Stoma surgery takes a big physical toll on your body, and how quickly you get back into the swing of things depends on how you handle your recovery process. While your body is important, paying attention to your mind and soul is a big step in your recovery as well.
Just ask Dana, a singer and songwriter who has been living with a stoma since 2012. Based on her own experiences with recovering in the aftermath of stoma surgery, Dana has suggestions on how to get your mind, body and soul back on track.
BODY: What's Going on Down There?
One of the most important things to do after surgery is get familiar with your body’s new condition and embrace the change it has recently gone through.
“Dealing with the pain after surgery was extremely tough--both mentally and physically. It took me about three days to even look down at my belly and say, ‘What is going on down there?’ I made it my priority to really get on the same team as my body. And figure out how to love my body. I would look in the mirror, see my new state of being and the beauty behind it. Between that acceptance and taking time to write my history and feelings, I learned to love me regardless of the stoma.”
MIND: Letting Go of the Victim Card
It can be a difficult time after surgery. Having a nurse or a loved one take care of you for the first few weeks and struggling with activities—such as walking up the stairs—can be frustrating. But pay attention to the little improvements every day and see yourself progress.
“What helped me most was just taking responsibility for myself and for the way I feel…letting go of the victim card. You can choose to wake up and say, ‘Okay, today things are going to get a little bit brighter.’”
SOUL: Find the Fighter Inside
"One of the first songs I wrote when I got to Nashville is called 'Fighter.' I got together with a couple of other writers and we wrote a song about my journey. It portrays a journey I think anyone can fit their own story into. I'm really big on the idea that, in some sort of way, everybody has an ostomy. You just don't see it.
“And now I look back and I’m amazed. I was at one point just a few years ago, where I thought I wouldn't be able to do anything because I have an ostomy. But now I know it's not a big deal at all. It ain't no thang.”
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