When people say to me “Is that a parastomal hernia under your shirt, or are you pleased to see me?” it is always an opportunity to discuss life with an Ostomy, bowel cancer and IBD.
I am a public speaker and when standing in front of an audience, there are always eyes looking at my ‘abdominal bulge’ and not my face. You get used to it.
Truth be told, I didn’t get the importance of the post operative, early days and weeks core strengthening exercises my Stoma Nurse set me. So not being a ‘six pack’ guy before, nor after, I developed a parastomal hernia in the months following as I stepped up my exercise.
After completing a 10 week series of instructor-led core strengthening exercises as part of the Hernia Active Living Trial, my view of these discreet and low intensity exercises has changed entirely, they ARE challenging if done right and they have strengthened my core and will continue to do so, because now I’ve discovered them, I’m not stopping.
I mentioned ‘doing them right,’ that’s where the tuition comes in.
Lizzy Davis, my trainer, was with me for an hour a week, demonstrating then watching how I then performed the exercises. That feedback from someone over 600 miles away via Zoom was invaluable.
I had read the excellently illustrated exercise booklet and watched the videos, yet didn’t always appreciate some of the nuances of posture, breathing or positioning. Having eagle eyed Lizzy closely observing, encouraging & correcting was key. That then sets you up for post trial life. If you have heard of Pilates, these exercises are tailored on those.
Do I still have a parastomal hernia? Yes. It is still the same size, but I know I have found my ‘core’ now and with these exercises believe I’m better placed to enjoy paddle boarding, rock scrambling and ‘bedroom’ activities with greater confidence.
I also think this is a great initiative for all who face abdominal surgery and can take time to prepare their core beforehand.