re not freaks or weird or disgusting we’re human.!

  3. Pam
    Pam says:

    Lol awesome post – sorry you have to deal with idiots like this but your response made me chuckle. And yes Micky Richardson you guys get yourself on a beach in Cornwall for your photoshoot 🙂 Make a calendar so we can see you gorgeous people every day of the year

  4. Tulip
    Tulip says:

    I cannot imagine what it must be like to have any kind of illness or disability that has changed and affected my life on a day to day basis. I have experience of caring for a family member whose health has deteriorated to an extent where they required a trachey (?) to remain alive and this required 24hr care; however my love and care for them did not change and all I wanted was for them to be able to continue with the life they already had as much as possible. I feel amazed and proud when I see your pictures and stories and find it frustrating and ridiculous when people make stupid statements about how it it ‘wrong’ because it affects their own brains/eyes/bigotry for a fleeting moment. Please continue raising awareness to the wider world and above all, just be you. You are awesome.

  5. Annie
    Annie says:

    Well said!!! So proud that someone with a voice speaks out against small minded people who want the people and the world to change so that it suits them! My husband has a stoma and is not self conscious at all which i really admire, but for anyone who is self conscious, I’m sure the likes of Frikkadilla makes life so much harder.

  6. Reb
    Reb says:

    I really liked reading your post. My dad had a bag and never stopped him doing anything, even after a few ‘accidents’. He always saw the funny side! Its a life saver and should never be hidden away. People shy away from what they don’t know / understand and attack it. I think your fab from one swearer to another x

  7. MrsKCre8s
    MrsKCre8s says:

    Sam! I LOVE you! You’re amazing. Well bloody said you beautiful, amazing, awe-inspiring woman! I wish I had half the confidence you do and felt comfortable sharing pics of my body (I don’t have an Ostomy but it is a future possibility and was discussed when I was first diagnosed.)

    It’s people like Frikka-f*ckin’-Dilla who make people like me feel even more ashamed of our shitty (pardon the pun) bodies.

    Thank you darling Sam – you freaking ROCK!!!! XOXOXO

  8. Katrina
    Katrina says:

    WOW! I love your reply to this shallow, sad woman… FrikkaDilla. May be it was me she saw on the beach! Lol. A month after my colostomy I travelled abroad to sit in the sun in my bikini. Like you said Sam, how bloody dare I? To wear a bikini and show off my body to the world with my husband, family , children and three big groups of friends all to see! Well I can tell her I felt proud, confident and so grateful to be alive. I had only just come to terms with this huge body change but I felt amazing to be able to have control of my body for once in 28 years of pain.
    I’ve just had my third operation in 6 months and life is far from easy as my Crohns keeps attacking but if we can battle like we do every day then the FrikkaDillas in this world nothing to us and are asking for trouble if they come across strong ladies/men like us! Lol . Ooh I’d just love to meet her!
    Enjoy the summer people! Get those trunks and bikinis on! Xx ?

  9. Mary
    Mary says:

    Thank you. Just thank you, thank you, thank you. I have been following your website and Facebook page for some time now. Your posts encourage me, provide insight, and generally make me laugh until I cry. Please don’t ever stop posting pictures of you, your stoma, your bag, you being you.

  10. Tina Billings
    Tina Billings says:

    Dunno what to say way to go! doesnt cover it. I wish this had all been happening 8 years ago when my lovely partner Debbie had her bag fitted to help with the symptoms of bowel cancer. She spent some considerable time thinking she had to hide away – time we didnt have to spare. Finally I decided the humour approach was a page turner and had to sit with her consultant telling us we couldnt go on holiday because she needed a second round of chemo straight after the first. So I said that scuppered my plans to smuggle back some nice smoky stuff from Amsterdam which I was going to hide in her bag. She gave me a look that said “omg you just said that out loud” The consultant paled noticeably and the Macmillan nurse and me both collapsed in fits of laughter. We talked that night for ages during which I told her she was as beautiful to me as she was the first time I saw her if not more because she was a warrior fighting this awful illness. Things changed a bit and she relaxed more – we had five more lovely months, a civil partnership and a wonderful relationship with the hospice before I had to say goodbye to her. Sorry Im waffling a bit I just wanted to try and get across just how much your positive attitude means and how fucking important it is to keep on showing off those little bags of loveliness – much love and light all of you xxx

    • sam
      sam says:

      Hi Tina, Thank you so much for getting in touch and I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Your comment means so much and your partner sounds amazing xxxx

  11. Lorna Brice-Nye
    Lorna Brice-Nye says:

    My beautiful eight yr old (nine tomorrow) summed it up by saying “she just wants to put photos of her enjoying herself, whats wrong with that”. Shes an amazing little girl who is a young carer to me as I have chronic pain and use a wheelchair. She just says it as it is. Keep up the piccies Sam you’re beautiful, i wish i had your body x

  12. katy
    katy says:

    I’ve just shared this to my FB page – hope that’s okay. You are fantastic, such an inspiration and absolutely shit hot xx

  13. Sue Brown
    Sue Brown says:

    You go Sam! It’s important for all of us bag wearers that fight thru hell everyday to live a normal life. You are GREAT!!! Thank you

  14. Alison
    Alison says:

    You are right Sam you do look amazing, keep taking the photographs. I often wonder at people’s mentality, and I also wonder if she would still feel so outraged if she had a stoma. Maybe she could move to an island somewhere. Seeing you on this morning, then hearing you say out loud all the things that I have gone through and worried about was like a breath of fresh air, as you say if that’s the worst thing she’s seen on the net……. From someone who has a stoma and uses a wheelchair


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  1. […] So Bad Ass (@so_bad_ass). Sam is incredibly inspiring, both as a writer and in life in general. In Why I Show Off My Ostomy Bag, she addresses some of the narrow minded views that she comes across on the Internet. Even after […]

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