• Austin Birks

Stoma In The Night, Exchanging Glances...

Well, first things first, my most sincere apologies for somewhat murdering a rather classic love song from the early sixties, or indeed late fifties. To be fair, the majority of people will not have a clue what this title refers to, but my dear chum Sensei Sue Hessian does, as she very kindly suggested it, and I loved it. And that is fine, one of the perks of old age is that you can sort of percolate what you like and mix your stories up a bit in the hope that most people will not remember. The actual song is from a classic love film called South Pacific which features the classic ditty Strangers In The Night ...Exchanging glances, so there we have it. The truth is out.


Funnily enough, having a stoma bag does some odd things with your self esteem. It is, in fairness, a real game changer, to be honest. No one ever thinks that they will end up in a situation where you are not able to use what the good Lord gave us all, namely a drastic change in plumbing. Nothing prepares you for what actually happens. You simply have to accept it, deal with it, try not to hate it, and then, dare I say it, embrace it. Because the thing is, even if you do not like it, and many do not, quite frankly you are stuck with it and you have no choice whatsoever. And that is how it is when cancer comes to town.


Don’t get me wrong, we all have choices. I have met people who have allowed this to dominate their lives to such an extent that they cannot walk through the front door of their own home. Of course, I sympathise, but this is a mistake; you simply cannot allow it to stop you living a rich and a full life.

It just requires good planning, a splash of confidence, and a can do attitude to say to yourself: "Well, even if the worst possible scenario does happen, I will deal with it, and let’s face it, what is the worst that can happen?"

Well, the answer is you have a little accident and you move on. So, guess what, been there, done that, and so what? Trust me, you soon get over it, and without getting all sentimental about life in primary school where this was a regular event, you just grow a tough skin and move on. After all, we all have the same emotions and physical functions. So why do we feel the need to get sensitive?

Time to be bold and courageous. Let nothing stop you living the best life that you can. It is after all so short and precious. So, let nothing ever prevent you doing everything. It is a great world we live in. Embrace it, and make the most of it.

Oh and by the way, enjoy the freedom of the bag. Trust me, Mel Gibson had it right in Braveheart. "You can take my life, but you cannot take my freedom", he famously bellowed before he met his maker. And it is no difference with a bag. You can take my formally required waste, but you cannot stop me popping to Tesco’s. Not exactly sure if that works, but you get my drift...

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