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I have a mild and intermittent TikTok habit. Sometimes I can go for days or weeks and then I remember that I have the app and am looking for a distraction and there I go, down the rabbit hole of political chaos, “Karen’s” on the loose, Covid-19 information and a plethora of dance videos to name the most prevalent content that I see. One day as I was scrolling a younger bare-chested man with a colostomy bag attached to his chiseled abs popped onto my screen. This shapely specimen with a glistening chest and bulging biceps pops off his empty bag, wipes as if there is debris around his stoma (the rosebud shaped beefy red intestine that is meant to spew forth brown goo) and then he places a new bag on as a commentator explains his process and commends this person for their bravery. Though I agree that it takes some gumption to show a front butt in all of its glory to hundreds of thousands of people, I think it is far easier to do so when your body is basically unmarred except for said ostomy, though it is a tad unrealistic taking off a clean bag and replacing it with another clean bag, that is usually not going to happen and it is super wasteful on top of that.

There are so many different sizes and ages of people that have had to get this often life saving procedure and really only the younger, fitter models are the ones brought out for public consumption “See, this is no big deal!” These people seem to convey. I have heard of people who refuse to leave their homes for fear that they may have a mishap or that someone might know. I have never let this disability (as it is defined) stop me from showing my now 51 year old face in public and I am pretty good at camouflage of my area but my body, though thin, has a hernia around the site, a boob shaped protrusion that pushes forth my baby butt hole. I still have difficulty cleaning it without having to peer at it with one eye as if that makes it less frightening, more because of the bulging under my “Klaus” (people often name their stoma) rather than my intestine that is swirled and attached to my belly. The TikTok video was so homogenized really, almost an advertisement to someone who might be thinking about getting their own new stink eye as if it was a new car or a fancy boat.

A realistic colostomy commercial directed by me and inspired by my own experience would go something like this:

A person upon waking up would hear a gurgling (of course we would have the audience hear this too for drama). The bag attached to their abdomen would then comically expand and our star would run to the bathroom clutching said bag to ensure that it stays in place and sit on the toilet. They would then find a bag to dispose of the full one they are replacing and remove said full bag from apparatus that is adhered to the skin like a super glued sticker and place the waste in a receptacle. At this point the area around the stoma is cleared of debris (as in poop), by toilet paper, sometimes lots of it as the waste can be incredibly sticky and messy. This fecal hero, upon reaching for a new replacement bag would then notice that their front butt was not done with its morning ablutions as like Mt Vesuvius it once again spews forth brown magma sometimes hitting the inner toilet but often the lower belly and thighs on the way down, calling for another round of cleaning. Finally, the belly quiet, our star attaches a new bag and they are fresh for the day. (Insert a sunrise showing through the bathroom window) AND cut!

That is about as brave as I am going to get with my ostomy situation, ha! No shade to the fitness models who have faced their own struggles either, I just wanted to share a different, albeit, grosser perspective, life can be disgusting, no filter is going to hide that forever.

Until next time ❤️

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Jessica Dover
Jessica Dover
Nov 19, 2021

Film it! You really should do these videos for viewing in oncology clinics, you're right that having some fitness model tell you hard it is to get the bag off when your rock-hard abs are in the way isn't necessarily everyone's experience...

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