I developed Acute Ulcerative Colitis way back in 1975. By 1977 I knew most of the toilets in my home area like the back of my hand! It was in the March of that year they decided to operate on me.
I had little idea of what the operation would entail. A nice man with an ileostomy was sent to see me in hospital but I was not overly impressed with his black bag strapped to his stomach and secured at the end with rubber bands. He said it was important to always carry spare rubber bands!
Surgery that changed my life. Bags that changed my mind.
My operation at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry was a big one but I made a surprisingly quick recovery thanks to the wonderful surgeons and stoma nurses who looked after me.
Any concerns I had about stoma bags and rubber bands were quickly forgotten when I was provided with my own bags and accessories. They were excellent in every way. Perhaps I was lucky, but from day one they fitted securely and comfortably, giving me the confidence to live my life to the full.
I was a musician, violinist, orchestral and choral conductor with a lecturer post in music education and teacher training. All of which required me to stand up confidently in front of audiences and seminar groups. I also had a wife and two young sons, enjoying family time like swimming and walking. I can honestly say that my ileostomy has never stopped me doing anything I want or influenced the direction of my life.
My wife was always more than understanding as were my two sons as they grew older to understand my condition. Many people will be glad to know our sex life also continued as before.
Fortunately, my bags often last without change for a whole 6 to 7 days. Being ultra-critical, the only slight problem is at night, since the bag affects my sleeping position and very rarely results in a leakage.
So, in my case, this has been a very good story to tell. I have four grandchildren, two great grandchildren - with another expected in November. My life is wonderful.
In over 43 years I’ve not once needed to consult a doctor or nurse about my stoma and for that, I’d like to thank my skilled surgeons, the marvellous NHS and all those unsung people at ConvaTec who have continued to develop products that truly are life changing.
If you’ve been inspired by Robert’s story and would like us to pass a message on, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or if you’d like to contribute your own stoma story, just get in touch the same way.
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