Living with a stoma will take some adjustment.

In the first few weeks following surgery, you may find yourself feeling confused, angry, sad or frustrated. These are normal post-surgery feelings and should diminish as you adjust to life with a stoma.

Here are some guidelines that may help ease difficult feelings

  • Be patient: Don't be too hard on yourself. Some days will be better than others. In time, you will feel like yourself again.
  • Keep talking: Keep communication open with a loved ones and your stoma care nurse. You may find that discussing your feelings makes you feel better.
  • Try to stay active and in good company: With your doctor’s permission, take up a new hobby or get involved with an activity group.
  • Express yourself creatively: Some people find that writing, painting, drawing or doing other craftwork can be energising, offer an alternate outlet for difficult feelings, and help focus the mind.
  • Be on the lookout for depression: Though it is normal to feel sad or “blue” for a week or two after surgery, these feelings should go away as you heal. If these feelings worsen, or you have any of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor or stoma care nurse right away. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you will start feeling better.

Be on the lookout for depression:

  • Prolonged feelings of sadness
  • Grief
  • Hopelessness
  • Thoughts of suicide

. . .

  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Lack of interest in activities you normally enjoy

Other “feel better” ideas for your recovery

  • Become a well-educated consumer: The more you know, the easier it is to make important decisions about your health. Your stoma care nurse is your first resource. You can also find useful information from stoma support groups and associations. The me+ programme is a great place to start.
  • Talk to other people living with a stoma, as well as their loved ones: Other people successfully living with a stoma can help you understand you’re not alone in your recovery. They may also offer helpful tips, or additional insight into what to expect as living with a stoma becomes normal for you.
  • Consider joining a local or online support group: Your stoma care nurse or local stoma association group can make suggestions and put you in touch.
  • me+ program: me+ is an online community, created especially for people living with a stoma to share information, support and encouragement. Membership is just a few clicks away.