ovarian cancer

“Everybody Poos…”

but not every body poos in the same way…

This is probably my hardest post to write so far…but it might also be my most important…

I feel I have a responsibility to other warriors to break down barriers by sharing my story…

Ovarian cancer. Surgery. Chemotherapy. Hair loss. Wheelchair. Intensive care. Terminal. Incurable. Remission.

So many words and phrases have entered my world this year. Some have been easier to deal with than others. But one word stands out because I’d never beard it before.


I didn’t even know what a colostomy was… No one in my life had ever mentioned this word before.

After some questioning and research I discovered ‘colostomy’ meant life changing surgery. One end of my colon (large intestine) was going to be diverted through an opening in my tummy. This new opening is called a stoma and would be covered by a removable bag that is disposed of when full…but more on this later.

I was so confused. Why would I need this surgery?

I didn’t have bowel cancer. I had ovarian cancer…

Turns out however that ovarian cancer doesn’t much like to hang around in just the ovaries. It likes to spread to other organs and, in my case, it was now sitting on the surface of my bowel and would need cut away.

In the days that followed my approval for this surgery I had many appointments seeing stoma nurses. I was handed leaflets I couldn’t bring myself to read. I had conversations I didn’t listen to. My abdomen was marked for the ‘exit site’. I was in complete denial. This couldn’t be happening. Hadn’t cancer already done enough?

In the days following surgery I faced an 18 inch scar. Drain sites. Drips. Syringe drivers AND a stoma…another alien addition to my ever changing body.

As the days turned to weeks slowly these additions deminished. The drains were removed. The scars started to heal. The drips were wheeled away. But one thing remained. The colostomy wasn’t going anywhere. It was a permanent feature.

It was hard to come to terms with. It felt like the final shred of dignity I had left had been removed. I no longer had control over my bodily functions. In a ‘normal’ body you are able to control when you poo using the muscles in your anus. Your colon, however, doesn’t have muscles that you can consciously control. So if you have a stoma your body excretes waste whenever it wants. Any time. Any place. No warning. No control. Great!

So I learned that I’d now need to carry spare ‘colostomy bags’ with me wherever I went so that if my bag filled I could change it. I’d also have to carry wipes and bags to dispose the waste in. No more small handbag for me!

I was given a special card stating that I had a medical condition that allowed me to access any toilet anywhere – one small perk.

And also a special ‘radar key’ that allowed me to unlock any public toilet 24 hours a day 7 days a week – OK another small perk.

I was taught that I could no longer wear button up jeans as they cut off the bag and prevent it from working and would instead have to wear high wasted jeans or jeggings. I also couldn’t wear tight fitting dresses. Wait, you mean I have an excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe. No questions asked. Things were starting to look up!

Whilst it was hard to come to terms with at first, I began to realise that this was a result of life enhancing surgery. Would I, if given the chance, turn back time and say ‘no wait actually could you just leave that cancer in my bowel I’d rather not have a stoma’? Hell no!

Of course there are still hard times!

Like when I go to use a disabled toilet and I’m judged by observers because I don’t ‘look’ disabled.

Or when I use a toilet and there is no bin. No one wants a bag of poo left on the toilet floor!

Having an upset tummy is the worst! Usually when you have an upset tummy you give you enough time (hopefully) to get to a toilet. Not with a stoma. With no warning – that waste is making an exit whether you like it or not! If your bag sticks in place great. If not then all hell is breaking loose wherever you are! I’m not going to lie – I’ve had to bin a few outfits as a result of what one of my nurses affectionally refers to as a ‘code 20’. I’ve learned that having a dark sense of humour helps.

What also helps is people sharing their story about their colostomies. Did you know 1 in 500 people in the UK have a colostomy. And not just because of cancer. Sometimes because of Crohn’s disease or even from child birth!

With this in mind I’m pretty sure you know someone else with a colostomy bag! But there is still so much stigma attached to  discussing ‘poo’.

So what can we do?

We can celebrate the differences in our bodies.

We can stop being embarrassed by our bodies and what they do.

We can stop body shaming.

And, most importantly, we can stop taking everything so seriously…after all everybody poos just some of us are lucky enough to be able to do it ‘on the go’. See, I told you a sense of humour helps.

Love and light, Fi xx

13 thoughts on ““Everybody Poos…””

  1. Three things: One: Great post. Two: your body is smoking hot with or without the colostomy bag. I have clients that would love to have your thighs, arms and your abdominals. Yes, you have scars. Yes you have a colostomy bag, but you still look great. Honestly. If you’ve read any of my posts you know I deal in honesty. Third: we all need to talk about poo more often. Lives could be saved if we did. I’ve had friends scrunch their noses up when I’ve brought up the subject. I’ve told them to get a grip and to lose the face. One friend who did not want to initially hear me, did think about her poo for a bit and scheduled a colonoscopy. She had to fight to get it because she is only 45. They discovered THREE polyps. One was precancerous. She now joins in on my poo talks.

    Great post, Fi. Keep ’em coming!

  2. You have just explained my situation to the tee. X you feel your life is turned upside down and I for one had no idea about anything to do with it all. I’m sure that more people need to be aware of what it’s like and the ignorance that is all around us.. I take my hat off to you and thank. You for doing this blog and I hope many people realize how important it is to read it and pass it on.. Thanks again

  3. Fabulous post! I so admire you and the other women I’ve seem lately helping to break this stigma!! I would be bummed about the lack of button up jeans and the “code 20s” sound like 20 kinds of awful, but it is pretty cool to get the all access bathroom pass and key (that key looks like it could get you into the bathroom at Hogwarts), and it’s definitely cool to have the cancer removed. You do look great, love the outfits, love the post!

  4. Hi Fi,
    this is a truly wonderful post and so informative about having a colostomy. It is such a shock to be told that you are to have a colostomy, but as you quite rightly said, it is life enhancing surgery. I had to learn all about them with my father having one and I am glad that you are helping take the taboo out of poo.
    A sense of humour IS important and it still brings a smile to my face when I picture my father feigning shock and a startled look on his face, looking all around and asking “what was that?” whenever his stoma “farted”.
    The other thing to know is about the colostomy bag covers that you can buy to ma
    I know I have sent you this already, but this is a great video for explaining the different types of ostomy for others reading your blog.
    I also love the great ostomy bag covers that you can buy that can add a sense of fun, or to make them look fashionable.
    Anyway, this is a great post. xxxxx

  5. You’re just too amazing! Thank you for existing and fighting every battle with such grace!

  6. “Code 20” – I’ll have to remember that one the next time it happens to me!
    Brave, wonderful, beautiful lady – thank you for sharing, what a fab post! <3


  7. Loved your blog and have shared. I had an ileostomy 6 months ago following the removal of my large bowel whilst in a coma. So I woke up after nearly 6 weeks with a very large scar and a stoma. Bit surprised to say the least but hey it saved my life!
    Just wanted to say that the wonderful people I have found who have the same issues as me although for many different reasons are an inspiration and I must say thank you xxxxxx

  8. Oh Fi, you had me crying at your description of a ‘code 20′ !!! Made me think of all the times we’ve binned our kids’ outfits when the thought of making one more batch of poo soup was unbearable. Anyone who’s had kids can tell you that bodily fluids and functions are the most ordinary things that unite us, plus they’re a great source of funny stories. Best of luck with the recovery and keep those spirits high.
    P.S. My neighbour has a stoma and it doesn’t stop her doing ANYTHING !!

  9. Great post! I have Crohn’s disease and recently had permanent colostomy surgery. I can’t imagine not having a bowel disease and having to colostomy – that has to be incredibly difficult. I know it was overwhelming for me when the doctor told me it was time for surgery- but I had also known that eventually I would need it and know surgery was an option since my diagnosis 16 years ago. You are so brave for posting your story and sharing pictures! You look great! Wishing you health and happiness! 🙂

  10. Hi Fi
    I really admire your courage in not only talking about your surgery and your Stoma but also posting the photos. Your scar has healed beautifully by the way and you’re looking great. I’ve got one of those scars too – got ovarian too and had a Stoma bag. I woke up after six hours of surgery to remove a huge ovarian cyst with a bag. The cyst had got stuck on the bowel so they had to cut it. So important in these situations to find the humour ….. I managed to clear out the whole gift centre of the Cardiff millennium centre on one Occasion when my bag came a tiny bit loose – my son and I did have a giggle later as we remembered people running for the exit. My Stoma bag was my 51st birthday present – I was in hospital over my birthday and was having terrible trouble changing the bag as I was feeling so nauseous after surgery. One of the nurses had to do it for me and we both laughed when I said I’d wanted to experience lots of new things in my 50th year but having a Stoma bag wasn’t on my bucket list. I think it’s great what you’re doing to raise awareness on ovarian – stay healthy and keep up smiling in those fantastic photos 😀

  11. Great to meet you Fi, i have some Stoma issues that if like to put here later about traevlling , so will do this evening. Well done and i do hope you are well 🙏

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