Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sleek and Smooth

In October, I said good-bye to my bladder and hello to my urostomy.  We’ve spent the last several months getting acquainted with each other, and I must say, it’s going quite well.  In the beginning, I was concerned that because I’m such a slender person, it would be difficult to conceal my new addition and that everyone would always know I had a pee bag.  To be clear, I realize that I’m blogging about said pee bag right here and that I’ve spoken openly about it on national television. I obviously don’t mind if people know I have a urostomy, but they certainly don’t need to see it all the time. So I began exploring my options.

On a day to day basis, if I’m going nowhere in particular, and because it’s cold outside and I have layering on my team, I generally just wear a tight cami under my shirt.  That seems to do the trick well enough. I have also taken full advantage of the legging craze that’s sweeping the nation.  I pull those suckers right on up over my bag, and poof- the bag disappears (my stoma – which is the opening where the urine comes out of my body and goes into the bag-  is situated to the right of and just slightly below my belly button).  My shirt covers the top of the pants so no one can see that I’m in full Urkel mode under there.

The hospital gave me some sort of compression band that is white and stretchy, and while it does smooth out my profile, it gets super itchy after an hour or so. I wear it from time to time, usually with jeans (because I absolutely refuse to give up my low rise jeans I wore before this surgery, and the bag bulges with air over the top of my jeans as it fills with urine if I don’t use some sort of compression garment).  I’ve also taken to simply tucking the top of the bag down into my jeans. Bottom line: I have to empty the bag more often if I’m wearing jeans than if I’m wearing something with more give regardless which method of smoothing I choose.

I also recently decided to try out Spanx because I had a party to which I wanted to wear a dress.  OK, to be fair, I didn’t want to spend $80 on my first pair so I went to Kohl’s and got Flexees. They were about half the price and worked great!  I went with the style that has shorts that hit mid thigh and the top comes up to just under my boobs.  I wanted the versatility to wear them with skirts or pants. Even I couldn’t tell that I had a urostomy. This was amazing! It was as I stared at my sexy self in my new dress in the mirror that I felt alright about my body for the first time since surgery. These things are a god send where self esteem is concerned.

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Spread the Word… and ONLY the Word

Hey guys! January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.  If you have a cervix or not, please be an extension of my voice this month.  Please have the conversations that are uncomfortable to have with the men, women, and young adults in your lives.  The highlight reel would be:

  • Ladies, get your pap smear regularly (and for the love of all that is good, get the follow up if it’s necessary!). Check with your doctor to find out how often you should get a pap.
  • Parents, get your kids vaccinated against HPV!
  • Condoms are not fool proof here.  HPV, which causes cervical cancer (and 5 other cancers), is a contact disease. So unless you’re wearing a full body condom from start to finish when you’re revving up for, doing, and snuggling up after the dibbity, you are at risk of contracting HPV if your partner is infected.
  • HPV has no symptoms and usually clears within about a year of infection, but can “hide” in the body for years.  There’s no way to know for sure when an infection occurred or who the culprit is.  So even if you’ve been with the same person for ever and a day or you haven’t had sex in at least as long, you could still be at risk.
  • Even someone who has only had sex with one partner could be at risk if that person’s list extends beyond +1. And on that note, keep in mind that, while we’d all love to believe that our partners are 100% honest with us, there’s always, always the chance that they aren’t. Furthermore, since HPV is spread skin to skin and not by exchange of sexual fluids, penetration is not necessary to spread the disease. So, ladies, be your own advocate and go get a pap. Better safe than sorry.
  • Boys need to be educated and vaccinated too.  While it’s far less common for males to develop cancer (though the risk is higher in males having anal sex than in those not), men can contract HPV and pass it along just as easily… where on earth do you think all the women are getting it???
  • Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers.  If caught early enough, it can generally be wiped out.  There are rare cases, like mine however, where that is not the case.  I was getting my pap smears like whoa, and it just happened that the cancer in my body was far more aggressive than most (a 4cm tumor grew on my cervix in 3 months; a tumor that size generally takes years to form). All I can say is, I’d hate to think how bad all of this would have been if I hadn’t been so diligent with the screenings.

Please spread the word. If we can save just one person, I would be happy.  Imagine what it would be like if we saved a bunch 🙂

For more information, check out these sites:

National Cervical Cancer Coalition –  http://www.nccc-online.org/index.php/overview

The Yellow Umbrella – http://www.theyellowumbrella.org/

About the HPV vaccine – http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/vaccine.html

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