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Here comes the bride, all dressed in white…
The thought of having a stoma can be overwhelming, and for Gemma that meant having one for as long as possible.
"No, I'm not having it. There's no way I'm going to have a bag attached to me".
But with the support of her partner Vic she eventually made the decision to have her colostomy and life has taken a turn for the better.
32-year-old Gemma lives with her partner Vic and Vic's two young children. Vic proposed to her in 2017 and has supported her throughout her journey with a stoma. In this podcast they talk openly about the impact that having a stoma had on Gemma's body image and how Vic's positive approach and support is helping them prepare for their wedding day.
The challenges of getting married...
They say that getting married is one of the most stressful life events that you will experience, and having a stoma presents added challenges that require planning to ensure everything goes smoothly.
"Having the stoma does make things feel more stressful, because before I went to try dresses on, I was thinking "Can you see it?"
Gemma prides herself on being fashion conscious, but having a stoma knocked her self-confidence and she changed her wardrobe in an attempt to feel more comfortable in her own skin.
"I'm really into my fashion and that's been a big change in my life since I've had the stoma created because I literally just had to live in a t-shirt and leggings. And I'm now getting more confidence and I'm using these bags, I think I will start to get a new wardrobe and match, colour coordinate."
All things white and wonderful...
For Gemma, being able to have a white bag was a major psychological barrier. It was not about having a colour preference it was about the confidence and security it would give her.
"I'll be less worried on the wedding day using the new bags because they are less noisy, and they match the colour of the dress. So, I'm going to be less paranoid and worried that people can see or hear it as I'm moving."
Having tried some new white convex bags she was able to relax and look forward to her big day.
"The new bags have given me a new lease of confidence, so I'm not as stressed and worried about the wedding day. I'm really excited and looking forward to it."
And we are pleased to report that all things went according to plan...
You can listen to the full podcast below:
Alternatively, you can listen to this podcast episode by searching for 'Me, My Bag and I' on your preferred podcast platform.
We'd love to know what you think of the podcasts so don't forget to rate it and leave a review on iTunes.