When I first had a stoma, the nurse told me that lots of people name theirs and it helps them to come to terms with it. I believe I wanted to tell her to f**k off, though I held my tongue. I just wasn’t ready to have that conversation.
I am comfortable with my stoma now, but at the time I remember being laid in HDU and not wanting to look down. I just didn’t want to see it or deal with it, it was such a huge ordeal to know that my body had changed so much. I remember laying in the bed and turning my head to the window, counting the slats of the blinds as they checked my wounds and changed my bag. I couldn’t look…
When I did, I was shocked. A stoma (when we are talking about an ileostomy or colostomy) is the end of your bowel that is pulled through your abdomen wall and stitched to the skin. It looks like a red or pink, wet, soft lump with a hole in the middle. So it is a big shock when you see your insides on the outside for the first time!
But over time, I got used to it quite quickly, I realised it was my life line, that it had saved my life and it was nothing to fear. It was part of my body and I started to understand that people name their stomas as part of the idea of coming to terms with their new body. Naming it can feel like you are welcoming it into your life.
I named my stoma Barack Ostoma… I wanted something funny but also quite grand! I then had jpouch surgery and so Barack left office, as it were. After 18 months of chronic pouchitis, I had stoma number two. I only have one stoma now, it is a permanent ileostomy, but in numbers I have had, it is the second one. This one is called Babadook, due to the weird creaking, farting noises it sometimes makes and the fact that baba and dooky are terms for poo, so it seemed to make sense.
So my question is, what, if anything do you call your stoma, and why did you want to name it or why did you choose not to name it.