I always take three bag changes per person for a holiday, one for a bag leak, another incase it fails and a spare. This may seem excessive, however I have been on holiday with Jake where he got a stomach bug and taking enough for two bag changes a day wasn’t anywhere near enough! It is important not to be anxious about this as your delivery company (if you get your supplies in the UK through the NHS) have systems in place where they can send out emergency supplies within 24 hours should the situation present itself. I have always used Respond Healthcare Ltd and know for sure they do this, so felt confident we would be sorted. Between the both of us we needed just under 300 syringes and the medication they are used for. For packing this I used a washing basket. You can see through it to find things easier and they can fit a lot in. Teamed with sturdiness and good solid handles, as you get through your holiday and your supplies go down, you gain that space to take extra things home. We stayed in a house 5 minutes from the beach so enjoyed plenty of beach days. I was so proud of my little man getting into the water up to his neck, and by the end wearing just his trunks with his Comfizz waistband instead of an all in one suit due to the confidence he had gained during the holiday. Comfizz waistbands have always been our go to with Jake as I am always sharing on my Instagram. They give confidence to both me and Jake knowing the stoma bag is tight and secure to the body with the added bonus of a streamline look to the clothes you wear too. There are other bands you can use depending on the support required, but for now as a 5 year old the Comfizz Junior Waistband Level 1 Support are perfect.
Due to the heat when stepping out of the sea it didn’t take long to dry, however the feeling of a wet through waistband isn’t Jakes favourite so we always take it off, change the pouch as he wears a 2 piece, and pop on a new waistband setting him up for the rest of the day. For Jake he likes to be covered up when sorting him out so I bought him a new hooded towel which he wraps around leaving a little window for me to change the pouch quickly. It works perfectly and he can get about playing in the sand making sandcastles in no time.
For me, I would be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous about swimming with an ostomy. I see the model like bodies of the women that rightly so, wear their bikinis with pride and have their bags out. I remember feeling like I should be the same and I would be letting the side down if I didn’t. I wanted to wear my bag out. I wanted to be able to wear a bikini like others on the beach and give confidence to those that are at the start of their ostomy journey. I felt ready and I went for it! Before going away I made sure I bought one I felt my best in, with high waisted bottoms to give me the option of having my bag out or not. You never know how you will feel on the day so its best to give yourself options. My bikini was from F&F in Tesco and I felt so lovely in it. It was the first time I had worn a bikini on holiday since meeting my husband which looking back is madness. Funny how it takes stoma surgeries to make you realise you have nothing to loose and deserve to wear a bikini if you want to! For days I wanted to wear a swimsuit, I wore my trusted Aura Clothing Aria Swimsuit. Owner Angelina has designed her pieces as an ostomate herself, with comfort and confidence in equal measure. Both one pieces and bikinis are available. Her designs suit all ages, shapes and do nothing but compliment every figure. I have her jeans which I love too but in those temperature they were staying home!
During the days where we did a lot of walking and exploring, hydration was key making sure to drink little and often to ensure it is absorbed efficiently. I am guilty for leaving it too late then drinking too much in one go, only for my body to flush it out again being too much at once! Hydration supplements are something I have never been advised to take so I won’t share any here as this is something you should ask your health care professional. According to your reason for your ostomy your absorption rates may be different, so please seek advise before spending your money. One thing I do take for us all is Diorylyte which is essential for poor tummies if your output increases. It doesn’t stop an increase in output, but replaces the fluids and electrolytes lost and helps stop you getting dehydrated as a result.
We made sure anywhere we were going had facilities and I always carry with me:
- Radar key
- Urgency toilet card
- Stoma bag change supplies (including flange extenders for days I want to have extra security)
- Change of clothes
If you are planning any theme park days make sure you get a letter from your health professional about needing to use disabled facilities if you require it. I always make sure I have a letter explaining our needs on hand ready. Some attraction toilets are pin code operated and some a radar key needed. This letter ensures there is no ifs or buts about it and the attraction can point you to the right facilities. At Crealy in Devon we were lucky enough to get fast track passes for the rides as a family which was decided at their discretion. Just a blue band was all we needed and we could enjoy the day knowing if the worst happened we could sort it out very quickly. As always, make sure you enjoy yourself and be as prepared as possible to take away the stress of going away with an ostomy, so you can focus on relaxing or if you have kids, running around after them!
Take care, Rach x