If there’s a support group near you, I urge you to go. Surrounding yourself with other ostomates is a great way to cope with your ostomy. A support group is a safe place to talk about your struggles, questions, and success stories as well as help other attendees.

If you’re in America, Find a support group in your area.

If you’re in Europe, Find a support group in your area.

If you’re in Australia, Find a support group in your area.

If you find that you are the youngest person attending a support group, KEEP GOING! Regardless of age, each ostomate has an ostomy and in turn has similar questions, problems and accomplishments related to them. You might make a new friend, and if another younger person happens to attend, seeing you there would be really comforting for them and would likely encourage them to return.

IBD, Colon Cancer, and FAP support groups may also have ostomates among them.

Please remember that support groups are for SUPPORT. When you’re going to a support group to offer support, go with the best attitude you can muster up. Having a positive vibe at your support group can help everyone have a more positive outlook and a more positive outlook makes life more pleasurable. We can only control ourselves, so it’s your responsibility to choose what is appropriate to share. For example, if someone new attends your support group and they’re gearing up for surgery and are really nervous, telling them about the horrible hospital experience you had probably won’t calm their nerves that much. They don’t need to know that story because it is not guaranteed that it will happen to them. Perhaps choose to share a story about an accomplishment you’ve had since your surgery. Encourage them to remain positive and remind them that while there are risks with any surgery, plenty of people find themselves complication-free and heal just fine.