Melissa Marshall is proud to present the newest addition to the No You Cant'cer Foundation, Melissa Marshall's Bag of Tricks and Ostomy Tips! Every Tuesday, Melissa will be back to introduce you to an all-new ostomy product, or accessory, and tell you where to get it. She will highlight products you may already have, some imported from other countries, and a few little items that you may have never thought to include in your own ostomy regimen.
In this weeks episode, Melissa has come up with a shortlist of some things to know for new, and future ostomates for after surgery care. While your doctors and nurses should be able to answer any and all questions you have about your appliance and recovery, sometimes it's nice to hear some tips from someone who has been there, just as you have.
- Eat several small meals once you’re cleared for solid food instead of large ones. Your body needs time to adjust to your new way of digesting.
- Some safe foods to ingest while seeing what works for you are smoothies, any kind of grain products that don’t have seeds, well cooked soups, produce that doesn’t have skin (peeled potatoes, peeled peaches, avocados), hummus, tofu, yogurt, and cooked meats. While they all can cause some stomal flatulence, they are generally safe things to try while you learn what works for you.
- If your ostomy surgery is permanent and your anus is sealed, a sitz bath will aid in the initial discomfort. You can also bathe with your ostomy bag.
- Stock up on things that will make your life easier, especially as you will be unable to drive while recovering. These items can include; natural baby wipes for cleaning, aloe gel for skin irritation, a Riksack for easy bag changing, and bed covers in case of accidental leaking at night.
- Find a support group. A support group is a great way to find other ostomates and discuss your issues with an unbiased group who can give you honest information. Melissa attends group regularly, as seen in episode 4.
- Stay hydrated. It’s very easy for someone with an ostomy to become dehydrated. This is especially true for ileostomates.
- Learn to relax. While all surgery can be scary and stressful, it is important to be able to clear your mind. Look into meditating, download a good series to binge watch, or pick up a low stress hobby such as painting or knitting.
- Move! Of course, you shouldn’t push yourself, but light walking when you can will help keep the surgical area from stiffening. But remember, you just had a major, life-saving, surgery. You, and your body, need time to rest without any strenuous activity or exercise. Your doctor can tell you when you can begin your “normal” routine, but be prepared to start slow and build up, as to not irritate your abdomen. A bonus tip? Don’t lift anything over 10lbs while recovering. Too much strenuous movement could cause a build up of scar tissue.
- Stay on top of your pain medication as it is prescribed. Staying ahead of the pain is the best way to manage it. If you have had issues with medication abuse in the past, be honest with your doctor.
- While you’ll be taught how to change your appliance at the hospital, it can be a scary thought. Watching “how to” videos on youtube is a great way to see how others manage their appliances.
- An ostomy wound nurse will be assigned to you for when you leave the hospital. They will check in regularly to see how you’re healing and answer any questions you may have about your ostomy.
- Find out what bag works for you. Many manufactures are happy to send free samples to ostomates, so think what might be right for your needs. A mini bag? A seal with ceramide? The options are getting better and better! Check out Hollister and see what they have available for you.
- Love yourself! Your body is strong, beautiful, and the ostomy surgery will change your body, but for the best. As Melissa always says, your body is a city, and sometimes it just needs some renovation to keep running.
Phone: (609) 464-4647