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Skiing with a colostomy bag

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So not as obviously tricky as missing a leg, but unfortunately I' recently lost my large intestine and now have to deal with a colostomy bag, hopefully not for very long. I was just wondering what advice is out there? I've been warned that 50% of ostomates end up with hernias and that overexertion is a great way to cause this. I'm also concerned about tight thermals going over the bag, especially as it starts to balloon up - any tips here? What about falls - I can't imagine that slamming down onto the piece of small intestine poking through my stomach is going to do me any good...

Finally, any idea as to how long until I can really rip again? I know that there's some people doing impressive things with colostomy bags, but right now stairs are a struggle. Before my op I was a pretty decent skier and snowboarder - any idea how long until I can be again?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You have a PM
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Having had some of my bowel system removed as a result of cancer I ended up with a stoma and bag. Like you I wondered if I would ever ski again, with a very dismal view of skiing with a filling bag and a horror of what might happen in a fall, ending up with contents over oneself etc.

Fortunately I was able to have a stoma reversal a few months later so no longer needed the bag. Maybe you should enquire if this will be possible in your case. I found the specialist nurses and my surgeon to be very helpful. I wouldn't try to do too much too soon, better to more fully understand what might be possible in the longer term. Good luck.
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Hi Andy,

Really glad to hear that you managed to rid yourself of the bag - that's definitely my preferred option at the moment, but too soon after the op to see if that might be the case. If you only had a bowel resection, rather than removal, am I right in guessing that they reconnected your small intestine to the remaining section of large (or vice versa)? No pouch re-jiggery?

I'm not actually all that negative about the prospect of being able to ski again - I know it will be possible. What I need to do is make sure that I get back to skiing the right way and without a hernia! Looking for some good timeframes I guess, as well as a few hints and tips as to the practicalities.

Tim - thanks for your PM, let's continue the chat there if you're happy Smile
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I had a lower anterior resection, below the large intestine, to remove the rectal cancer tumour. I had asked the surgeon to try to see if I could avoid having a bag for life, and he was able to make the join to preserve this option. After about three months I remember having various tests and scans to check for leaks. Once this was done, the surgeon was happy to do the reversal.

Regaining bowel function was a slow process but it has been in a positive direction, and amazingly things are still improving some three years on. It is never going to be 100% normal and I'll probably be taking loperamide for the rest of my life. I find attention to diet is important though I am prone to temptation too often. Hope this helps.
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3244775/Zoey-Wright-nearly-died-incurable-bowel-condition-Ulcerative-Colitis-bodybuilder.html

Zoey is an instructor at the gym where I'm a member. I see her train, skiing shouldn't be a problem compared to what she puts herself through.

She's a great girl and an inspirational role model. Madeye-Smiley
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Many years back, I had a friend with a bag. He was a very keen climber and apart from a slight adjustment on his harness managed fine, and climbed to a high standard. He showed us how to change his bag but we never needed to.
He did avoid fish and peanuts.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
jbob - why on earth did your friend show you how to change his bag?!?! It's... not pleasant, and isn't something that needs 2 people. There certainly won't be anybody without a medical qualification looking at mine! Good to hear your friend's climbing wasn't affected though.

Good to see another example of someone cracking on despite the bag - unfortunately she's too far from me to give any stoma specific exercise advice.

Anyone got any hints as to how to deal with thermals and the bag/stoma? Anything tight around the stoma at the moment is painful/deeply unpleasant at best. Is it just too soon after the op, or should I be doing something else?
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@reluctantostomate, perhaps making sure someone knew what to do in case he injured himself in some way - e.g. not easy to change with a broken wrist I imagine
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I skied with a mate who had a bag. The only minor problem he had was changing it in some cramped mountain toilets in France.Skiing wise he was fine.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Well done to all that ski in the face of such challenges - Respect.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Great to hear more stories of skiiers carrying on skiing sans-colon.

Maybe I'm better researching on specialist sites, but could anyone give any practical advice regarding a few specifics? For example, it's still deeply uncomfortable to have anything pressing down on the piece of small intestine protruding from my abdomen. This isn't something that strikes me as being terribly compatible with thermals - they really hurt at present. Is this something that reduces over time, or should I be looking at looser thermals, or cutting holes in them for the stoma and bag to go through? Normally I like things nice and tight...

Also, I'm really afraid of a hernia. Apparently ostomates can suffer from an especially nasty form of hernia called a parastominal hernia where more intestine than wanted gets sucked through the hole in the abdominal muscles and starts swimming about between those muscles and the skin. Seeing as my idea of how much small intestine is wanted sticking through my abs is 0, and I've already got an inch or two, I'm keen to avoid any more. Was anyone given any advice as to how to avoid this? According to my rather fetching ostomates underwear catalogue, parastominal hernias affect 70% of ostomates and high risk factors include sneezing... How high a risk factor is a 20 foot cliff drop? Do grabs raise or lower the risk factor?

If anyone's mate with a bag is happy to chat about this, I'd be delighted to exchange emails by private message.
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