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Transcript: Stories about pooing in a bag

6 December 2018
This is a full transcript of Stories about pooing in a bag, a BBC Ouch take-over as presented by Hannah Witton and broadcast on 6 December 2018.
JINGLE - BBC Sounds, music, radio, podcasts.
SAM - What can't you do with a stoma?
HANNAH - Poo out of your bum hole.
I was changing my bag the other day and I'd had mushrooms for dinner and I was just pulling out like long bits of mushroom of it. Sorry, not sorry, to everyone listening.
NIAMH Woah, woah, woah. Now, if you're slightly grossed out by that be warned, because there are going to be some more gross bits and a lot of sexy talk on the way. This podcast might not be for you. And if you've got kids in the room I suggest you take them out right now. That one over there, get them out.
We're good. Let's get on with the podcast.
JINGLE - This is another BBC Ouch Takeover where we hand over the microphone to guest presenters to see what they do with it. Like, share and subscribe.
HANNAH - Hi, you are listening to the Ouch podcast. This episode is a stoma takeover where three people who have one shoot the breeze about pooing into a bag. I'm Hannah Witton, I'm a YouTuber and an author, and in January this year 2018 I had emergency surgery from a very severe flare-up of my ulcerative colitis and I now have a stoma. And with me is Sam Cleasby.
SAM - Hi, I'm Sam Cleasby. I'm a BBC Radio Sheffield presenter. I work for the disability charity Scope and I also run the blog So Bad Ass. I've got an ileostomy and I've had one for the last five years and that's due to my ulcerative colitis.
HANNAH - And also with us is Blake Beckford.
BLAKE - Hi, I'm probably most well known for having a stoma and a six pack. I've been doing a lot of campaigning about living with a stoma and continue to do so.
HANNAH - So, we've been given a bunch of random questions to answer which we'll take turns reading out. I will start. What on earth is a stoma anyway?
SAM - I always think it looks like a little strawberry. So, it's like the end of your colon sticking outside of your body. And it's like a little cute strawberry. I'm being nice, aren't I? But that is kind of what it looks like.
HANNAH - Yeah. We all have ileostomies which come out of the end of your small intestine. It's on the right-hand side of our abdomen, like you said, it's red, it's kind of squishy and moist, it has no nerve endings, you can't really feel it if you touch it, and poo comes out of it.
SAM - Although mine is now on my left.
HANNAH - Oh is it?
SAM - Just to confuse you.
HANNAH - An ileostomy on your left! Oh my god, my mind is blown.
SAM - I've had three due to complications.
BLAKE - How is that, kind of getting used to going from one side to the other side when you're changing or emptying?
SAM - It is quite weird. So, for four years it was on my right-hand side and now it's on the left. You sort of learn to dress for it.
BLAKE - Yes.
SAM - And all my things now seem to be on the wrong side. So, I buy dresses with ruffles down one side and now it just looks weird.
Okay, so we know what a stoma is. Shall we go onto the next question? Could you rip out your stoma accidentally?
HANNAH - Wow, you'd hope not! [Laughter] It's attached to your intestine which is attached to your stomach which is attached to your oesophagus which is attached to your throat, so let's hope not. So, your skin heals around it, so at first it's like stitches and then it all just absorbs together.
SAM - So, no, you cannot accidentally rip out your stoma.
BLAKE - Just rip it out, yeah. [Laughter] Let's go onto the next question. Is your stoma bag high maintenance?
HANNAH - When you've got a stoma that is pooing on the outside of your body we use bags that stick to our bodies to collect the waste and then go to the toilet and just empty it. I feel like I've gotten used to it so it doesn't feel high maintenance.
BLAKE - Me too.
SAM - Yeah.
HANNAH - But it's definitely maintenance.
SAM - I think when you first have it it's kind of all-consuming. You have to learn this whole process of how you look after it, how you change it, how you empty it. And I do remember those first few weeks being quite overwhelming because it feels so medicalised at first, because you're taught how to do it by a nurse and so it feels like a medical procedure. Whereas now it is just part of my daily routine: I have a shower, I change my bag. It's not something that I think about.
I remember someone asking me how many times I empty my bag. When I first had my stoma I literally used to keep a little notepad and write down how many times.
BLAKE - I did that.
SAM - And now I feel it's like, well how many times did you have a wee yesterday? It's not something you remember.
BLAKE - No, no.
SAM - So, it's not something that's so consuming.
HANNAH - Do you both, I have to wake up in the middle of the night to empty my bag because it fills up and I'm scared of it leaking?
SAM - I do.
BLAKE - I do.
HANNAH - Oh okay.
SAM - Sorry. Were you hoping we were going to say it's all going to get better?
HANNAH - I was just like maybe over time.
SAM - My husband says that when I'm asleep I pat my stomach and that I don't know I'm doing it.
HANNAH - Amazing.
SAM - So, subconsciously I pat my bag to see if it's full or not.
BLAKE - I do, yeah.
SAM - And I had no idea I did that.
BLAKE - I initially came out of hospital and had a particular bag, had no luck whatsoever, didn't realise there were any other kinds of bags or pouches out there. And then suddenly I researched into it and found there were all these different types of bags which I could sample and try and find something that actually gave me the confidence to go out with my stoma.
SAM - And I think that's why it's so overwhelming when you first get your stoma, because it's like how on earth do I know which of these things I need, what I don't need, how do I try different things. So, especially I think if you've gone into hospital like in a crisis situation and you've not really prepared for it, and then all of a sudden you see this range of products that you've never, ever seen before, you don't know what most of them do.
HANNAH - This is me. [Laughs]
SAM - And suddenly you've got to make these decisions. It's like I don't know!
HANNAH - But once you have the right kind of bag - like I can't feel mine. I often forget that I have one until I go to the toilet and I'm like oh yeah, this is how I do it. Because I can't feel it going about my life.
BLAKE - The only time that I find that they're not is if there's any kind of gas or anything where they start getting a little bit kind of crunchy or you get air in them, they do become a bit in the way sometimes.
HANNAH - Or if my output is kind of liquidy then it gets a bit sloshy.
SAM - Yeah.
BLAKE - Yes. [Laughs]
SAM - Shall we do another question? Because I've just read the next one, I don't know what it means but it makes me laugh. Is there a quick release sex clip?
BLAKE - I was going to say if there is I want one.
HANNAH - Do you? Because then it would mean taking off your bag and then having your stoma just out and about during sexy times, which maybe you don't… unless you're into that, but.
BLAKE - A bit messy.
HANNAH - The bag that I use has a Velcro thing so you can fold it in half.
BLAKE - Shorter.
HANNAH - So, it's shorter and that bit that's flapping around is out of the way. So, I empty it beforehand.
SAM - I had a stoma for two years before I found the Velcro to fold it in half bit.
HANNAH - Oh my god!
SAM - And somebody told me at a meeting and I was like what? Why has no one told me this before?
HANNAH - Mind blown. Wow.
SAM - So, yeah, you can't take your bag off during sex.
HANNAH - Not recommended.
SAM - You're putting output out there. When we say output we mean poo. There's no stopping the poo coming out. It's constant.
HANNAH - We can't control it.
SAM - You don't want to be having any quick release sex clip that would take the bag off because it would not be fun.
HANNAH - I've seen that there are some bags that are miniature that they're like intimacy ones that are much smaller. But then you have to do a whole bag change before and a whole bag change after sex, which for me I'm like that's too much maintenance.
SAM - And that's taking the romance out, isn't it?
HANNAH - Yeah. But maybe for some people that makes them feel more confident. But for me I'm just like, can't be bothered.
SAM - Yeah, it's there. If you're having sex with somebody they know it's there. You can minimise how it feels for you, but there's no point trying to pretend it's not there because it is, and you just have to get over that.
HANNAH - Another question is: can you have sex post-stoma? And the answer is yes you can.
SAM - Hell yeah! [Laughter]
HANNAH - It really shouldn't stop you. I think for me it was more of the mental barriers of like body confidence.
SAM - Absolutely.
BLAKE - Yeah, absolutely.
HANNAH - And feeling insecure and overcoming those. But from a physical sense no, it doesn't really affect anything.
SAM - The only thing that I would add is that I've got a gay male friend who has a stoma and has had everything removed down below.
BLAKE - The Barbie butt.
SAM - Yeah, the Barbie butt. So, Barbie butt is when you have your rectum and anus removed and they sew everything up down below. And obviously as a gay man that's changed his sex life. So, yeah there may be changes and adaptations. Unfortunately I don't think there's much information or support out there for gay men who have had this surgery.
HANNAH - I also think there's not a lot of info out there about if you still have your rectum. Because I've not had everything removed, my rectum's still there, but I've no idea how long it is, how fragile it is. Anal play is not just for gay men, it's for everyone really, so I'm just like I don't know what I can do with my butt, because there's no info out there about if you've got a sewn-up rectum.
SAM - And it's hard because when you have your brief consultations with doctors when you're talking about medical stuff at what point do you say, okay by the way I really want to do this in the bedroom, how can I do it.
HANNAH - I asked my surgeons right after my surgery when I was on loads of anaesthetic, loads of morphine, I was just in this [wails] state. And the surgeons are like, it all went well, do you have any questions. And I was like how big's my bum hole; can I put stuff in it. And I cannot remember what they said. And now I'm too embarrassed to ask them again. [Laughter]
SAM - I think that's the thing, we all talk really publicly about having a stoma, but most people don't want to talk about it, they're a bit embarrassed. So, I love that we're doing this. Let's just do a whole thing about sex.
HANNAH - I wish we could but we've got a lot of other questions. One of them is: what happens if you eat a hot curry?
SAM - So, my family's Indian and when I was in hospital a nurse told me, oh you'll never be able to eat curry again. And honestly I was ready to rip out the drips in my arms and storm out of there. I was like you cannot tell me I'm never eating curry again! She was wrong. I think it just takes time. You have to just try different foods, give your body time to get used to different things. And now there's pretty much nothing that I wouldn't eat. Mushrooms, mushrooms I don't eat.
HANNAH - You see, I eat mushrooms.
BLAKE - I eat mushrooms.
SAM - Do they come out whole?
HANNAH - They pretty much come out whole. I was changing my bag the other day and I'd have mushrooms for dinner and oh my god, I love watching it, it's so fascinating.
SAM - It is.
HANNAH - And disgusting but amazing at the same time. And I was just pulling out like just long bits of mushroom out of it. Sorry, not sorry, to everyone listening. [Laughter]
SAM - Seeing as you've gone there I quite like eating peas because I can pop them in my bag. [Laughter]
HANNAH - Oh my god!
BLAKE - What?
HANNAH - Whenever I eat fish my output then smells like fish.
SAM - Oh it does.
BLAKE - Yeah, fish is bad.
HANNAH - That's one that I'm really oh, I can smell that. There are lots of other things which I'm like oh, that's the food that I just ate.
BLAKE - Beetroot.
SAM - Can I give you a top tip?
HANNAH - Please do.
SAM - I know you can buy lots of different things that are like odour control. If I'm having fish I put a tiny bit of minty mouthwash in my bag; it neutralises the fish.
HANNAH - Interesting.
SAM - Give it a try.
HANNAH - I will.
That's one of the other questions: does it smell? It smells once it's out of the bag.
SAM - Yes.
HANNAH - But when it's in the bag, just hanging out in person, you will not smell a thing. And also if you smell a fart it is 100% not me [laughter] because I'm farting constantly in my bag and there's filters and stuff round that so you can't smell it. So, whoever's got a working, functioning butt hole it was them.
SAM - Yes, I'm with you. [Laughs] I think I heard Blake mention beetroot earlier, and I think we need to discuss the beetroot issue.
HANNAH - Oh wait, does it go red? I don't like beetroot.
BLAKE - I was going to say the first time I ever ate beetroot I was horrified. I was literally like, I need an ambulance quick, get me to hospital, I'm bleeding.
HANNAH - Oh is it like blood? Oh my god, wow.
SAM - Yeah, me too. I was like I'm haemorrhaging from the inside out.
BLAKE - Why did no one tell me that that's what happens?
SAM - Our food doesn't really get digested as well as somebody with a whole system.
HANNAH - No. It's like when you see sweetcorn in your poo but you now see pretty much everything.
SAM - Yeah, so a lot of food comes out as it went in.
BLAKE - Whole.
SAM - Yeah. Okay, what's your cringiest stoma story? We've all got one.
HANNAH - I leaked on our brand new mattress recently. It was my first time ever leaking at home. Not necessarily cringey because my partner was really good about it, but just more devastating.
BLAKE - I had one where it was my daughter's first birthday party and we've got all our family at like a little village hall, and friends, and I picked her up and I felt something very warm and I thought oh bless here, her nappy's gone, she must have leaked or something, I'll go and change her. Went to lift her off and realised that the end of my pouch or bag had unravelled and was leaking all the way down my leg.
SAM - Oh.
HANNAH - Oh no, so it was your nappy that had leaked. [Laughter]
SAM - We went to America on holiday this year and we did a bit of a road trip on the west coast, which was amazing, but what we found is there are very, very few public bathrooms in America. So, we were in San Francisco and I started to feel - do you know, because it kind of burns a little bit as it's starting to leak - so ran down the road, couldn't find anywhere, went into a supermarket, there was a massive queue for the bathroom, queued all the way up and then got to the front of the queue and realised you had to have an app on your phone to open the bathroom door. I think the person behind me just saw my face and went, oh my god, I'll open the door for you. And by the time I got there it was everywhere. It was like from my boobs to my knees, just completely covered.
So, I was trying my best to do this sort of clean up in a bathroom with very little things around me. I ended up having to take my t-shirt off and my leggings off and throw them in the bin. And then had to come out of the toilet in, I had like a dungaree short dress on, so I had to come out in just a bra and a dungaree dress, crying. Obviously I'd been crying in there so I think I came out looking maybe like I'd been doing drugs in there.
HANNAH - Oh my god.
SAM - And just walked slowly past this queue of people judging me.
HANNAH - Do you have one of those cards? Because I got a card that I just flash it to people and it just says: the person who this card belongs to needs to use a medical device and needs urgent access to the toilet.
SAM - Maybe I should have just said, excuse me I need to go in front of you. They'd have probably been charmed by my Yorkshire accent. But you know when you're just feeling really self-conscious and I don't want to make even more of a scene, and I think poo's running down my leg, and it's not…
BLAKE - You want to just discreetly disappear.
SAM - Yeah. [Laughter] So, yeah that wasn't great. And we ended up driving back to our apartment with me sat on my husband's jumper in the car. I think there are times when it does feel quite devastating to obviously have an accident in public. I can laugh about it now. I was not laughing on the day I can tell you. That wasn't a good one.
And I think that leads onto the next question. Are you ashamed of your stoma?
HANNAH - No. [Laughs] I mean, is my answer.
BLAKE - I was going to say it's given me my life back for me, because living with ulcerative colitis was just dreadful. You constantly are seeking a toilet. You feel a lot of pain, sickness, you're getting bowel rushes all the time. I used to get to a point where I daren't leave the house for the sake of having an accident, and that obviously all plays on your self-confidence. But it does make you feel very weak and lethargic, because your body is effectively fighting itself, and obviously lots of potential drugs and medications have side effects as well which aren't positive ones.
HANNAH - It's really interesting that you both say that having your stoma gave you your life back because of your colitis. For me and I think for a lot of people my experience is really different to that.
I was diagnosed when I was seven, and I had a bunch of flare-ups between seven and 15. In between flare-ups I'd just be fine. I'd be on medication but I'd just be like, quote unquote, normal. And then between 15 and 25 I had ten years of remission, so my normal life and what I was used to was like without symptoms, without colitis. Obviously I was on medication for it.
And then this flare-up just came out of the blue, just hit me, completely wiped me out, the most severe flare-up ever, in hospital for a month and had to have emergency surgery. So, for me I don't feel like getting a stoma gave me my life back, because for a lot of people getting a stoma isn't something that they elect to have; it is like an emergency situation.
So, that's a weird thing that I'm having to wrap my head around because I hear so many people. And that is totally amazing for people like you who it gave you your life back and that's incredible, but when I hear those stories I'm like it didn't give me my life back, I want to go back to my life before all of this. But that being said I'm not ashamed of it, but I definitely have this extra thing I need to get my head around.
SAM - When I first got my stoma, so that was in 2013, there was nobody talking about this. There was medical advice out there, but there were very few people actually talking about the things that we all talk about now. And so it was terrifying. I didn't even know what a stoma bag was.
BLAKE - Yeah.
SAM - I thought that was what a colostomy bag was. I was thinking, what, I'm going to have to carry around a bag of poo with me!
BLAKE - Carry it around, yeah.
HANNAH - Oh my god. For me going into surgery all I had was the surgeons and my stoma nurse, because I was too ill to go on the internet; I was barely existing. But then post-surgery I fully threw myself into it, on blogs, on YouTube, and that was so helpful for me.
SAM - Blake, your pictures and your body-building is so inspirational. I don't go to a gym, I'm never going to go to a gym I'll be honest, but I like looking at pictures of you in the gym. [Laughter] Not to be a bit pervy, but you are showing that you can do anything when you've got a stoma.
BLAKE - Anything, yeah.
SAM - I love that you said you've got a stoma and a six pack. I think that should be a band name.
BLAKE - Yeah absolutely.
Another question: what is phantom rectum?
SAM - Phantom rectum is my glam rock band name.
HANNAH - Oh my god. I love it!
SAM - So, phantom rectum, when people talk about phantom limb syndrome, so people who have lost a limb and they still feel pain or itching or they feel like their limb is still there.
BLAKE - Sensation, isn't it?
SAM - Yeah, so that's the same but in your rectum. It's like your brain doesn't know that it's not attached anymore, and it's going quick, go to the toilet, you need to go.
BLAKE - Go to the toilet, yeah.
HANNAH - Yeah. I've not had it in a while to be honest, but definitely at the beginning all the time.
BLAKE - All the time, yeah.
HANNAH - But I sometimes get the mucus. Because your rectum is still producing a mucus so that has to come out somehow. And if there's any inflammation in there then I get that urgency. But I've been using those suppositories, basically little pill pellets that you put up your bum every night.
BLAKE - Pop up your bum, yeah.
HANNAH - I love the little finger condoms it comes with.
SAM - Oh I love those.
BLAKE - They're amazing.
HANNAH - I love them so much. Just like oh, just they're so cute. But it's a weird one. I remember at the beginning being really weirded out by it, and I was talking to my nurse on the phone and I was like I get these urges that I need to poo and I'm not sure what to do. And she was just like, next time you get one just go and sit on the toilet and just feel it out. And that was the first time any mucus came out, and I was like oh my god, what is happening!
SAM - I have nothing down there. I've got the Barbie butt. I don't get it all the time. I tend to get it if I've got maybe a bit of a tummy bug or if I'm not feeling very well my brain still goes oh quick, go to the toilet. And obviously there's nothing there, there's nothing I can do, and I just take a book and go and sit on the toilet. I play on the game on my phone, sit there for 20 minutes and it tends to pass.
I went to India and I got a stomach bug, something went terribly wrong and I literally spent 12 hours just sat on the toilet with the bottom of my bag open with it just going into the toilet.
BLAKE - Just draining out.
SAM - It was like somebody had turned a tap on. You know you get really dehydrated when you've got a stoma because you haven't got a large intestine, so I knew how important it was that I didn't get dehydrated, especially because we were in India, we were in like a mountain village so there was no chance of getting to a hospital. So, I literally had my husband making bottles of water with the rehydration stuff poured into it, just bringing them in, and I was just sat on the toilet drinking these bottles.
BLAKE - Was it literally just like in and back out?
SAM - In and out, in and out. I spent 12 hours just drinking rehydration things and it pouring straight out of my stomach.
BLAKE - A complete detox then. [Laughter]
SAM - Yeah. But then within a day it stopped. And because I'd completely pounded my body with these rehydration sachets I was okay after a day. My husband then got it; he was so sick for three days and he was like, I wish I had a stoma so I could just do what you did.
HANNAH - Just get it out, just the fastest route out.
SAM - So, yeah, there can be benefits to it. [Laughter]
HANNAH - One of the other questions is: but you're not really disabled, right? What are you guys' thoughts on that? I don't know if I'm disabled. I struggle with that. I don't know.
SAM - I work for the disability charity Scope. Disability I think it's something that you identify as. The official term is an impairment that affects you on a day-to-day basis.
HANNAH - Check.
SAM - And I think for some people having a stoma is it goes really straightforward, it fixes the problem, they don't really have to think about it anymore, they don't have any extra symptoms, fantastic. And perhaps those people would say no, I don't think I am disabled. Unfortunately a lot of people still have a lot of symptoms of fatigue, joint pain. For myself I've had multiple hernias due to my surgeries so I've had eight operations in the last five years. There are times where I literally can't walk, I'm using a wheelchair. So, I think people's experiences are so different.
HANNAH - I definitely think I've got a lot of internalised ableism and I keep thinking I'm not disabled enough so I can't use that label. I don't know.
SAM - Within Scope we use the social model of disability, so that means that it's society that disables a person. So, if we were all in a room having a meeting and one of us was a wheelchair user, at that point everyone's got the same ability, no one's at a disadvantage. If then that meeting was moved to the fifth floor and there was no lift then society and that building has disabled the wheelchair user. Does that make sense?
HANNAH - Yeah. I've heard a lot about the social model. That's really helped me with understanding more about disability, yeah.
SAM - And disability isn't a wheelchair user, it's got such a broad reach, and you can claim disability benefits. Disability benefit or in particular personal independence payment, which people often call PIP, it's not based on what your impairment is; it's based on how your impairment affects you on a day-to-day basis. I've got ulcerative colitis and that means on a day-to-day basis I have issues with my joints so I can't walk further than x metres.
HANNAH - Oh, I had no idea. See, I'm learning.
SAM - It's how your impairment affects you day to day, not what your impairment is. And I think there are a lot of people who would benefit from having that extra financial support, that is not means tested so it doesn't matter what job you do, how much money you earn; it's there to pay for those extra things that we all need sometimes.
So, for myself I have to take codeine, I can't drive when I take codeine, so sometimes I have to make the decision: will I be in pain or will I drive to work? And if I make the decision to take the codeine and I can't drive then I might have to take a taxi. So, it's there for those sorts of extra costs that if I didn't have these impairments I wouldn't have those costs. I'm going to rant because this is what I talk about all day.
HANNAH - No, it's so good. I'm also just forever grateful for the NHS and not having to pay for the prescriptions of the bags and stuff. When I came out of hospital and first started talking about it there were a few people who follow me who are Americans and they were like, oh my god, are you okay, are you in debt, do you need any money. And I was like no, I actually saved money by being in hospital for a month because I wasn't spending any! And they were just like what, I don't understand. And I was like, thank you NHS.
SAM - I've had the same. I've had some of my audience who have had the same surgery as me and they've sent me their medical bills to see what I would have had to pay if I was in America, and it's hundreds of thousands.
HANNAH - Yeah. I was trying to find a calculator online to be like if I had all of these drugs, I had this surgery, I had two blood transfusions, I had all of these medications, this amount of stay in hospital, how much would that have cost. I was curious.
SAM - We'd be bankrupt.
HANNAH - Bankrupt yeah.
SAM - One question that I get a lot and has come out of the box is: what can't you do with a stoma?
HANNAH - Poo out of your bum hole. [Laughter] That's the one thing.
SAM - I think that's it.
BLAKE - That is it, yeah. Obviously I'm heavily into my, or I was heavily into my fitness, and I did the whole kind of bodybuilding thing, but it could be cycling. I've got a friend who's a power-lifter in the Paralympics. It just truly shows that you can absolutely so anything you want. It's not something to stop you from achieving whatever it was you were doing or want to do from a physical point of view.
SAM - I try and do everything right and I still getting them, I don't know what's going on, so for me it is slightly different. But I would absolutely say anybody who's got a new stoma don't let anybody say that you have to stop doing anything. You can do whatever you want. You might have to make adjustments, but you can still do whatever you want.
HANNAH - Yeah.
SAM - I have travelled the world. Something that I always wanted to do and I was too afraid to do when I had colitis because I was afraid of pooing my pants, whereas now the bag's there, I can do long haul flights, it's easier than having a bum. And yeah, I've travelled the world and I love it. The stoma hasn't stopped me doing what I wanted to do.
HANNAH - I named mine Mona.
BLAKE - Mona?
HANNAH - Yeah, because she was very moany in her first few days of life. Also I'm thinking of throwing a party for her first birthday. Have you ever done that?
SAM - No, but I will send Mona a present. [Laughter]
HANNAH - Yeah, what kind of present would you get for a one year old stoma?
SAM - Just a…
HANNAH - Oh the mint odour thing, what about that?
SAM - I was going to say a bottle of champagne, but if you want me to send you a bottle of mouthwash that is what you are going to get!
HANNAH - But also when I drink champagne I just get really gassy as well.
SAM - It would be fun to watch.
HANNAH - Yeah.
SAM - Maybe some big stoma balloons, balloons shaped like stomas.
HANNAH - Oh my god, yes, I'm going to have red balloons at her party. I'm so excited.
SAM - And we could make little cupcakes. I'm saying this like I'm coming.
HANNAH - I'll invite you.
BLAKE - You've invited yourself.
SAM - Little cupcakes with a little cherry on top. [Laughter] Let's have a whole poo and stoma based party.
HANNAH - Oh my god, yes.
SAM - My first stoma was called Barackostoma, very presidential. This one, have you ever seen the film Babadook?
HANNAH - No, I haven't. I've heard of it though.
SAM - It's a scary film and it's got this scary monster man thing in it, and he sort of makes this noise that makes [growls].
HANNAH - Does your stoma make that noise?
SAM - Yeah. And someone told me that Baba and Dooky are words for poo, so this one is the Babadook.
BLAKE - Okay, last question. What is our advice for anyone living with a stoma?
SAM - I would say to not isolate yourself, to speak out, speak out to the people around you. There's so much support available online now, have a look around, have a chat with others and just don't let it stop you. Realise that it's just a new point in your life. It's not necessarily a negative thing.
HANNAH - Yeah definitely. My advice is what helped me which was reading blogs and watching YouTube videos of people with stomas just talking about whatever, what's in their stoma kit bag, what accessories they use, what they eat or just generally about their life. That was just super helpful for me.
BLAKE - And I would echo that. There's this fantastic stoma community out there now. Make the most of the community; engage with them, talk to them. We're all here to help and answer any questions that we can. Utilise what's out there. And obviously from my point of view Ostomy Advisor is there from a product point of view and hopefully from a people reviewing. I just want to get people trying to find something that gives them the confidence to get out and live their life normally.
SAM - I follow - and by follow I mean stalk - both of you online. [Laughter] Tell everyone how can we find you all.
HANNAH - I am Hannah Witton on Twitter and on Instagram and on YouTube; those are my main places.
BLAKE - And for me I'm Blake Beckford on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and also if you're interested in hearing anything more or getting to know more about Ostomy Advisor.
SAM - And you can find me at and I'm on Facebook and Twitter. Please do subscribe to the Ouch podcast on the BBC Sounds app. You can get in touch by email on, find Ouch on Facebook and Twitter @bbcouch, and on Instagram at bbc_ouch_disability.
BLAKE - We have been Sam Cleasby, Blake Beckford and Hannah Witton. Thank you for joining us.
SAM - Bye.

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  • Disability

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