Gutless and Glamorous!

This young lady proves that life with an ostomy doesn’t have to be fashion free! She tells her story and share some of her favorite outfits to wear that make everyone ask ostoWHERE?

She is an expert at keeping herself glamorous, while being “gutless” at the same time. Even proving that wearing fashionable bathing suits doesn’t have to be off limits. She is always willing to answer any of your questions and has an amazing direct contact form right on her website, so after you’re done reading here, be sure to check it out!

Gaylyn’s Story

I am rushed to the hospital only to sit stranded in the cold, damp waiting room for what seemed like an eternity in agonizing pain. Unable to keep even a sip of water down, vomiting more than my poor little body could handle, strangers began to hook my weakened veins up to intravenously fluid and medicines in hopes to replenish my body of what it was dangerously emitting profusely. All I kept thinking was why and that in that moment; I wanted to die. I felt like I was going to die and I almost got my wish. At the age of 14, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Little did I know at the time how drastically my world was going to completely turn upside down and that my way of thinking was going to change forever. This disease has drastically impacted my life, as well as those that are close to me. I have had multiple hospitalizations, multiple surgeries, multiple procedures, and millions of doctor visits. I am in pain most days, and have taken/take an array of medications to try to alleviate the symptoms. It has been a never-ending cycle living with a chronic condition, more specifically in my case Crohn’s Colitis. My most recent surgery was a total proctocolectomy leaving me with a permanent ileostomy. As I look back, a lot of my hospitalizations and procedures prior to this last 61 surgery were in an effort to prevent a total proctocoletomy.

If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would have had the proctocolectomy a lot sooner. You hope and pray that a medicine will be discovered that will help; that will alleviate the pain and your symptoms. I even thought “what if my colon is removed and then they find the cure, or a miracle drug?”. All of this will go through your mind and went through mine because this surgery was final -- absolutely no going back. Meanwhile, quality of life is diminishing and/or gone. I didn’t realize the impact this disease had on the quality of my life until after my last surgery. After I had my surgery, there was absolutely no way I would want to go back. I made the best decision. Do what you have to do to regain control of your life. Don’t live in torture if you don’t have to. Dressing with an ostomy can be difficult, especially for people that are used to dressing a certain way and being able to get away with it. Our FashOstomy advisor, Gaylyn of Gutless and Glamorous, is here to help. Gaylyn’s Jeggings = Jeans + leggings. Along with leggings, these are her favorite go to pieces that help her to feel comfortable while still looking fashionable. “Believe it or not, my daily routine getting dressed with an ostomy has not changed much. However, I can say that now after 5 years of having an ostomy.

When I first had ostomy surgery, I only wore leggings and shirts that were long enough to cover the ostomy. Luckily that was the style,” says Gaylyn. “Now, 5 years later. I wear what I want! You will learn what works best for you. You will learn how your ostomy works and what you can and can not wear.” In order to best prepare for a new clothing style with your ostomy, begin wearing clothes that you know will work. Longer, bigger t-shirts (a size up from norm works great), leggings, and if you’re in colder area big, loose fitted sweaters are not only in style, they work great! Gaylyn also has some excellent advice for those that have just recently had the operation: “If you have had surgery very recently, very loose clothing is probably best. As you adjust, your body is adjusting as well.” Though many patients would like to believe there is any easy choice color wise, Gaylyn reminds us that though there are 62 many tricks of the trade -- most of the time you might have to just adapt to your new body. “There really isn’t any color that will help hide your ostomy, despite how hard you try to disguise your ostomy, chances are it will be seen. The thing is, not many people know what they are looking at when they see it”, Gaylyn says. Through weight gain and weight loss, swelling and steroid bloat, finding clothes at your favorite store may be difficult, but Gaylyn finds a way around all of those issues. “I have more problems finding clothes that fit period than whether it fits my ostomy.

I have lost a considerable amount of weight since my last surgery and haven’t been able to gain it back. But! I love H&M and I shop online.” When having an ostomy, swimwear may be scary or seem out of the question to the normal person, but do not rule it out. The most fun is to be had with bathing suits! Remember, even the most normal, beautiful person still has trouble putting on a bathing suit; having an ostomy does not mean you can’t ever vacation again. “I have always been obsessed with 1920’s style era. I first spotted a high-waist biking at American Apparel. Now you can find them just about anywhere: J.Crew, Urban Outfitters, Macys, etc. Please note, a one-piece bathing suit will never go out of style.” Going out to dinner and out with friends will forever be different with an ostomy, and for most, it will always be better. You are no longer sprinting to the bathroom or worrying about being embarrassed. You can eat and enjoy food, go out, dance and have a good time while still feeling confident. “Wear what you want when you go out.

However, I will mention I never wear jeans. I had an accident very shortly after my first ostomy surgery while out with friends. I was mortified and really haven’t worn jeans since, until the jegging. I will not wear jeans unless there is room for the ostomy to breathe. I have found flexible, with stretch material, jeans at GAP and Urban Outfitters. **The key for wearing comfortable clothing for an ostomy is it MUST be breathable. If you have an ostomy, you are well aware that it will expand as it fills. Your clothing has to have room for it to do so or an accident can occur.” If you have questions for Gaylyn or would like more information on FashOstomy, please email companionibd@gmail.com or gutlessandglamorous@gmail.com.

Brooke Bogdan