Starting to forget my ostomy is there

After doing many backcountry adventures this season, Doug and I decided a fun weekend of car camping was in order. It was time to have a more luxurious trip complete with a larger tent, a cooler stocked with cold beer and soda, a guitar to make music, and pancakes and eggs for gourmet breakfasts.

Gluten-free pancakes!
No camping trip is complete without a little music

Some good friends from our original home state of Wisconsin were vacationing near Gunnison, CO, so we chose to camp along the nearby Taylor River so we could do some activities together. One of these was a three-hour zip-line adventure that I will write about in a future post. We also enjoyed fly fishing and mountain biking.

Suited up to begin my zip line adventure in Crested Butte, CO
Mountain biking on the Lower Loop Trail in Crested Butte, CO

Despite sweating in my waders for hours, bouncing down the trail on my bike, or wearing a harness when zip-lining, my appliance stayed on just fine. Making s’mores also had its benefits due to the output-thickening-power of marshmallows. I found that it was a wonderful excuse to eat many of these gooey, delectable treats.

Honestly, I hardly thought about my ostomy the entire time. In fact, on one afternoon fly fishing excursion, I forgot to bring along my toilet paper and other supplies in case I needed to go into the woods to empty my pouch. Fortunately, I was able to wait until I got back to camp that evening with no problems. Not the smartest situation, but it did prove to me that I am sometimes starting to forget my ostomy is there!

On the last day of the trip I had to change my appliance. The campsites were fairly close together, and we had a campground host that loved to stop by at random times. Therefore, I decided to head into our small pyramid-style gear tent for the change. It was the perfect spot to spread out my supplies and work, and before long I emerged with a new pouch on my belly, ready for the day’s adventures.

Changing my appliance in the gear tent

So, if you are not ready for a backpacking excursion, at least head out on a car camping trip. It is loads of fun. And as an added bonus, you will have a weekend free of splashback while emptying your ostomy appliance in the wonderfully deep campground pit toilets:)

5 thoughts on “Starting to forget my ostomy is there

  1. Heidi,
    What a great adventure you had this last week. I also have an ileostomy, since this March. I not has brace as you, yet. I seem to have to empty the pouch more than ten times a day. I went on a hike today and had to empty the pouch. I do enjoy your blog, it gives me encouragement.
    Thank You,

    1. Hi Linda,

      Glad you were able to get out on a hike. I have to empty on hikes too and it is not hard. I taped some footage on how to dig a “cathole” to empty into when outdoors, but still need to put that video together. I will post it in the next few weeks. Closed-end pouches are also handy on day hikes if you are using a two-piece system. They have to be packed out though.

      You may notice that your emptying frequency goes down in the months following your surgery. When I first had my operation, I was emptying 8-10 times a day. Around 5 months post-op, my body really began to adjust and now I empty an average of 5-6 times a day if I let my pouch get 1/3 full. When I am around bathrooms, I often empty more than that just because it is easy, and I am using the restroom anyway to urinate.

      I am glad that the blog is helpful for you!


  2. Way to go, literally, ladies and gentlemen who may also camp. I started out with a j pouch back in ’92 and graduated to a standard ileostomy in’ 04. Due to numerous surgeries I have higher output than most ileostomates. Still I would love to go camping if only I could interest my city dweller spouse in such finer things of life. It sounds as if you had a great time and you certainly deserve it.

    1. Hi Jack,
      Thanks! Though I do have some tips on how to handle an ostomy on a camping trip, I am afraid I am of no use when it comes to advice on luring your loved one into the great outdoors:) Good luck!

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