Good morning and welcome to another #UroStories! Today we have the amazing Wilma Gray, 55 from Blyth Northumberland sharing her story.
- Can you tell me a little about how you got your urostomy?
I was going to the toilet more frequently and I was having continence problems when my bladder was emptying it would spasm. At first, my GP told me to do pelvic floor exercises, my hubby bought me a tens machine for this but it wasn’t making much difference. I persevered for a couple of months more but when I was at work one day I noticed blood in my urine so I told hubby who made me phone for an appointment at the GP. This time I saw my own GP who said that he wanted me seen straight away. He called my hospital but they had nothing for that day. I was seen within 2 weeks and I was told straight away after the scan that there was a tumour and that I would have it removed. I went into Freeman hospital 8th Oct 2013 to have it lasered and a biopsy. I was told it was stage 2 invasive bladder cancer and that I would have to have a radical cystectomy and a urostomy formed on 18th Dec 2013. I recovered very well and was home for 8 days but a few weeks after I was in a lot of pain in the pelvic area and had difficulty walking. I was also diagnosed with a bone infection and I was put on medication which thankfully cleared it up. I have adjusted very well to my urostomy and it does not phase me in the slightest. It is now part of me and who I am!
- What do you feel is the toughest thing to deal with when living with a urostomy and how do you overcome this?
I think the toughest thing is waistbands on trousers as my stoma is situated a little higher than normal due to an appendectomy scar.
- What piece of advice, hints or tips would you give to anybody who is about to have urostomy surgery and start this journey?
I would tell people to take each day as it comes and to plan for trips out. Always carry spares with you!
- Are there any support groups, associations or online groups that have helped you live and accept your urostomy?
There are groups on Facebook and meetings at my local hospital in Newcastle.
- Do you feel there is a different level of awareness with the Healthcare Professionals regarding urostomies compared to the other stoma types?
I haven't come across any Healthcare Professional that doesn’t know about urostomies
- How do you feel we can raise awareness for urostomies within the general public?
I think by being more open and talking about it should help.
- When you are having a down day what one thing do you do to keep positive that you find helps?
When I am having a down day I just give myself a good talking to and tell myself the stoma has kept me alive so that I can see my daughter marry next year.
Thank you Wilma for sharing your story and all your hints and tips your positivity is infectious!