After undergoing colostomy surgery as a young mother, Amanda became an ostomy advocate. Years later, she’s enjoying where she is in life, and offering tips for living normally with a stoma.
At 30, Amanda had three young children and was experiencing the first symptoms of rectal cancer. Initially her doctor diagnosed haemorrhoids and asked her to provide a stool sample as a precaution – which she forgot to do. In late 2015, she experienced a blockage and had difficulty going to the toilet. This led to a Stage 3-4 rectal cancer diagnosis. The recommended treatment was a radical surgery that would result in a permanent colostomy.
Amanda is so thankful that her ostomy surgery allowed her to survive cancer. Watching her children grow up kept her positive and strong throughout her cancer journey. She continues to be grateful for the lessons she has learned along the way, embracing each day and her time with her kids to its fullest.
One of the challenges Amanda faced post-surgery was the impact on her fitness and her love for the gym. It took her 12 to 18 months after surgery to take up exercise again. This period of rest allowed inflammation and abdominal pain to subside, and gave her body time to heal.
Amanda shares her story openly to increase ostomy awareness and knowledge, help others feel less alone, and destigmatize the topic. “People are blown away when they hear my story and see that I live normally with a colostomy,” she says.
Amanda’s tips for living with and managing an ostomy
Over the years, Amanda has learned several things that she likes to share with others – to help them live well with a stoma:
For Amanda, stoma surgery not only saved her life, but also helped her appreciate every day. “I am enjoying where I am in life right now,” says Amanda “I feel confident, capable, and comfortable in my own skin.”
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