Hiren had ostomy surgery in his mid-thirties, after seven years of dealing with Crohn’s disease. Now, at 40, he is enjoying the outdoors again, planning family vacations, and getting down on the floor for rough-and-tumbles with his kids.
How do other people describe me? Fun, friendly, and bubbly! Life is for living, and my stoma has given me the confidence and vitality to do pretty much everything I want. My biggest passion is my family, and I relish every day with my wife and sons. It feels so good to pay back some of the time I lost with them, due to the health issues I experienced before my stoma surgery. I certainly owe my wife a honeymoon and some family holidays!
Getting my life back
I live in the UK, and before I got my stoma I spent years in and out of the hospital. Now my focus and energy is on my family, as well as on spending time outdoors and playing sports. It’s been so good to get back on my bike!
Once you’ve got the hang of your stoma, it all feels so normal. My son Arin, who’s four, thinks nothing of it. “Daddy has a bag,” he says, and that’s it...it’s not odd to him at all. And my ostomy pouch allows me to dive straight in with the boys, crawl on the floor, give piggyback rides, and let them climb all over me. There’s nothing we can’t do together now.
I’m also a huge football fan. Although my boys are only four and two, they follow their Daddy and support the greatest team – Arsenal! In fact, I’m planning to take my boys to the 2026 World Cup, which is going to be played in different cities across America, Canada, and Mexico. I’m hoping to arrange a fantastic road trip for me and the kids, to have an adventure, see some great football, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Alongside my family life, I work making and mixing specialist paints. This is quite new to me, after previously having managerial roles in pharmacy outlets. All of my colleagues have been so supportive. I hate secrets and like to be honest about my situation. I’m not ashamed of my stoma, and if speaking openly can help even one person, it’s worth it. In fact, one of our reps has ulcerative colitis, and I’ve chatted with him about what it’s like to have an ostomy. He’s told me how much it’s helped to talk with someone his own age about this.
My Crohn’s disease diagnosis
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2011, after a pretty quick onset of symptoms. At first I had stomach pain, trouble going to the loo, and a bit of blood in my stool. And of course being a guy, I tried to ignore it. Eventually though, I went to hospital in acute pain. I stayed for two weeks while they did multiple tests and worked out what the issue was.
Late in 2017, my wife and I welcomed our first son, which was such a joyful moment in our marriage. But one night when Arin was just a few weeks old and I was changing his nappy, he kicked me in the stomach. This triggered such severe pain that I went back to the hospital. This time the surgeon said I needed to get a stoma.
My stoma surgery
My wife and I have been married for eight years and she’s been such a rock through all of this; she’s just brilliant. She has a nursing background and post-surgery, if my dressings needed changing she’d change them for me.
The relief after my ostomy surgery was immense, for both of us. I did need to learn how to deal with the stoma, but it truly gave me my life back. At last I had the confidence to be in bed with my wife, and thanks to my stoma pouches I do not worry about the stoma leaking. I can also be a hands-on dad to my boys. With two of them under five, day-to-day life is busy but great fun. They’re always up and about early, and now I can keep up with them.
The importance of healthy skin and the right ostomy pouch
I’ve always known about skin health as I’ve had vitiligo (a disease that causes loss of skin color in patches) on my hands since my twenties. I’ve never felt the need to try to cover it up, even though I was diagnosed quite young and could have been self-conscious. The health of your skin is what’s important, and when you have a stoma it’s vital to keep the skin around it as clean and dry as possible.
If you’re using the right kind of stoma bag, and it fits well and stays in place, you won’t have a problem. If stoma fluid leaks onto your skin you’ll feel a burning sensation and need to change your pouch straight away.
Make sure to get the right kind and right size of ostomy pouching system for your body, and attach it firmly. Your stoma nurse can help you find the best one for you. I use Dansac bags, which deliver everything I need. My skin barriers are pre-cut to the right size and the adhesive on the barriers is really good. I often wear a support belt to make sure everything is kept snug.
I also shave the area around my stoma so little hairs don't get caught when I take the pouch off. Usually I change the bag once each day after a shower. I clean off the adhesive, dry everything carefully, and sometimes leave the bag off for a few minutes to give my skin some air. If your skin is red or sore, contact your stoma care nurse.
My new life with a stoma
What a “wow” moment I had after getting my stoma! There was a real flash of realisation that I mustn’t let anything hold me back. Getting an ostomy totally transformed me mentally as well as physically – it’s been completely life-changing. It’s such a joy to say YES to invitations, knowing I have the confidence and the energy to do what I want and go where I want again.
Being a dad to my two young kids, I don’t let anything stop me from living a vibrant, energetic life – I’m determined to think positive and look forward. Before the World Cup dream trip in 2026, I’m also planning a fantastic family holiday, as we haven’t been away since going to India before the first COVID-19 lockdown. The boys would definitely love a water park and I’m ready to swim again. So, I think we’ll look for a break in Tenerife (the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands) or maybe Turkey – somewhere that’s warm and sunny, and great for families.
The holidays will be great and are good fun to think about. But what I really love is everyday life as a healthy, energetic dad – who just happens to have a stoma. Playing with the boys, taking them to the park, watching them flourish, and spending time with my wife and our wider families is where I get my happiness. After so many ups and downs the stoma has given me my life back, and I’m looking forward to making more wonderful memories with my family.
People who provided testimonials received compensation from Hollister Incorporated. The testimonials, statements, and opinions presented are applicable to the people depicted. These testimonials are representative of their experience, but the exact results and experience will be unique and individual to each person.
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