Today I went swimming for the first time with my stoma and it was GREAT!
I got up early today and walked one of Jaimie’s dogs then came home and did some washing – the usual household chores and finally decided (after weeks of bleeding and being unable to go swimming) that today was the day I was going swimming. I had my shower and popped on my swimming costume under my clothes and took my stoma supplies with me incase I needed them, a large towel, toiletries and some change for a locker and to use the hairdryer to dry my bag afterwards. As I walked into the swimming pool, my auntie who works there let me know that due to being on PIP and ESA, you get 60% off! After setting this up and paying which only cost me £2 to swim today! , I went through to the changing facilities and put my stuff into a locker and went into the showers before entering the pool.
The first thing that got me excited to swim was the amazing smell of the chlorine and how much memories came flooding back to me from my childhood swimming with friends and family. I put on a swimming cap and goggles and dipped into the water, it felt luke warm so just perfect! As I haven’t been swimming since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 17 in 2012 I was a tad nervous that I had forgotten on how to swim! However I put my right foot on the side of the pool and pushed myself and off I went! I was grinning from side to side of my mouth with pure joy, the feeling of pushing through the water was truly amazing. It felt so great and although my joints in my legs did hurt a little, I know it will help them in the long run as it has been recommended by many healthcare professionals to try to help them.
I managed to swim in there for around 45 minutes taking breaks in between and then decided it was time to set off home. I went into the showers and freshened up then dried myself with my big fluffy towel and got dressed then set off home. Once home I felt so relaxed and my joints were a little swollen but nothing compared to what they usually swell up to when I go for a walk! My ileostomy bag and Astoa Adhesive Flange Extender stuck really quite well with only a little peeling at the top where the skin would normally tighten and pull when doing day-to-day tasks or sleeping. Mentally this has been really rewarding for me in the aspects of my mental health with feeling more positive and then being proud of myself for doing something like this!
I highly recommend swimming but please do make sure you get permission from your surgeon or IBD Team first as if you have wound or fistula issues then it may not be a good idea. My advice to anyone wondering about your bag leaking – with the right products this will not happen! You can also get ostomy swim wear at Vanilla Blush (to view womens click womens and to view mens please click mens) or Respond Healhcare to view their range please click here.
Wishing you all the best of luck if you decide to give swimming a chance again!
-Alannah A.K.A Glitterygutsx