I got my first ostomy two months before my 16th birthday. I’d never even heard of one before. My first reaction to it was that no man would ever love me. It was unclear if the stoma was reversible or not and I was just afraid.
The ostomy was reversed 9 months later, to my detriment. 19 years later, I got a permanent ostomy, and already had me a man. I also had a totally different perspective. My husband and I had been through multiple surgeries, multiple fistulas, abscesses, setons (to keep fistulas from healing), we’d been through periods of less than perfect continence…. My healthy, handsome husband, whose body has never betrayed him, seemed willing to roll with whatever might come and we were able to maintain a loving (if creative) physical relationship. My buttoned-up, older, conservative surgeon embarrassingly told me post-op “I never knew how you managed to have sex before.” Charming. But he was the one who saw my constantly raw skin and the expanding holes in my perineum with the setons in them. So when we were told to expect an ostomy in the next two years, my spouse and I felt relatively optimistic that it wouldn’t put too much of a dent in our sex-life.
2 months after surgery, on March 31st, I was on my way to a celebratory dinner (I was given 8 weeks of being gentle to my body and made it through) when I saw a beloved statue. The reason that I love this statue – beside the familiarity of passing it regularly and the fondness that that can foster – was her figure. She’s round-hipped and proud-looking. I once remarked to my husband how beautiful I found her and he’d said “she’s a bit fat.” Preposterous! She had a figure very similar to mine and she was beautiful and I felt comforted and inspired by that. So when I was passing by her that night, loving her figure and it’s similarity to mine, I popped my spare (emergency) ostomy bag on her and took a photo. And wouldn’t you know, she still looked beautiful. I posted the photo on twitter and Facebook with the caption “I’ve never successfully yarn-bombed a thing. But I just ostomy-bombed my favorite statue in ZH.” And so it began. I am lucky enough to live in a city rife with lovely nude statues and I was filled with a sudden desire to bomb them all. I’d gotten a box with 2-piece bags post-op and discovered that they wouldn’t stick on me, so I began using them to bomb.
While my husband was away for a weekend in May, I took my dog and some spare bags and bombed some of my favorite nudes around the lake. Then I’d bomb ones that I happened upon in my daily travels. Then friends and family started texting me photos and locations of statues that they wanted to see with an ostomy. I bomb beautiful, healthy-looking bodies and just adore the way that the ostomy bag just makes them look more exceptional in their fitness and beauty.
My spouse texted me a photo of two athletic statues at a local sports training field and I had to pick my way through a hedge to bomb it, but his excitement when he texted me from his next training session there was priceless. My friend texted me the location of a statue in a park I didn’t know, with the warning that it was quite high. So off I went with my step-stool. Fortunately, that bomb coincided with the advent of Pokemon Go! So everyone in the park was walking around, staring at their phones, hopeful to catch invisible cartoons.
This week, I was at the stoma counselor and she was lamenting the taboo of ostomies for people in Switzerland. “It feels like no one knows what they are, so people are fearful of them…” So I told her that “someone” was bombing beautiful nude statues in Zürich and she went wild for it! I felt so encouraged. People have begun bombing in the Netherlands, someone did it in New York. I was even invited to a Facebook group of ostomybombers. It was nuts! The header on the page was made up of my photos; remarkable! I see from other folks’ posts how fortunate I am to be so surrounded by well-sculpted nudes. They seemed forced to bomb clothed or abstract statues, which has a different effect.
But they’re out there. And every time I think about someone learning about ostomy bags by seeing them on lovely figures, I’m just so hopeful. It’s my hope that a 16 year old being confronted with the prospect of a bag, will have the image of one of my ostomybombs in their head and will be clearer on the fact that they can have a normal love life with or without a bit of intestine on the outside of their