Here’s a cutsie story to prove love exists, even with a bag.
I can’t even count how many times people have come to me, asking how someone could ever love them with a bag on their side. Ostomies and relationships are a common worry.
Zak and I had been dating for maybe a couple of weeks the first time I slept over. We were still in that phase where we didn’t quite know where it was going, but we enjoyed each other’s company and spent as much time as possible together. He knew about my ostomy and I was very open with it. I never felt shy telling someone I was dating that it existed.
The next morning, I woke up first and realized the clip on the end of my bag and broken, meaning my output was everywhere. Everywhere. Do you know how much a bag fills up overnight?! Everywhere. My heart sank when I realized what had happened and I burst into tears. This woke Zak up who immediately realized what happened. I thought that that was the end. He’d be courteous, but I wouldn’t hear from him again.
He was straight-forward with me. All he said was “Oh, ok, I’ll wait outside the room while you clean up. Just hand me the blankets when you’re done, I’ll throw them in the wash and here is a pair of shorts you can borrow.” I cleaned myself up, wore his shorts and went back to my apartment (I lived in the apartment below his). I cried all morning and awkward scenarios of us running into each other in the future ran through my head. We’d make small talk, and I would know what he really thought of me. I’d always be the girl with the leaking ostomy bag to him.
That night, to my surprise, he came downstairs to my apartment to invite me to hang out with him and his roommates. No mention of what happened that morning. He acted like it never happened. Of course I went, and even though him and all of his roommates knew what happened, no one treated me differently.
Here I am five years later, sitting with Zak as he comes up with names to title this blog post, with a ring on my finger. The most recent bag explosion involved Zak tugging on my shirt, which accidentally pulled my bag off. Unfortunately, my bag was extremely full at the time. It literally exploded on the floor (thank goodness we were in our bathroom). Zak jumped back as I dramatically fell to the ground like I had been shot. I’m screaming, crying, laughing all at once. He ran for his life, afraid of the crime scene he just caused. I was lying on the floor, unsure how to move without making things worse. He appeared a few moments later in the doorway, a hat pulled down over his eyes, with his arms stretched out holding a towel. “I’ll help…” he said, but I knew he would rather not. I told him to get out, and I jumped in the shower fully clothed.
He doesn’t care that I have a bag. In fact, he knows how much better I feel with it. Its a part of our relationship. He tells me when to empty my bag before I even realize its full. He laughs when it makes noises and calls it by his name, Leroy.
Having an ostomy didn’t make it harder for me to have a relationship. Actually, it made it possible. Without my bag, I am not sure where I would be health-wise. I know that with it, I can get married and have a life with Zak.