'There's such a stigma' - Felixstowe comedian on life with a stoma
- Credit: Gaz de Vere
A comedian from Felixstowe has spoken out to raise awareness of stomas, after hearing many people find them "disgusting".
Louie Green had been experiencing problems with his bowels for some time before being diagnosed with diverticular disease.
Just two months later, he was rushed to hospital in the middle of the night. His bowel had perforated and he had contracted sepsis.
“I was told that the following morning, I’d be having emergency surgery, and if I didn’t have it, I was going to die,” said Louie.
“I came out of theatre, and spent two weeks in hospital without seeing anybody, because of Covid restrictions. All that kept going through my head was, my partner’s not going to find me attractive anymore.”
His partner was, in fact, an endless source of support, and cared for Louie through his recovery, whilst also being a mother to a five-year-old, and heavily pregnant herself.
Louie has now adjusted to life with a stoma, and as a new dad. He has also returned to performing comedy gigs.
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“Stoma nurses are amazing, the support they gave me was incredible,” he said.
Other people’s reactions, however, have sometimes been less than sensitive.
“People will be like, ‘I’m so sorry you’ve gone through this, it must be disgusting.’ I’ve heard that loads of times,” said Louie.
“There are all the regular questions. Does it smell? Does it hurt?
“The answer to all of these is, no, it doesn’t. But there’s such a stigma around it.
“My partner was amazing. To start with, she’d even support me changing it. But other people have said, ‘I could never do that.’
“I actually had one person say that I was lucky my partner had stayed with me.”
In fact, Louie has found that this is a fear that particularly resonates with male recipients of stomas.
He said: “Every man that I’ve spoken to goes through the same thing. They're absolutely convinced that their partner is going to leave because they've got it.
“Through my stand-up, I’m trying to raise awareness and make people realise it’s not disgusting. Without that little bag, I wouldn’t be here, holding my daughter.
“There are actually some really funny things that happen with a stoma. It’s just part of me.”