Although it’s normal to feel sensitive about how an ostomy changes your body, meaningful and fulfilling intimate encounters can still be part of your and your partner’s lives. Communication and trust are at the heart of the healing process. It’s comforting to know that sexual relations will not hurt your stoma—or you. Share your feelings with your partner, and respond to his or her concerns as well. With time and a positive attitude, you can enjoy a mutually satisfying sexual relationship.
Lee Thrash was about to graduate from high school in 1997 when she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Despite missing the last three months of the school year, she graduated and – against the advice of doctors and family members – started college. Although the disease was an overwhelming part of every day, she graduated with a degree in English. For the next 12 years, Lee fought to have a “normal” life, pushing through the treatments, flares, illness and chronic weakness.
A life-long educator, Walt Brilhart has always taken care of others – as a teacher, principal, executive director and associate superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools. When he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 38, Walt needed someone to take care of him. His wife, Lallah, and three sons supported him through full proctocolectomy surgery, but afterwards, he felt devastated.Inspired by the stories of others living with an ostomy, Walt was encouraged to recover. Soon, he was back “on the course,” coaching students, playing the keyboard at church and golfing several times a week.