Eating with an ostomy
can be a challenge but it doesn't have to ruin your time with family and friends at Thanksgiving. The most important thing to remember is, food has an influence on your ostomy output. Being prepared and having some extra knowledge can help make a family dinner a success. If you have never looked into how food and your ostomy interact, you can check out this great Ostomy Nutrition Guide
Family Dinner with an Ostomy Survival Kit:
- Extra Ostomy Systems - This means extra ostomy pouches. If you are using a two piece system make sure you have the pouch and the ostomy flange and wafer that works with that pouch.
- Ostomy Accessories - If you use stomahesive powder, ostomy paste, or lubricating odor eliminating drops, make sure you have a supply with you just in case you need to do a full change.
- Bring a change of clothes. Really, I know it may sound crazy but having a complete change of clothes down to your socks can help you feel less stressed about having a leak. You will feel more confident if you know you are prepared.
- Disposable Flushable Wipes - You are at your aunt's house and you need to do some ostomy damage control. All you see in the guest bathroom is some really pretty flower shaped soaps and lace covered towels on the wall. These flushable wipes will get you cleaned up and since they are flushable, you can just flush them when you are done.
- All of this can easily fit into a small backpack and shouldn't take long to pack since you are just bringing your normal ostomy supplies with you. This is not the time to try those new pouches or that new ostomy barrier ring. You will want to use your tried and true ostomy care system.
- One exception to the tried and true rule, if you are not using ostomy disposal bags, you should start. These are great bags for disposing of ostomy equipment, especially when you are away from your house. They are opaque, leak-proof, and easy to seal. Throw some of these in your ostomy travel bag and use them if you ever need to make a change away from home.
If you know of a food that upsets your ostomy, communicate that with your host. I am sure they want you to have a good time. Enjoying your meal without painful ramifications is part of having a good time. If they are serving things you can't eat without feeling sick, let them know or just offer to bring a dish to share. By bringing a favorite dish that is safe for you to eat you will be able to relax and know for sure there is one dish there that is good for you and your ostomy. However, you can't communicate with your host which foods bother you if you don't know which foods you should avoid. Try to keep track of what bothers you, it can be helpful to use a calendar to track food reactions. It doesn't have to be a complex system, if you eat something that bothers you, write it in the calendar.
Remember, the best way to avoid blockages is to chew your food slowly and completely. There is no reason you can't enjoy vegetables and fruit but you have to chew your food carefully and you have to know your own body and how it reacts to what you eat. Pay attention to how you feel and how your ostomy reacts to new foods. Make sure prior to thanksgiving you are well hydrated. This will help set you up for success. I hope some of these tips help you navigate the upcoming holiday season and have a happy thanksgiving!