A quick shave and a slow run
I had a couple of near leaks this week, nothing serious, but they were down to my laziness. Unfortunately, as a man with a hairy abdomen, you need to shave the area around your stoma. In my case about every 10 days. While shit does stick, stoma products don’t when things get a bit hairy. It was one of those busy weeks with stuff going on and I kept putting the shaving off until ‘tomorrow’. So this week I’m going to write about shaving the area around your stoma. What you need, shown in the picture from left to right is;
Cheap shaving soap
Used toilet roll or kitchen towel cardboard tube
Cheap disposable razor (79p for a pack of 10)
Tip #1 – try and do this when your stoma is quiet, shaving with an active stoma just isn’t much fun at all and you increase your chances of having a shaving accident which you really don’t want to do. In my case late afternoon, 3 or 4 hours after lunch and before my evening meal is the best time.
Step 1 – Remove your bag and clean your stoma as usual.
Step 2 – Wet the skin around your stoma thoroughly and apply plenty of shaving soap.
Step 3 – Begin shaving on the side of your stoma where the hair grows so that you can shave away from your stoma.
Tip #2 – use your free hand to pull the skin away from your stoma, it keeps the skin taut and allows you to get the razor as close as you can to the stoma.
Step 4 – Shave the side where you are shaving towards your stoma, carefully!
Tip #3 – Use the toilet roll tube to protect your stoma so that if you slip you hit the cardboard tube and not your stoma. Depending on the size of your stoma you can also use the lids from aerosols such as the adhesive remover sprays that you use.
Step 5 – Rinse the area thoroughly, you need to get rid of all the soap, otherwise your pouch won’t stick.
Step 6 – Dry thoroughly, again pouch adhesive works better on dry skin.
Step 7 – This bit you need to do really carefully! Due to the shape of my stoma I have some hairs that appear to grow out of the edge of the stoma. In reality, they are growing out of the skin which has been pulled down to create the edge of the stoma. So I pull the skin away from my stoma and then very delicately cut the hairs using the manicure scissors.
Tip #4 – Bring the scissors in sideways towards your stoma so that if you hit your stoma it is with the side of the scissors. Don’t point the sharp end towards your stoma as it will end in tears (yours) and a trip to A & E.
Step 8 – Put a new bag on – job done, for another 10 days.
On a more positive note, I’m getting back in to my running. I’m taking it very gently 2/3 miles at a time, 3 times a week and at a slow pace. It’s staggering how much muscle strength I’ve lost in the 13 weeks off. Although I was walking 4/5 miles a day for 8 or 9 weeks you use a different set of muscles so my legs ache as if I’ve done a half marathon at a fast pace. But because of the walking I don’t feel tired from a cardio vascular angle.
It’s another step, quite literally, on my road to my ‘new normal’, which I am now realising will not be that much different from my old normal, just with a bit more uncontrolled farting!
The only adaptation to my running kit is a stoma wrap. It’s like a cumberbund and it just keeps the bag close to my body so that it doesn’t flap about. If my stoma had been cut a bit lower on my abdomen, then I could have achieved the same with my shorts or leggings holding it in place. So, with the wrap doing it’s job I don’t even notice that I have a bag when I run which is great.
Highlight of the Week – Cutting my last bag – it’s precut all the way now.
Lowlight of the week – Putting off shaving my stomach.
Thanks for reading.