19 July, 2021
We have teamed up with SecuriCare a to bring you our ‘Stoma Care Nurse Says’ blog series. In this series, SecuriCare’s Stoma Care Nurses will be giving you specialist advice about caring for your stoma.
In this blog, a Stoma Care Nurse gives her advice about ‘How To Cope With Lockdown Easing’…
For many new ostomates, the relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions is another change for you to adapt to, as you may not have experienced this way of living since your stoma surgery. These changes may bring about feelings of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty as you return to offices, places of work, leisure activities and begin to start mixing with other friends and family you may not have seen for some time.
The reasons for stoma formation may also create further anxiety, and it is hard to mix confidently with others, while you are still adjusting to the changes yourself. You may possibly still receiving ongoing hospital treatment.
Having anxiety about your stoma is natural and understandable.
Any big change in your life can be daunting and frightening. Every person is individual and whatever you are feeling, it is okay to feel. Practice self-compassion and remember you have come a long way to be where you are now. Most people will not know you have a stoma, unless you tell them (and you do not need to tell anyone, if you don’t want to). Those that do know will want to support you and help you to be the best version of you – whatever that might look like.
Pace yourself, and immerse yourself in your world in your own time.
Going out for a walk or meeting up with friends and/or family, for just a short time may be the way to start. This will remove the fear of having to change or empty your pouch in public and build your confidence. As your confidence grows, you can try mixing with people for longer, and longer, periods.
Always make sure you take your RADAR key and enough equipment to change your pouch with you, so you are able to change your pouch in a suitable setting without fear of interruptions. RADAR keys are available from home delivery services such as SecuriCare (call 0800 585 125 for more information) and give you access to locked disabled toilets. RADAR Keys can also be purchased via our website.
Preparation is key.
Have everything ready in advance by putting one or two of each item into a small bag. If you can, find out what facilities are available at where you are going – such as the location of the toilets, handwashing facilities etc, as this will make you feel less anxious. There is a common saying that if you have it with you, you might not need it, but if you haven’t you can guarantee, you’ll wish you did. If you feel comfortable with the people you are with, perhaps confide in them about your concerns.
Returning to your place of work after stoma formation, can be challenging.
With the right stoma products, you should be able to return to work without any issues. It is important that you have access to toilet facilities nearby in case you needed to renew/empty your bag during the working day and ideally, you would take the items you need for a change with you. Again, you do not have to tell your work colleagues about your stoma, unless you want to.
If you have concerns about returning to a new normal, discuss them with your Stoma Care Nurse, as we have a wide range of tips and advice. Please be aware that stoma care services all work differently and therefore might be at different stages of ‘getting back to normal’. It is important to check with your Stoma Care Nurse s to what they are offering in terms of support and consultation opportunities at this time.