Category : Laura Zappulla

Where would we be without stoma nurses?

Seriously? I don’t think I would have gotten through my surgery without mine! Stomal therapy nurses play a pivotal role in our lives pre and post-surgery. Most of us lucky enough to have a stoma nurse (and it amazes me that anyone is allowed to go through ostomy surgery without one) know they are amazing human beings. Ostomates have a special kind of relationship with their stoma nurse, and I might be a bit biased, but of course I think […]

Osto-what?! Definitions of ostomy terminology

When you’re new to ostomies, getting to know all the new terms and meanings can be like learning a whole other language!! Understanding anatomy is a feat on its own. Until I had bowel issues, ashamedly I admit I would have struggled naming all my internal organs. Now I can tell you in great description exactly what and where my large intestine, small intestine, ileum, rectum, and anus are (or were in my case!!), how they are connected and each […]

Tips for dealing with a food blockage

I am very fortunate that in my almost 4 years of having my ostomy, I am yet to have a blockage. That said, I’ve diligently read up on signs to watch out for and what to do just in case I do ever get one! Causes of blockages Obviously one of the main causes of blockages is food. For the first 6-8 weeks after surgery, I was super careful and avoided all those “problem” foods you’re warned about. I then […]

Ostomy Fashionista

I am by no means a ‘fashionista’, and definitely not the first person I would turn to for style tips or clothing advice!! You wouldn’t see the outfits I wear on the runways in Milan, but I do have almost 3 years’ experience dressing with an ostomy, and over the years have picked up some practical tips and ideas on dressing with an ostomy. My fashion motto has always been COMFORT over EVERYTHING! If I am comfortable in what I […]

Happy Stomaversary

Stomaversary, Bagaversary, No Colonaversary, whatever you like to call it, I recently celebrated 3 years with my stoma! Technically my first ostomy was formed 3 years AND 5 months ago. It started as a loop ileostomy, so I consider the first 5 months: “the dating phase”! The real deal happened on 24 September 2013. That’s when I got my new stoma (and got rid of some other bits!) and we became committed (for life). This got me to thinking about […]

Preparing for surgery – Packing and shopping lists

If your surgery is planned and you have time to pack your own hospital bag, there are a few things I would include in my must pack list, as well as a few must haves for when you get home following the early days out of hospital. You will have a lot of time on your hands, and whilst you will probably be sleeping a fair bit, I made sure I had plenty of other things to keep me busy […]

Preparing for surgery: So Many Questions

I remember seeing my surgeon and stoma nurse prior to surgery with a notebook full of questions I wanted answered! If you have any questions, concerns or worries – make sure you ASK! It’s one of the best ways to prepare yourself (especially mentally) for surgery. I had several pre-op visits with my surgeon and stoma nurse and I took the opportunity to ask about everything that was on my mind! Talking with other ostomates might be beneficial too. It’s […]

Ostomies in the Air: Travelling on a plane and airport security

6 months after my ostomy surgery, I went on a 10-month holiday travelling around South Africa, Europe and Asia. We flew over 55,000 kilometres on 14 different airlines, and as you can imagine went through a lot of airports, security and on many flights! Not once did I have an issue! It was smooth sailing (or should I say pooping!) on the plane and at the airport. Here are a few of my tips: Pre departure: Packing – take most […]

Drinking with an Ostomy (including the hard stuff!)

One of the first things I was told as a new ostomate was the importance of staying hydrated. Hydration impacts so many aspects of our body and health including skin, mental state, digestion, even blood pressure, kidneys, muscles and joints. Hydration is important for everyone, but even more so for ostomates. This is especially the case if you have an ileostomy, as a major function of the now removed or bypassed colon is to absorb fluids and electrolytes. Dehydration is […]

We do have “a bigger life” than just having an ostomy

Uncertainty? Fear? Questions? Understanding? Feeling isolated and alone? Pre and post ostomy surgery, the biggest and most important things for me have been a) finding answers to all the unknowns and b) talking to someone else who “just gets it”! Before surgery I had a million things running through my head. There are so many places to go for information, but where to start? Plus, I didn’t just want the facts. I wanted to hear from actual ostomates who could […]