A few weeks ago I was told about something that shocked me. Apparently while being interviewed by Extra, Jennifer Aniston made a comment about a possible friends reunion, saying:
“I think we’re getting to the point where we’re going to be friends with wheelchairs and colostomy bags.”
While this comment isn’t nearly as bad as Jim Carrey’s a few months ago, I still find it problematic.
As an ostomate, I took offense to her comment because it portrays those with ostomies in a few different ways.
Her comment implies that ostomates are old and unable to live active lives. From my experiences as an IBD and ostomy advocate, I find this not to be the case. In fact, many ostomy patients are young and extremely active.
Take me for instance: I am 30 years old, have had a ileostomy for almost three years and I am physically active as often as possible. I’ve traveled a good amount, rock climbed both indoors and outdoors, hiked to the top of many summits in the northeast, ran 13.1 miles from Napa to Sonoma as part of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundations Team Challenge endurance program, skied all over the northeast, and been part of countless other activities. Many healthy people have expressed how impressed they are with my level of activity and that they don’t think they could do as much as I do.
In my mind, Jennifer Aniston and so many other people are ignorant of what ostomates are capable of doing. Rob Hill of IDEAS has completed the Seven Summits and Heidi Skiba of Ostomy Outdoors just climbed Mount Rainier. Those are just a few of the many ostomates I know who are not just active, but EXTREMELY active.
Aniston’s comment is one of the reasons why I am driven to make sure that people don’t think of ostomates any differently than they would a healthy person. We are capable of living completely normal lives, doing all the activities that we love and have normal relationships. The only difference is we are a little lighter in our stomachs.
In no way are the only people with ostomy bags old and in wheelchairs.
Never Stay Quiet!
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