A woman outside, looking at the camera with a serious expression.

My journey with Crohn’s has been a long and winding experience. Not only has it taken a physical and mental toll on me, but I’ve suffered with it for the majority of my life. I was diagnosed at 10 years old when the only care I should have had was which backpack to get for the new school year. Instead, my parents and I were saddled with medications, procedures and doctors’ visits to squeeze in before fall came and the bell rang.

Aside from the difficult nature and logistics of my condition, my age excluded me from learning additional details of the disease. There were other factors of Crohn’s that I was not privy to as I was just a kid. Every piece of information was filtered. I was just there for the ride and when new problems arose, we listened intently as the doctor explained. As I grew and faced new challenges in my everyday life, my disease became somewhat forgiving. I essentially breezed throughout middle school and my freshman year of high school. I wasn’t technically in remission but it was something I was happy to accept.

The tide began to turn between my freshman and sophomore year of high school. I became angry. Then I became sad.

My friends and I were growing apart and I was tired of watching my brother and sister live their lives with social events, while I was stuck at home playing Gamecube games. I thought I could explain it away. Yet, all of a sudden, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to open the curtains in my room. I was in the fall semester of my sophomore year and my grades began to fall. I hit the bottom fast. I started hurting myself.

Misery was my best friend and my enemy. It came in the form of a broken piece of glass and the upstairs toilet. I started getting nauseous while going to the bathroom. My stomach started to ache once more. I was scared out of my mind.

Ashamed of what I thought to be a disgusting disease, and my lack of self-control, I kept hurting myself. My grades kept dropping. There was nothing worse than feeling lonely, gross and hopeless. I thought I was a lost cause. My depression was swallowing me and the few gasps of air I had left were precious. I searched for reasons outside of my own mind for feeling this way and came up empty. What was going on with me? Why couldn’t I shake this leech off of me?

I slowly began to get better both physically and mentally and pulled myself from the bottom of that gnashing pit. What had I done to achieve this? The answer is… nothing. It just stopped. It was such an unsatisfying conclusion to come to. It was almost as if I simply forgot about it.

The rest of high school went by fairly smoothly. I found my way back to my friends and renewed my interests in my favorite subjects. I started dating my high school sweetheart and formed new friendships. Everything was as peachy as it could be for a high schooler. My graduation night was also the same day as my 18th birthday. There was so much to celebrate! I did have a hard time getting up to the stage because of the massive cyst on the back of my leg. But, eh… who cared? I was 18 and I just graduated high school. Eat my dust!

Except that didn’t really happen. No one “ate my dust” but me. From that time on, I experienced the worst of my disease. I was in and out of the hospital, lost weight and gained weight, other physical symptoms came and went and my mental health was delicate. I thought I’d ditched that monster. When it began to interfere with my college courses, I started to lose faith in myself. What was the point of trying if I was just going to have to keep dropping out because I was sick? I felt like a failure. All of my friends were graduating with degrees and living their dreams while I laid in bed unable to get to school. I never felt so low.

All of the other times I was suffering felt like nothing to me. Even as I started to make my way back to normalcy, I saw no point in reaching for my goals. As soon as I started, I’d just have to quit again. So I settled. The feeling of never getting what I truly wanted crushed me. My brain fog was too heavy, my depression was intimidating and my self-esteem was in the basement with broken stairs and no way back up.

I was 23 years old before I learned that depression and Crohn’s were closely related. Apparently, they go hand in hand. All of the reading I’d done and the doctors I’d seen never clued me in. I was elated yet angry. It wasn’t just me. It was several people living with Crohn’s. It was like I’d seen the light. Finally, I felt like I had a reason behind all of this anguish. I’d been battling my demons for close to a decade before I found any kind of answer. That is not to say that everything suddenly became OK, but I had something tangible. I could point to these studies and anecdotes and say, “Look! They’re just like me.”

Working on myself has never been my strength. I’ve given into my worst impulses too many times to count. Now I have two diseases to conquer.

I have currently been in remission for close to three years now and but I’m still fighting with my mental health. The biggest difference is my awareness surrounding it. I have other Crohnies to turn to. I can hear their stories and ask for their advice. Sometimes I wonder what would’ve happened if I’d made the connection earlier in the life. There are too many possibilities to consider, and who knows? Things could have turned out exactly the same. Every day is a test. Will I wake up and want to die? Am I going to spend most of my day in the bathroom? Or will everything turn out alright? Pass or fail, I know this much. I’m a fighter, I’m still here and I’m becoming OK with that.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Dear chronically ill college student,

Hi, it’s me – a chronically ill college graduate out in the world.

I want you to know I see you. You’re working so very hard to manage your illness, take care of yourself, go to class, do your assignments and have a college social life. It’s hard. I get it. And, I want to validate that. I know at times it may be frustrating to balance everything – to explain to your professors and peers you need help when you don’t “look sick.”

 

When I was in my sophomore year of college, I found myself spending fall break in Cedars-Sinai hospital. In the weeks prior, my Crohn’s had begun to flare badly. I chugged down gatorade instead of going to meals, I attempted to sleep instead of studying and I shuffled to class in my yoga pants and a ratty t-shirt. Not only was I struggling to get to class and do well, but I also felt like I was struggling to take care of myself – I could not figure out how to do it all. Thankfully, I had an administration that supported me and parents who came out to school to help me get healthy. And, even though I managed to finish the semester and graduate, there were parts of being sick while trying to do school that felt so defeating.

woman holding her college diploma

So, I get it. And, when you need a little extra encouragement, here are a few things to keep you going:

– Always remember that you know yourself better than anyone else knows you. Listen to your body and do what you need to do to take care of it. Even if that means asking for help.

– There are people who want to help you. Believe it or not, professors and deans want you to succeed. You’re there to learn and to do well. They may not always be familiar with your illness or the kinds of accommodations you need. So, find someone in your corner who can advocate for you. This could be a professor, a dean or even a friend. You are already working hard to take care of yourself and do your required schoolwork. Find someone will go to bat for you and let them do it. There are tools like note takers, extended testing and late assignments that are there for you to use. Find out what’s available and take advantage of them. And, know that using them is not a reflection of your self-awareness; it does not make you “weak.”

– Not succeeding the first time doesn’t make you a failure. The academic system was built for able-bodied people. The majority of students who are in school are not also managing a chronic illness. If it feels like it is difficult to do it all, that’s because it is. So, if you don’t do well on a test, know I validate how and why it was hard for you. And, if you need to take some time off from school to manage your health, know I think that is one of the bravest decisions you can ever possibly make. Everyone’s path is different. Don’t let yourself think that just because yours is not traditional doesn’t mean it is anything shy of amazing.

– Know you are doing the best you can. You are working hard – even if that means taking a nap. Your time management skills are better than most other students’,  simply because you have more to take care of and less time to get it all done. I want you to know I validate what working hard means for you, because taking care of your body is some of the most important work you could possibly do.

woman in her cap and gown after college graduation

– Going through college is hard. Going through college with a chronic illness is even harder. I see your pain and I validate your struggle. Know as your health needs change you will continue to learn how to take care of your body. Quite often, college is the first time chronically ill folks are out on their own to manage their care. It’s always a learning process and it’s a challenge.

You are doing the best you can and I believe in you.

Be strong and brave out there.

Sincerely,

A chronically ill college graduate

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I am a full-time marketer for a corporate software company. It’s a great place, with amazing people. When I was hospitalized and then healing, they were so unbelievably supportive and understanding, which is hard to say for a lot of companies. My team surprised me by decorating my entire desk in Iron Man gear when I returned from getting my iron infusion.

If you have Crohn’s disease, you know it’s such a pain in the ass… literally.

Symptoms differ from person to person, but for the most part, you can expect to deal with:

1. Abdominal Cramping

2. Diarrhea

3. Fatigue

4. Bloating

5. Loud Intestinal Noise

So, how do you deal with the above while trying to live a “normal” life in the office? All of those symptoms make daily life pretty difficult, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself and those around you.

1. Be honest about your disease with your colleagues.

This may be hard. Crohn’s can be embarrassing, for sure. But it gets way easier if you maintain a sense of humor, and love a good poop joke: Did you hear the one about the constipated composer? He had trouble with his last movement.

When I was first diagnosed, I told my boss and team right away. I wanted them to know that if I needed to be out for a day, or if I seemed to be “off,” it wasn’t me slacking… it was just my intestines playing dirty tricks on me.

2. Try to get a standing desk. 

Seriously! This may seem counter-intuitive, because when you’re flaring, the thing you want to do most is lay down and not move. But on days when you can stand it, try standing up. I felt that sitting all day was crunching my intestines in a way that was preventing healing. I was luckily able to get a sit/stand desk that allows me to spend a lot of my day upright, which is helping.

3. Try not to get embarrassed.

If you’re like me, and your intestines make noises that sound like an alien is going to emerge from your body at any moment, then you will be in situations where your going to get weird looks from everyone in the room. Just try to roll with it. I let everyone I am in meetings with know that if they hear my stomach, it’s normal. I’m fine, no I’m not starving, and no I’m not going to have to run to the bathroom… OK, maybe I leave that last part out, but I do keep them in the loop so that way when it does make noise, which it almost always does, we can just continue along our business. A positive note – it has definitely lightened the mood in many meetings. If there was tension, my intestinal noises sure loosened it up.

4. Get comfortable “going” in public places.

We all know by now that Crohn’s, or colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) means that you’re going to have to get really familiar with going to the bathroom at your office. I know it’s awful, not fun, and frustrating. But try to time it where you can have some “you time.” Or, find a bathroom that has a little more privacy. I knew a guy who would drive to the local coffee shop every morning to do his business. Hilarious, yes… realistic? Not really.

5. Work from home on bad days if you can.

Thankfully, I’m able to work from home on days when I’m in a lot of pain and have a hard time functioning at the office. I post up on the couch with my laptop and try to lay still, and usually, just one day helps reset myself enough to be back in the office the day after. Talk to your boss and see if you can work out an arrangement where you can telecommute when you’re flaring.

The writer of the article at her desk, decorated with Iron man items.

6. Bring your own snacks.

If you stick to a restricted diet like I do, it’s imperative to have snacks that are ready that are good for your diet. In my drawers at any given time, I have some soups and broths, paleo granola, apples, LÄRABAR, RXBARs, EPIC bars, and more. I’m always prepared!

7. Learn to say “no.”

Stress can be a big factor in a lot of inflammatory bowel disease and IBS. If you’re finding yourself under water, try to reprioritize your duties to keep it from feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Also, saying no means that if you’re not up to a Happy Hour with coworkers every week, skip it. Or attend, but stick to water and head out early. No one is going to judge you for taking care of yourself, and if you are open and honest with your colleagues, it makes the conversation that much easier.

Yes, we have bad days, and yes, being home sometimes sounds so much better than putting on a happy face for the office. But, being around people who support and love you can make all the difference between feeling isolated and feeling embraced. If your office doesn’t have people there that you can confide in, maybe it’s time to find somewhere that does. There are good people every where… you just have to look for them.

Follow this journey on Chronically Callie.

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This is a difficult article to write simply because it could be easy to interpret it in the wrong way: “Oh, so you don’t appreciate our help,” “You know, we are trying,” “It’s not all about you – we have lives to live, too.”

I know my friends would not say these things, and they probably don’t think these things, but living with a chronic illness can make you feel like you are disposable. After all, if I abandon you then you can continue living just as you were. You’ll find new friends and you can move on. But, if you abandon me, well. I don’t have the same capacity to meet people, to form new friendships, to continue old ones. I am at your mercy. I can’t join your world, so I am left hoping you’ll continue to visit me in mine.

 

If there was one thing I wish my able-bodied friends understood it would be: I am, to a degree, dependent on you to come to me.

For example, today is my second day out of the hospital. My friends are going for a meal out and they want me to join. They’ve checked – the
food I can eat is on the menu. Why not come, it would be good for me? But what they don’t understand is it isn’t that easy.

Fresh from the hospital, I may look the same but my body is tired. I can’t walk as far, I can’t manage social interaction for more than 30 minutes. I can eat again, but before I got home I was nil by mouth for more than 60 hours to clear a bowel obstruction. I cannot eat large portions of food until I know I won’t become obstructed again.

So, they’ll go off and have fun. Then they’ll return, more food, more
laughs. And I’ll feel a bit more alienated. I’ve ended up spending
another day alone. You might say it was my choice, but this does not feel like a real choice.

I think summer is harder. It’s hard seeing all my friends go off on holidays, form new relationships, get new jobs, move away and start families when I’m stuck at home trying to entertain myself. “You should come,” they say, running off into the sunlight. It isn’t that easy.

I remember one friend of mine was upset because their holiday was cancelled last minute and they had to spend nine days at home. They moped for the weeks running up to it about how unfair it was, then spent the week seeing friends and went back to work. What they didn’t realize was they were entering my world for nine days. They were entering the space I’ve been sitting in for almost a year for nine days. And they couldn’t hack it.

What frustrates me the most is I know if many of my friends went into the hospital, they would expect different treatment. They’d be upset if all their friends went for a meal without them once they were out. For them, being in the hospital would trigger a mass outpouring of concern and help.

But me, well, for me it’s “normal.” “It’s not the same.” “I’m used to it.” Let me tell you – you do not get used to the hospital. You do not get used to the pain. The boredom does not become more tolerable and the loneliness isn’t easier to bear. It gets harder, it adds up, it piles on and makes life that much harder to get on with. But, like a soap opera that drags on for too long, people get bored. They want something new. Meanwhile, I’m left to get on with it like I have for 15 years. Like I’ll be forced to for the rest of my life.

And, childish as it sounds, it is not fair. It is not fair that you get to go and live your life while I’m put on hold. It is not fair that your difficulties, however minor, are treated with so much more concern than mine. And, it is not fair that I feel I have to quiet my story to make it easier for you to
tolerate. Because, frustrating as it is, my choices are not your choices. I need you more than you need me. And it’s me that needs to work out how to make this work, not you.

I wish you understood that.

I wish you knew our friendship is like that between two birds, one in a cage and one out free. If the free bird doesn’t visit the caged bird, the caged bird can do nothing but hope, and wait, and sing out for the free bird.

Well, this is me singing.

The song might not be pretty, but it’s my song. How will the free bird respond?

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Thinkstock photo via IgorKrapar.


Meet Penny. Penny is your typical sassy, feisty and vibrant 4-year-old. Behind that big smile and those glittering eyes filled with mischief is so much more. She’s a little girl fighting a big disease. A disease that flipped her young life upside down. A disease she will battle for the rest of her life. Penny was diagnosed with Crohn’s in January 2017.

girl holding bouquet of roses

Penny’s mom Beth came across my blog, Lights, Camera, Crohn’s: An Unobstructed View and reached out. Reading the desperation and fear in her words, but also the appreciation for my patient advocacy brought tears to my eyes. I felt an immediate connection with this family and specifically this little girl.

It all started this past November when Penny had blood in her stool. At first, her parents and doctors thought it was merely constipation. Something common that many children go through. On Thanksgiving Day, that all changed. Penny was at the Detroit Lions football game with her parents, a family tradition. When Beth took Penny to the bathroom the entire toilet was filled with blood. As you can imagine, it was horrifying to see. After several tests, Penny was referred to the Pediatric
Gastroenterology department at University of Michigan-Mott Children’s Hospital in hopes of finding answers.

woman sitting next to young girl in hospital bed

On January 11, 2017 Penny went in for an upper and lower scope. As soon as it was over, Beth and her husband were called in to meet with the medical team and were told Penny had Crohn’s disease. Let’s pause for a second. Imagine being told your 4-year-old daughter, who was perfectly healthy up to this point, had a chronic disease, with no cure.

Beth says, “When we were initially given the diagnosis, I was numb. And
this wave of ‘mama bear’ protection came over me. I went through the motions of gathering as much information as I could so I could do everything I could to help her. After the initial shock passed, my heart broke and I also became angry. I hate that she has to go through this and especially at such a young age. I cry…a lot. I am trying very hard to let go of the anger but it is really hard not to be angry at the world when your baby is handed such a huge, life-altering diagnosis.”

girl sleeping under a blanket

Since being diagnosed in January, Penny has spent more than four weeks in the hospital. She’s undergone MRIs, ultrasounds, countless blood draws, two infusions which were believed to induce heart failure, time in the cardiac ICU, two different PICC lines, a blood clot, an NG tube, physical and occupational therapy… you name it, Penny has endured it.

“This diagnosis has changed all of our lives. Our lives have been consumed by it. It makes my heart ache to think there is no cure and she will forever live with this. She is 4. She has a lot of life left to live and a long time to live with Crohn’s. The only positive thing is that she will not remember life without it and will know how to live life with it. She will learn early on how to take care of herself and also how to be her own best advocate.”

black and white photo of young girl

When Penny gets her infusions she’s happy as a clam once the IV and blood draw are behind her (can’t blame her!). She spends the rest of the time playing, watching movies and eating snacks. Penny has taken all the challenges in stride and hasn’t allowed the difficult days to take away from her happiness and magnetic charm.

Beth says her daughter inspires her every single day. “She inspires me to be more courageous. She inspires me to do hard things! I find myself often saying, ‘If Penny can do it, I can do it.’ She inspires me to find happiness in my day. Throughout the entire hospital stay, even on her hardest days, Penny would find something to laugh or smile about.”

mother and daughter laughing

Beth and Penny are an inspiration to the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) community.

In just 10 months they have sponsored “Kid Care Bags” for kids in the infusion center, sold “Penny Power” t-shirts and donated the money to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and participated in the Take Steps Walk in Detroit. Beth and her husband teach at a local high school and this fall the volleyball team is doing a Crohn’s Awareness game. This family is doing everything they can to help and advocate for others. Penny is learning and witnessing at a young age that just because you have a chronic illness doesn’t mean you can’t lead a full and beautiful life.

young girl participating in a walk for crohn's disease

When it comes to advice for parents with children who are battling IBD, Beth says you must learn everything you can and be your child’s number one advocate. Connect with parents and adults living with IBD, as they will be your greatest resources and provide hope and perspective. Most importantly, help your child learn about IBD and what is going on in their body. Why the doctors are checking them, why they are in the hospital, why they are in pain and why they need daily medication.

Like the rest of us, Beth hopes and prays for a cure someday. “My prayer every day is that my girl will see a cure in her lifetime. But until they find
that, my hope is that every patient finds the best way to manage his/her symptoms and learns to become an advocate for themselves. I hope kids are able to manage their symptoms so they can just be kids who take medication and that IBD doesn’t consume their days.”

As a soon to be 34-year-old, who’s battled Crohn’s since I was 21, I have a few words for Penny and her amazing family and support system. While the journey won’t always be easy and your patience and strength will be tested time and time again, you will always rise above. Each flare-up and tough moment is a setback, but this disease does not define who you are. You are not “Penny with Crohn’s disease.” You are so much more. You are a girl with a promising future, who can achieve and accomplish anything you put your mind to. In these past 10 months since diagnosis you’ve already grown and learned more than you realize. By the time you grow up you will be so strong and have a perspective your peers will admire. So, keep being you. Don’t let this hold you back. And know that even though you may be small in stature, you have the ability to make a big difference in the lives of others. I know I already look up to you.

girl looking out the window at a rainbow

Click here for information on IBD. Research the best Pediactric Gastroenterology hospitals. And know you are not alone in your worries, concerns and struggles.

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I ???? AM ???? OVER ???? IT ????. I’m officially over trying so damn hard to hide my #ostomy & here’s why ➡️ Since I got my #ileostomy in ‘03, I’ve tried to hide it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m SO proud of it & to be alive ‘cause of it (which you know from @uncoverostomy!), but I’ve *never* just let it hang out! ⬇️ . . To me, it’s a pseudo bum (it’s taken over a lot of it’s job), & I’ve treated it as such. So if I didn’t want to see other people’s bums (no thanks), they probably didn’t want to see mine! ⬇️ . . I always loved talking about my #ostomybag in tight jeans & asking people to guess where it was. I spent a lot of time/effort to find clothes to hide it, but mostly on #bikinis. It’s easy to blend my bag into jeans & a T (or a #weddingdress if you saw me in @huffpost/@yahoostyleca) but it’s harder in #swimwear. ⬇️ . . Years back, I bought tiny bikini bottoms & thought I could find a way to wear them & still hide my ostomy. I did, but I was constantly tucking/rolling it in & trying not to move to keep it in place. . . Finally, I said, F this, & sat by a pool in those bikini bottoms with my bag out & it felt UNREAL. No one gave 2 shits about it! ???????? . . Things have changed, not only for #ostomates, but anyone with a difference. The internet has let us open up, share our stories, & be proud of ourselves, while teaching society to be more open to disabilities, diseases, & #poopbags! So chuck it in your f*uck it bucket: it’s our time now. . . More on #uncoverostomy! Link in IG story ????

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Since I had ostomy surgery in 2003, I’ve always tried to hide it. Not because I’m ashamed of it (I mean, duh, look at this website, obviously I’m not!) but because I always thought it would make other people uncomfortable. That’s why I’ve never been one to just let it hang out, and have spent lots of time and effort to find clothes that would blend it into my body. I did it for the sake of those around me.

To me, the ostomy is a pseudo bum. After all, it took over a large part of my bum’s job, so I wear clothing that hides it because I figure, if I don’t want to see someone else’s bum, then they probably don’t want to see mine. I’m pretty damn good at keeping my ostomy invisible. I wore a skin tight wedding dress without a line or a bulge, and I honestly consider that an achievement. (In case you missed it, my story was featured on Huffington Post and Yahoo Style!) I’m all about ostomy awareness (clearly), but not on my wedding day. There were more important things at hand!

One of my favorite things about being so good at hiding my ostomy is the times when I’m wearing super tight jeans or leggings and someone tries to guess where the bag is, to no avail. I like being able to prove I can still wear stylish clothes without waving my pseudo bum in everyone’s face. While jeans and a t-shirt might be a pretty easy combination for me (based on where my ostomy is), bathing suits have always been a struggle. They are for most ostomates.

 

Every so often, I post photos here or on my Instagram of myself in high-waisted bikini bottoms or in one-pieces I adore which keep the bag concealed. That’s only after I’ve done a lot of shopping, searching and trying on to find the suits that work. Most bathing suits are literally just strings of fabric, so how are you supposed to keep a bag in there?! When I find what works, I am always happy to share with you all.

One day on my search for a new bikini, I saw a pair of super tiny black bikini bottoms and decided to take on a challenge: “Maybe I can make these work.” And I did! However, to get those itty-bitty bikini bottoms to hide my bag, I had to roll, tuck, squeeze, cut and basically not move for it to stay safely concealed behind the small piece of black fabric deemed appropriate for water activities. It’s been worth the effort for the tan lines, but it’s always been a pain in the… bag.

A few weeks ago, as I was getting ready to sit by my condo’s pool, I pulled out those tiny bottoms from my pile of one-pieces and high-waisted bottoms. I looked at them for a while and suddenly just thought, “F*ck it, why not?” and I decided to wear them as a “normal person” would. I tucked in the bottom of the ostomy bag into the suit (so it wouldn’t flap around, which is annoying), left the top of the bag peaking out of the fabric and I went outside to sit in the sun. Literally no one gave two shits about it. And when I say no one, I literally mean no one even bothered to notice. Not a second glance, not a deep stare, maybe a quick “oh hm” (but if that did happen, they carried on with their lives within a split second) and… It? Was? Amazing?? I felt so free, so at peace, so relaxed… and my tan lines were finally normal! My world opened up.

Now if I can be honest, I don’t know if I would go back in time and change the way I used to wear my swimsuits. I think that, back in 2003 and around that time, society was in a very difference place. I know this because, back then when I would tell people I had an ostomy bag, their response was either confusion from not knowing what it was or a tiny bit of disgust until I explained it properly to them.

In 2003, you also had a lot more people being rude and mean to those with visible disabilities. I think, as a whole, society was much less accepting of ailments, diseases and disabilities. We’re now living in 2017 with the internet giving each of us our own megaphone to tell the world who we are, why we’re different and how goddamn proud we are to be who we are. When I talk to people about ostomies now, I hear more people say, “Oh yeah, I heard about those,” or “Yeah, my cousin/friend/uncle’s brother’s mom/sister/husband has an ostomy!” Now it’s almost like everyone knows someone with an ostomy!

Thanks to the internet, and thanks to people like you, we’ve been able to change the way society looks at any type of difference. We’ve opened up and shared our struggles (whatever they may be) and our triumphs, and we’ve shown others we’re just like them – with just a few minor tweaks. These efforts have helped society grow to be more curious, accepting and, I even just say, over it. Everyone’s got something, right?

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a long way to go, and I’m not done just yet. “Ostomy” is still deemed a misspelled word on Microsoft and on my WordPress blog, and I’m still finding myself trying to explain how great life can be with an ostomy to those facing surgery. But we’re definitely going in the right direction. I’ll probably still tuck my ostomy into some of my high-waisted bikinis or one-piece suits because I like them, and honestly, sometimes it’s just annoying to have the bag hang out! I’ll also still find and wear clothes to keep my bag hidden, but that’s only because there is a time and a place to show off your bum (like by the pool), and other times, it’s best to keep it to yourself. (Like, don’t moon me with your real bum, OK?)

What I can say is I am definitely going to expand my bathing suit wardrobe into more exciting styles and cuts because if I have to look at other people’s bums by the pool, they can look at mine, too! Have a favorite bathing suit you wear when you just don’t give any f*cks? Share it on our Facebook page! I’d love to get some style tips from all of you!

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