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Now what? Your ostomy surgery is finished, and you are at home. For many people, surgery can be the beginning of a more comfortable life. But it still requires adjusting to life with a stoma—physically and mentally.

Although your ostomy surgery is complete, you may still have many questions and concerns—particularly during the first 12 weeks of living with an ostomy. You may feel nervous, confused or angry. You may be excited by the freedom, improved health and new activities you can enjoy after healing from your surgery. Or you may have a mixture of these emotions. All of these reactions are perfectly normal.

You are not alone. Your ostomy nurse and healthcare professionals are there to help you every step of the way. So are we.

Your “new normal"

During the first few months after ostomy surgery, it is important to recognize that you and your loved ones will be undergoing a major period of adjustment. Having a stoma means you must adapt to a new "normal" way of life.

Whether you have had a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy, you will need to learn how to manage the passage of body waste through your stoma, as well as how to care for the skin around your stoma.

For the first six to eight weeks, your stoma will most likely shrink in size. Regular measuring of your stoma ensures you are wearing the correct pouching system size, increases your confidence, and reduces discomfort.

Over time, you will feel much more comfortable with your new lifestyle as stoma management becomes just another part of your daily routine. During this initial adjustment period, however, keep in close contact with your ostomy nurse. The answers to any problems or concerns are usually just a phone call away.