Emotions following stoma surgery

Hear from Kate our community stoma care nurse

During the first few days, weeks and months after stoma surgery you will be going through a period of  significant change where you will be adapting to a new way of life. This new way of life will take time and adjustment.

Initially following your stoma surgery, you may experience some difficult emotions. You may find yourself feeling scared, nervous, confused, sad or frustrated. All these feelings are completely normal and reasonable post-surgery feelings and will ease with time as you adjust to life with a stoma.

Here are some suggestions that may help you cope with difficult feelings:

  • Be patient and kind to yourself: treat yourself with the tender care and compassion that you would treat a loved one with. It is so important not to be hard on yourself. Some days will be better and easier than others. Over time you will gain confidence and and you will feel like yourself again.
  • A problem shared is a problem halved: Keep talking. Maintain open communication with loved ones and with your stoma care nurse.  Expressing and discussing worries and frustrations will help to make you feel better and more at ease.
  • Movement is Medicine: With your doctor’s permission, try and participate in gentle movement each day when you get home after your surgery. Whether it be a gentle stroll around your garden or local park, some gentle stretches to release tension in your body, moving and exercising your body is going to have a positive effect on your mind and feelings.
  • Get creative: Some people might find that writing, painting, drawing, baking, knitting, singing or playing an instrument can be energising, and help to focus the mind and release and relieve difficult emotions.
  • Knowing when to seek help: Although it is very normal to feel sad or down for a week or two after surgery, these feelings should go away as you heal and as you feel more confident in living with your stoma. If these feelings worsen, or if you have prolonged feelings of sadness, grief, hopelessness or isolation, talk to your doctor or stoma care nurse right away. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you will start feeling better.

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