Christmas 2020 is going to be different… That goes without saying! Having a stoma at Christmas can also be a journey to navigate. This post will hopefully give you some hints for getting through the changes that the Christmas period can bring, whether new or well bedded in to stoma life!
Staying away from home
This Christmas may not fall into this category with the “bubbles” being in place & guidelines for the clinically vulnerable, but hopefully these are pointers that can be used for Christmas’s to come either way. You may feel nervous and apprehensive if you are staying away from home, or have loved ones over to stay that may not know too much about your stoma journey. Planning ahead such as places you can stop on the journey away if needs be can help alleviate some anxiety. In my experience it’s better to have things in place just in case, rather than chancing it and panicking if things come to try you!
It’s your decision to tell people – but it makes it easier
In my experience, it definitely makes life easier with a stoma to tell people about it or even just say that you’ve had surgery recently & are feeling a little apprehensive about being away from home, so if you don’t seem like “yourself”, they may find this is why. For me, this helps eliminate the need for me feeling I have to be on edge waiting for a bag leak or stoma sounds.
Order enough supplies & within plenty of time
Due to the different food & drink you may indulge in over the festive period, as well as visiting loved ones or whether at home, it’s a good idea to order more supplies than normal. Usually your delivery company will send round reminders before Christmas prompting you to get your orders in earlier than usual before things shut to celebrate Christmas. Bag leaks may be more likely to happen than usual with the different foods you try, so it’s definitely a good idea to maybe order an extra box of bags and accessories such as dry wipes to give you reassurance that you have more than enough just in case. I would definitely say don’t go crazy though and panic/bulk order!
Trying different foods
Christmas is a great time for really enjoying your food and making the most of what there is to offer. At any time in your stoma journey, it’s best to try new foods in small amounts and one new thing at a time, so that you know what’s upset you or changed your output etc rather than hazarding a guess. Chew, chew, chew and make sure you drink plenty of water when trying new foods. You will experience as time goes by with your stoma which foods are a definite no-no and which foods you can tolerate. This can be a huge learning curve, but keeping a food diary can help you spot patterns and what changes your output consistency etc. Sometimes, my stoma will just do what it wants though & can be unpredictable. I could eat something that’s usually okay for me and it might upset me, so I have to have steps in place for when this happens.
Foods such as Christmas Cake and mince pies can be typically known as “rich foods” which should be avoided or eaten in small quantities taking your time and chewing thoroughly. The same goes with festive snacks such as fruit and nuts. I avoid these personally but some people find they don’t have an issue with them. No two people are the same who have had stoma surgery and there are no concrete rules which can be applied blanket wide. You will find what works for you might not work for someone else and so on.
Your eating routine can definitely get thrown off during Christmas as you indulge in Christmas dinners, buffets & lots of rich foods. You may find in turn that this affects your output and how active your stoma is, especially on a night.
I can drink alcohol with my stoma but I find that mixing alcohol is a no-go such as drinking cocktails as it makes me very dehydrated and sick. Drinking more non-alcoholic things in between alcoholic drinks is a good thing to do, especially drinks such as Lucozade Sport which has more electrolytes or rehydration such as Dioralyte.
Whatever Christmas may be like for you this year with things being very different to “normal”, I hope you manage to smile & have a good time! I always find Christmas helps me to celebrate my stoma as it’s a time I can now enjoy thanks to it.
Merry Christmas from me & Stacey Stoma!