Although the idea of living with a stoma is not the most pleasant one, it can give you a new lease on life. A doctor recommends an ostomy only when there is a life-threatening underlying condition. The stoma aims at removing the diseased portion for good.
In this article, we will share the story of Keith Thomas, a 59-year-old bus driver from Swansea in South Wales. He now lives in Llanelli. In 2008, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis after years of illness.
In 2012, his bowel stopped functioning, which led him to have a total colectomy. Before the procedure, his working life became increasingly hard. During his illness, he worked as a quality control inspector and then a purchaser for bus seats. Due to ending up with one of the worst sicknesses of his life, his professional routine got affected badly. He describes it as one of the most significant hardships to walk a hundred yards to the workplace and having his body soiled due to colitis. At that point, the only thing he would be able to do was to call in sick. On such days, he used to feel more ill and depressed. He didn’t know if he could get back to his workplace.
After the life-changing stoma operation, he had to wait for six weeks before he was able to go back to his workplace. It was a pleasant change as he could work full hours. Nonetheless, there was always a risk of hernia due to weak abdominal muscles, so he could lift heavy objects during his job.
He said that although he was working full-time, he missed the old days as a coach driver. He had to leave that job due to his illness. But then, he saw a job ad for drivers and quickly decided to apply for the position. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of his life after having the stoma. During the interview, he remained honest about his illness and told his interviewers how having a stoma changed his life for good. He now works forty hours a week and is happy to have his routine life back. He considers his ostomy and being able to work full time as the best things in his life, and he makes sure that working is no longer an obstacle for him.
Keith calls his stoma ‘Homer’ because it saved his life. Remembering the days of his illness, he said that those were the dark days of his life. He was close to losing his life, but then he decided to undergo a total colectomy, which resulted in him having a stoma. In his message to others, he said that there was life possible after an illness and that people can work full-time jobs with their stomas. It is all about the will to get up again.
Although Keith had to adapt to a completely different toilet routine, it didn’t remain bothersome after some practice and experience. Since he takes care of his stoma and makes sure that his ostomy pouch remains adhered well on his tummy, he doesn’t consider it much of an issue.