Swimming With an Ostomy

Blog post

[Image shows three spoons lying on the keyboard of a laptop, overlapping is a clipart image of torn notebook paper with a red paper clip. On the paper reads “Swimming with an Ostomy” in black text, with a blue splash clipart below the text. At the very bottom of the banner is the url for Thee Crohnie Grace Blog]

When you are chronically ill, there are many more firsts in your life that others do not experience. Some of my firsts that the average healthy person probably doesn’t deal with at 18 include: my first feeding tube, my first ostomy, my first port, my first time being cathed, first time with an epidural, etc.

And these little “firsts” never cease. Despite having my ostomy for almost a year, I had been too nervous to try submerging it. Not to mention since the surgery took place in June by the time I was even allowed to submerge my incision sites, summer was already over.

So here we are, in May, still too soon to swim really in West Virginia but my brother turned 16 on the 10th, the same day as election day so there was no school. He wanted to do something with a group of friends, including his few college friends he knows through Magic the Gathering. With that being said, he decided we should rent a hotel room for the night somewhere that has a pool and hot tub and go swimming for the night and play games (like Magic the Gathering).

While I was excited because I love swimming, I realized that I had only one bathing suit that would really work well with my ostomy, since I was not comfortable with my ostomy bag not being secure to my body while swimming. So as the boys gathered up their stuff to go find a hotel, I stayed behind to shower and shave and try on the bathing suit I hoped would keep everything in place and still be cute. I may have the health of an 80 year old, but I would like to have a bathing suit that still makes me feel like the cute 18 year old that I am.

[Image to the left shows me standing in my bathroom with my arm extended to take a selfie of my bathing suit. It is a two piece with straps and it is black and blue striped. It has an overskirt with a high waist that covers my ostomy and belly button. Image to the right shows me standing the same way but lifting up the skirt of the bathing suit to reveal my concealed ostomy under the skirt.]

Luckily the bathing suit fit like a glove and the high waist of the skirt was perfect for securing my bag. Being satisfied with the results, I grew giddy and thew everything into a bag and headed to the hotel! I probably should’ve double checked my packing because I forgot PJs, but I was far too excited by the idea of swimming again.

The hotel wasn’t terrible for the price, they had an indoor pool and hot tub. Which we all were excited for. I switched back into my bathing suit and folded up my clothes nicely as we made our way to the swimming area.

My brother and his friends got into the pool, which was far too cold for me, so I opted to go to the hot tub with my friend, Hollee, who was finally back in for the summer after college.

Hesitantly I got in, it felt great though, I was able to submerge my lower half and enjoy the warmth without any problems. Until somebody brought in their four unruly children. Though that is besides the point.

Overall it was great, I was glad that even for a little while I was able to submerge myself a bit in the water and enjoy things the same as before. It will be very useful when I go on a cruise this summer with my dad, and just for swimming in general should the weather ever perk up enough to go swimming.

A small step it may seem, but a huge first in my book. 🙂

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[Image shows me sitting in a hot tub, with a black and blue stripped bathing suit that covers from the neck down like a tank top and then a small black shirt. I am smiling and have my feeding tube draped around my neck. My arm is crossed over my lap.]

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