To use a phrase I have since heard, those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.
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You cannot change the scars on your body, but you can choose the people (as friends or partners) who see those scars as testaments to your strength rather than as faults.
Share what you are comfortable with when you are comfortable doing so, and remember that everyone has baggage in one form of the other, even if it’s not stuck to their sides.
Jessica, from Ontario in Canada, was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when she was eight years old.
Jessica’s childhood was spent in and out of hospital, with overpowering medications and extreme diets as she battled the illness.
The nurse had been asking me about school and my friends, and then she leaned across the table, reached her hands out towards mine, lowered her voice and said, “And you know, you can still have a boyfriend and stuff.”I remember smirking at her, nodding along, but the thought had been far from my mind.
I hadn’t been thinking of dating and first kisses when I had decided to have surgery, and to be perfectly honest, had not thought twice about it.
But since we live in the real world, things are not so direct.
My point is that we forget the complexities of dating and that it’s not just about finding another person, but finding the right person, and that is tricky ... Of course it complicates matters to have to bring up serious medical realities in the early stages of getting to know someone, especially when our peer group may not have had the same intimate interactions with the medical world as we have.
Most of them replied that it wouldn’t matter (truth: it doesn’t matter), but one friend replied that it would make him “hesitate.” At first, his response frustrated me – hesitate, I thought, why would you hesitate? Ultimately I decided that not every person will fully get it, and their hesitation is a reflection on them, not my worthiness of being in a relationship.