Sleeping With an Ostomy: Then & Now

sleep with an ostomy

Support groups are great for talking about things that only an ostomate would wonder about, like how we sleep with an ostomy. A couple of my friends and I were talking about sleeping positions and some of them were expressing concern about laying on their stomach for any length of time. I went through a progression of sleeping positions as I … Read More

Packing for Travel with an Ostomy

Packing for Travel with an Ostomy

One of my travel anxieties is running out of ostomy supplies. To me, it seems like an easy problem to avoid if you do a little planning when you’re packing for travel with an ostomy. Alexander Graham Bell said it best “Preparation is the key to success.” How many ostomy supplies to pack They say to pack 2-3 times as … Read More

Fun Ostomy Halloween Costume Ideas

ostomy halloween costume ideas

Halloween is less than a month away and I’m sure some of you want to dress up and feature your ostomy but haven’t decided what you want to be yet. Maybe this post will help. I found some cute ostomy halloween costume ideas for the folks who want to dress up their pouch, and some cute halloween costume ideas that … Read More

Participate in Ostomy Awareness Day 2017

ostomy awareness day 2017 #ostomyday2017 #myostomyadventure

Ostomy Awareness Day 2017 is October 7!  It comes around once a year as a day to raise ostomy awareness and work to shift the perception of ostomies into a positive light. My experience has been that many of the people I’ve told about my ostomy know someone close to them who either has an ostomy, or has come close … Read More

UOAA Recap Part 3: Exhibitors Galore

uoaa national conference exhibitors 2017

I’ve talked about the friendships made and knowledge shared at the UOAA Conferences, but I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the exhibit hall. These exhibitors (and tons of other small companies!) are the folks who work every day to make our lives more manageable with an ostomy. Give them a mental round of applause and say thank … Read More

UOAA RECAP Part 2: There’s Always Something New to Learn

UOAA National Conference Recap 2017

Whether you’ve been a part of the ostomy community for 20+ years or joined it yesterday, the United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA) National Conference is worth attending. There are two main themes that come up time and time again when talking to people about their experiences at the conference: education and friendship. You can read about the bonds that … Read More

UOAA RECAP Part 1: Ostomy Camaraderie

UOAA Conference - Ostomy Friendship

Ostomies don’t discriminate, it doesn’t matter your gender, sex, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, age, attitude toward life, social status, diet, or activity level. Whoever you are and wherever you come from, if you have an ostomy, you have something in common with 725,000 to 1,000,000 other Americans and a huge number of other people across the world (numbers … Read More

It’s Stomaversary Month Again – Four Years Flies By!

Stomaversary - “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Recently, I realized that that this month marks my fourth stomaversary month.  Time sure does fly… Three and a half years ago, I was meeting with Heidi from She was about three years out of surgery at that point and reading her blog was (is) a huge inspiration to me. She had done so many things I couldn’t dream … Read More

Ostomy Supplies & Staying at Your Partner’s Place

Keeping my ostomy supplies neat and organized is important for my sanity. It’s also pretty simple for me when I live in one place and don’t travel much. I know where everything I need is and I keep it easily accessible in case I need to grab a change quickly. I’ve got a system for storage and do my best … Read More

Innocent Remarks Can Hurt: Stand up for Yourself

The decision to start training capoeira after I felt strong enough post-surgery was not an easy one.  I knew that I missed capoeira a lot, but I’m pretty risk averse and training any martial art with an ostomy has its risks. Most obviously, I don’t really want to get kicked in the ostomy or do something that would result in … Read More

How I Built Strength Post-Surgery

 I know it’s cliche, but it might be true: You can do anything you want with an ostomy.  You might not be able to do it immediately after surgery, or even a couple months after surgery, but with some determination and perseverance, you can make it happen.  It doesn’t always feel like that’s true though – when your body hurts and you’re scared … Read More

Winter Clothing Items Every Female Ostomate Should Have In Their Closet

Let’s talk about clothes!  Figuring out what to wear was hard enough without an ostomy.  Then I got an ostomy and as I was healing, my belly was sore and tender, my clothes were uncomfortable, I was scared to wear anything tight for fear that it would burst my pouch, and I was self-conscious that my pouch was totally noticeable … Read More

Water Adventures: Ready, Set, Wake-Surf!

A couple months ago I admitted that I had only recently faced my fear of going in the water with my ostomy. In that post I mentioned that I intended to go wake surfing later in the summer, and I’m here to tell you that wake-surfing is exactly what I did! It was AWESOME!  It’s basically surfing in the wake … Read More

Outdoor Adventures: Backpacking & Camping with an Ostomy

I told my friends I was going backpacking and camping. Just for one night as a trial run. When they asked if I was excited to try out backpacking and camping with an ostomy I could honestly respond YES. But as usual, my brain was also in overdrive worrying about my upcoming trip. I’m always worrying about something, but over … Read More

Three Things I Practice to Build My Happiness

I’ve spent a lot of time on self-reflection in the last few years. My friends and family note how much I’ve changed since my surgery, but this journey started well before that and is going to keep going for the rest of my life. When I make a mistake, I kick myself and question whether I’ve really changed at all. … Read More

Indoor Soccer Anyone?

During one of my hospital stays, I had some incredible medical staff checking in on me.  Being at a teaching hospital I had the whole range from current medical students to residents to esteemed doctors on my case coming in to talk to me each day.   There were two people who spent extra time listening to me and checking in … Read More

Stomaversary Month, Tackle Your Fears Year

My stomaversary month came and went before I had a chance to give it the public attention it deserves! When I sit and think about my ostomy, I think of life.  I begin to reflect on what the experience of becoming and being an ostomate has done for me, and I smile.  I also cry sometimes, because like all of you, I’m … Read More

A Dedicated Day to Raise Ostomy Awareness

This year’s Ostomy Awareness Day theme is Resilience: Bouncing Back into Life. Having an ostomy gives thousands of people a chance to keep living, and in many cases, that chance improves their quality of life exponentially. There’s an old saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I say, “When life gives you an ostomy, bounce back.” The reasons people … Read More

Pushing my Limits! Rock Climbing & Zip Lining

Trying new things with an ostomy can be scary. My doctors freaked me out about trying a lot of foods and movements because of the risk for blockages and hernias. I conquered my food fears by doing my best to understand why certain foods might cause blockages and then using that knowledge to make educated decisions about what to eat … Read More

Is Your Immune System a Hero or a Villain?

The other night I played Scattergories with my family. The letter was P and one category was “Villain/Monster”. Someone wrote PopEye and at first, majority vote was that PopEye was not a villain but it sparked a conversation. From Bluto’s perspective (the antagonist), surely PopEye WAS the villain. This lead to the profound realization that every hero is also a … Read More

Hot Tub Confession

I have a confession to make. I didn’t get my ostomy pouch wet for the first 2.5 years I had it. I know. Crazy right? How did I shower? Carefully. Didn’t I want to go in the pool? Not particularly, plus I didn’t really have the opportunity. What about the hot tub? It’s never really been my thing. ..But even in … Read More

Preparing For Full-Time Employment: Clothes!

One of my first questions when I was offered the job was “What’s the dress code?”  My new boss told me to wear business casual and jeans on Fridays.  I was really looking forward to Fridays!  I hadn’t had to get dressed up very often since my colectomy.  The occasional wedding or fun outing, sure, but day to day my clothes were athletic attire … Read More

Preparing for Full Time Employment: Pouch Changes

Believe it or not, most of my stress about starting a new job has not been ostomy related.  I wrote about my new job worries and attempts at squandering them here.  From an ostomy standpoint, I wonder to myself if my boss googled me and found my website, FaceBook, or Instagram. I also wonder if or when it would be appropriate to … Read More

Preparing for Full Time Employment: 8-5 Here I Come!

Starting a new job is pretty scary. Will everyone like me? Will my boss and I understand each other? Will I learn quickly enough? What is parking like? Is there a fridge to keep my lunch in? Questions we’ve all worried about, right? Now add an ostomy to the equation.  Did my boss google me during the hiring process and find … Read More

Are You Out of the Ostomy Closet?

At the UOAA National Conference, I met a lot of people who were in different stages of acceptance of and openness about their ostomy.  In my opinion, there are three main types of ostomates when it comes to the level of publicity about their ostomy a person engages in, but I’m sure there are grey areas between each main stage as well. Out … Read More

It’s Not: “Hi, I’m Karin and I Have an Ostomy”

I’ll admit it. I enjoy talking about myself. I like telling my story. I like hearing people tell me how strong I am and how much they admire what I’m doing.  Who wouldn’t like that extra push of encouragement, especially on a less than perfect day.  That said – I don’t want to be the one to start the conversation all … Read More

UOAA National Conference: Education & Friendship

I’ve sat down to write about my experience at the UOAA National Conference a number of times now, and so far it’s been challenging to put my experience into words. Taking a different approach with this attempt, if I had to sum up my experience in one word, it would be: Life changing. I can’t tell you exactly how my … Read More

Educate about Ostomies, End the Stigma – World Ostomy Day 2015

It’s World Ostomy Day! It’s also Ostomy Awareness Day! This is my third year celebrating Ostomy Awareness Day. It’s pretty surreal. The first year I was just a few weeks out of surgery and remember sitting on my bed posting on Facebook about it.  I looked back for my status update and it turns out I celebrated by eating brownies.  You … Read More

Journey to my Permanent Ostomy – Part Two

Back at home, I was spoiled. My dad took on chef duty and my boyfriend took on listen to me whine and make sure I take all my pain meds duty. A couple days after I got home my aunt (who is a nurse) came to visit and lend the empathetic ear that only a nurse can lend. She also … Read More

Journey to my Permanent Ostomy – Part One

In honor of having had surgery a year ago to make my ostomy permanent, I decided to strap myself to a chair and write about it. This surgery was a totally different experience for me than my first surgery for a number of reasons: First Surgery Pretty much on my death bed, frail, and in the most intense IBD flare … Read More

45 Things I’ve Done with my Ostomy

Part of what makes people nervous about having an ostomy is the worry that their life will be “over” and they’ll never get to do “normal” things again from eating out to enjoying intimacy. I’d like to settle your nerves. I’ve had my ostomy two years (today is my stomaversary!) and in those two years, even in just the first year, I … Read More

Ever Woken Up With Poop Outside of Your Bag? I Have!

It was 5:30am and the sun was already up. As I came into consciousness from the night’s sleep, I went to feel my bag and instead I felt warm wetness. As if I didn’t know what it was, I pulled my hand up to look at it, saw poop and reached back for more. Coltrane had really done it this … Read More

Traveling – Worry for nothing

Here’s a post I found recently that I wrote just before my surgery last year.  It appears that it slipped through the cracks before I got around to posting it – oops! Up until recently, the vacations I’ve taken since I’ve had my ostomy have either been to familiar places or for 2-3 days in a place unfamiliar to me, … Read More

NewbieOstomy Has A New Look!

I’ve been working on a new look (and improved information) for Newbie Ostomy for months. Almost a year, actually. I didn’t want to make it live until it was perfect, but who am I kidding? It will never be perfect. There will always be things to improve and add to the website because there’s always new information and experiences to share. … Read More

The Chef Learned Something New

On vacation, you get to eat out a lot – it’s one of my favorite parts. I really like to eat. There are two problems with this that I run into pretty frequently. Firstly, I get overwhelmed by busy menus. There are so many choices and it’s such a challenge to pick something within my budget that sounds yummy and … Read More

India, 100 Miles of Running and a Colostomy – Sarah Russell Rocks

Have you ever heard of the Himalayan 100? It’s a race in North East India where you run 100 miles over five days.  Running 100 miles seems like quite a feat in itself, now add in a rough, hilly terrain at a high altitude in India.  That was one of the races on Sarah’s list of ‘dream races’.   Sarah Russell has … Read More

I’ve got a Barbie Butt!

Wow, It’s been a couple months since I’ve posted, and there’s no excuse for that! I had my completion proctectomy at the end of September, the surgery where they took out the remaining bit of my rectum and anus and sewed my bum up shut like a barbie doll. It’s not as pretty as a barbie doll’s butt, but it’s … Read More

Redirecting to Happy Thoughts

“Some of the worst things in my life never even happened” – Mark Twain Whenever I’m stressing about the future, I remember those wise words.  With my surgery for a completion protecting just under a month away, you can imagine I’m a a little nervous. I keep cycling through different emotions and realizations about the surgery and my recovery. For the … Read More

Change-Day in Real Life & Vacation

From the start, changing my bag made me really anxious. I’ve been adamant about doing it myself, as I feel that it is an important skill to have to maintain my independence. I realize now that the act of changing my bag on my own served as a way for me to take ownership of my new situation. Though a … Read More

Cartwheel with an Ostomy. Yep, you can!

Before the flare that resulted in my ostomy, I practiced an Afro-Brazilian martial art called Capoeira. Capoeira is a beautiful art form comprised of martial arts, dance, gymnastics, music, culture, tradition, and so much more. I used to be able to judge how bad of a flare I was in based on which movements I could do without too much … Read More

Coltrane for life. Why I decided to make my ostomy permanent.

When the surgeon and I were talking about my colectomy in the hospital, she mentioned leaving a couple inches of rectum partially because it was so inflamed she wasn’t comfortable operating, but also so that I’d have the possibility to have my ostomy reversed and go the j-pouch route.  I told her I wouldn’t be doing that but she didn’t … Read More

IBD Flares with Total Colectomy

They’re called extraintestinal manifestations of IBD.  Nobody told you about them, and if your doctors don’t talk, they probably don’t realize that your symptoms are all related. A couple years ago I got a weird rash that started on my stomach and spread slowly to my legs and a couple spots on my arms.  A physician’s assistant diagnosed it at … Read More

Transit time mouth to bag

This may be TMI, but I like to play this game with Coltrane called what color is my poop going to be!   Obviously, it’s not really challenging – I ate carrots today and, you guessed it, orange! Kale in my smoothie?  Green! Spinach? Also green!  Everyone told me beets would turn it red and that one time I ate … Read More

Lingerie for Ostomates in a Brick & Mortar store

Have you heard of Vanilla Blush?  They design lingerie, swimwear and menswear for people with ostomies.  They focus on their products being functional AND fashionable so you can get the support you need for your stoma and feel confident in what you’re wearing.  Vanilla Blush advertises their lingerie with pin-up models, because ostomates deserve to be feel sexy and what’s more … Read More

NY Ostomy Supply Coverage Success

According to the Wall Street Journal, the New York legislature has voted that health insurers are required to provide coverage for ostomy supplies and equipment. If you have an ostomy, you know supplies are pricey (and definitely not an option). Run out of bags? You got a problem, right? So far I’ve been lucky enough to have insurance that covers … Read More

What tips your iceberg?

Sometimes when we are confronted with a life-changing reality, we get stuck on the small things. It’s the same when a bunch of bad things happen and we take them in stride and then we spill water on our white shorts and react like it’s the end of the world. The straw that tipped the camels back. Whatever you want … Read More

Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder Review

I recently won a giveaway contest for Kiss Me Organic’s Matcha Green Tea Powder, woohoo! This post reflects my honest opinion of Kiss Me Organics’ Matcha product. Before trying this product, my knowledge of matcha was just from the green tea lattes I frequently order at coffee shops (yum!). Typically when I think of matcha, I associate it with green … Read More

A leak and a lesson learned

I’ve been really excited about Cymed, an ostomy bag manufacturer.  Way more excited, probably, than I should be/have been because I haven’t had an overwhelmingly great experience with their product.  The thing is, I LOVE their concept. I should mention I usually wear a two piece-drainable system and much prefer that over a one-piece.  I usually wear Hollister, but I … Read More

Ostomy Fashion Show

Having an ostomy can be fun! The Carmichael Ostomy Association does an annual fashion show and I was lucky enough to participate this year. It was a blast. I am guessing that the models ranged in age from mid-twenties (me) to …who knows… 70s? 80s? Everyone was dressed so nicely. We each picked a song to play while we “walked … Read More

Dinner with an ostomate.

Since becoming an ostomate, I have met some really cool people. There are a number of other young bloggers out there who are so wonderful and responsive when you reach out with millions of questions. One of those wonderful people is Heidi. Heidi runs the blog and lives an incredibly active lifestyle exploring nature, rock-climbing, skiing, snowboarding – you … Read More

Packing for the Hospital

If you’re lucky and get to schedule your surgery, you will have the luxury of packing items of your choice for your hospital stay. Here’s a list of things that I was glad I brought (or wished I’d remembered) during my hospital stay.  Please comment if you have other ideas for things that I forgot! Legal stuff: Identification Insurance Card … Read More

How to Empty an Ostomy Bag

I have been thinking about writing this post a lot lately, so today when a friend of mine asked me if I carry around a spoon with me to help me empty, I decided I should sit down and get writing about how to empty an ostomy bag.  So much of the information on the internet is about how to … Read More

Getting a Massage with an Ostomy

As I heal further, I find myself experimenting more and more with food, exercise, movement, everything.  Laying on my stomach is included. It took me about 5 or 6 months beyond surgery to feel comfortable “laying” on my stomach.  I put the word laying in quotes, because I still don’t lay flat.  I usually put a pillow of sort under … Read More

Happy 6 Months to Coltrane!

Wow has it been 6 months already? I remembered the day before and the day after, but on my actual 6 month stomaversary, I completely forgot. I didn’t do anything special, I’ve actually been really tired lately so I took a long nap and went for a nice 3 mile walk along a horse trail and ate a tasty potato … Read More

Coltrane Ran a Mile

The undy5000 is a great event hosted by the Colon Cancer Alliance that I never would have known about if Coltrane was not a part of my life.  A few members of one of the support groups I go to had signed up to go so I figured, why not? I have always wanted to do a 5k.  One of … Read More

My Ostomy Went Hiking

Hiking!  Coltrane and I went hiking!  We went to Muir Woods, a beautiful area just north of San Francisco, CA.  I was really excited to have found someone willing to make the short drive and go hiking with me. I hadn’t been there in over ten years and it was just as beautiful as I remembered. When we were assessing … Read More

Not Every Day is Easy

I would be lying if I said every day with an ostomy was easy.  Today is one of the days that it’s not so easy to stay in a good mood. I woke up early and haven’t been getting a lot of sleep (not ostomy related, just busy).  I’m grateful that my body wakes me up when my bag gets … Read More

5 Months and Going Strong

Yesterday marked 5 months and boy am I proud of myself.  It’s hard to fathom that just five months ago I could hardly walk 15 feet when today I find myself walking 2-3 miles per day like it’s nothing.  I still have a long way to go in terms of gaining my strength back to where I feel comfortable engaging … Read More

I Told Him About My Ostomy

Remember that date I went on?  Apparently he thought it went well too, because he asked me out again.  I really like being productive when I’m hanging out with people so when he asked me if I wanted to accompany him grocery shopping and then come over for a nice home made dinner I was all for it.  We (read: … Read More

Turkey & Avocado Sandwich and Slow Dancing

My date went so well!  I wore a long sleeved, blue dress that is tight over my boobs and then flows loosely over the rest of my stomach and legs. I wore “high-rise” leggings that come up and cover my bag completely (also providing support for the bag which is why I love those particular leggings).  Boots and a scarf … Read More

Getting Back to Dating – Ostomy Edition

I’m going on a date in a few days.  Nervous? A little.  The only other date (or something close to it) I’ve been on since surgery, Coltrane was not particularly welcoming toward.  Coltrane acting out when I’m nervous is not an acceptable form of stress management. We’re going out to dinner, he let me pick the restaurant so I looked … Read More

Eek a Leak!

I had my first ostomy-related wardrobe malfunction yesterday, big shout out to my body for waking me up before it got messy!! The part of my stomach below my appliance has a little roll when I sit down and sometimes my wafer seems like it melts into it, I don’t even know how to explain it, but it’s always kind … Read More

I get to be an Ostomate Visitor!

When I was in the hospital, one of my “roommates” was a girl my age who had just gone through her 2nd stage of 3 in her quest for a j-pouch.  She had had her first step (a temporary ostomy) done a few months prior, this surgery was to build her j-pouch and give her a loop ileostomy, and then … Read More

Just Dance, With an Ostomy

Since I’m still relatively new to the ostomy world, I haven’t had a lot of courage to dance or work out like I used to.   Before surgery I was really active and had just started learning samba and afro-carribean dance. I went to zumba class and played capoeira (an afro-brazilian martial art) almost every day.  Getting sick really knocked … Read More

Almond Meal is Not My Friend

The other day I met Coltrane’s evil twin for the first time.  He’s much bigger than Coltrane and he caused me a lot of pain.  I remember him every time I feel guilty for being totally overkill with my diet and not wanting to expand my food horizons. Who would have thought almond meal/flour pancakes would be a problem? The … Read More

An Ostomy is an Adjustment

Today I learned that some close friends were sharing my story with a lot of their friends (no problem with me, more awareness the better!), but the way the verbiage they were using to tell people bothered me. They had been telling people that I had my colon removed because the doctors just “couldn’t save it”. That doesn’t bother me … Read More

Did They Smell Me?

I sat down in my meeting and thought to myself, man, do I smell?  I had emptied my bag fairly recently but knew it was starting to fill again – coffee and an apple, peach, spinach smoothie will do that to you I guess.  When I got to my car a couple hours later I looked at my bag, wow … Read More

Back to Work. But What Do I Wear?

Note: This post was originally written in December 2013. Today was my first day back at work.  I have been really lucky, the company I work for has been incredibly understanding and is very supportive.  They even sent me a super sweet care package complete with aloe vera infused socks and a book of texts from dogs.  I’m going back … Read More

Healing is a Bumpy Road

Today was seven weeks post-colectomy and my body celebrated by not having nearly as much energy as it had had in the days leading up but after a morning nap I didn’t let that stop me. There is nothing like being able to recognize progress and that is what I have been so lucky to do over the last few … Read More

A Rookie Mistake, Next Time I’ll Taper

Taper isn’t a word typically found in my dictionary. When I decide I don’t want something in my life or diet anymore, I usually cut it out cold turkey, why keep it around?  Unfortunately I made this mistake when I decided to cut back on the pain medicine the doctor had prescribed.  In my defense, she said to take it … Read More

It’s Been One Month

Note: This was written in October 2013 It’s Coltrane’s one month birthday today!  He’s celebrating by giving me my first encounter with diarrhea as an ostomate, at least I think it’s diarrhea but I can’t be positive since I haven’t experienced it before.  I can’t figure out what triggered it, whether it’s food, a virus, or a partial blockage (hopefully … Read More

How Did I Get Here? How I Came to Have an Ostomy.

A suburb girl, I grew up near San Francisco, CA.  I had a relatively healthy childhood, ate my greens and ate my ice cream. I played soccer for a couple years and played clarinet in a local youth orchestra as well as at school.  The symptoms started in High School but I ignored them as any high school kid would … Read More