Over the last few years photographs of young women baring their ostomy bags on beaches across the world have become a regular sight on social media feed, so much so I don’t even notice their bags anymore.
Ever since the first photo appeared on twitter of a “bag on the beach” I’ve been trying to get up the courage to bear my belly to the summer sunshine – but I’ve never quite been brave enough.
But this summer after years of hiding my pasty white belly from the world I finally plucked up the courage to wear a bikini for the first time since my operations.
For years I somehow had the confidence to wear the tiniest little string bikini, you know the ones which are just a little flimsy triangle of material – not even enough to wrap a sandwich in let alone cover your modesty.
In my experience those tiny pieces of cloth are designed to cause as much embarrassment for young women as possible. Firstly they never fit properly and, even if they do, they happily malfunction if you try to do anything other than lie flat on your back sun worshipping all day.
There’s nothing like the horror of being hit by a wave or shooting out of the end of a log flume only to realise you are topless and flashing your boobs to the whole world, all while your top floats around taunting you, looking rather like a black turd bobbing around in the water.
For all those reasons, and due to a lack of confidence, I opted for a much safer alternative for my first outing in a bikini since my operation – the high wasted granny pants and bra top.
Despite my massive pants pretty much covering all but the very top of Winnie, walking out to the pool in Santorini on the first day in my bikini filled me with a sense of dread. I was worried people might stare; perhaps wonder if it was sanitary for me to be in the pool; and what they would think when my belly started to expand.
I hardly notice Winnie in my day-to-day life anymore; I can wear pretty much anything I want and don’t really care if people can see the outline of my bag under my dress or top, but for some bizarre reason the thought of lying by the pool with my bag on display frightened the living daylights out of me.
It was ridiculous to be so worried and insecure, naturally no-one batted an eyelid.
Actually the hotel we were staying in was so small I would have felt comfortable going the whole hog and I wish I’d taken a tiny little string bikini in my bag in case I’d got the guts to go for it by the time we left.
To be honest it was probably for the best that my bag was securely tucked away – the wind was so strong pint glasses went flying, so my ostomy would have been flapping around like a white flag in the wind which wouldn’t have been pleasant for anyone.
Hopefully one day I will feel comfortable enough to strut along a beach with Winnie on display, but I don’t think I’ll be swimming in a tiny string thong any time soon, experience tells me not to risk outfits secured by flimsy knots after a certain age.
I hope if you’re going on holiday in the next few weeks you have the confidence to wear a bikini, if not loads of department stores have some really stunning swimming costumes on sale at the moment, including ones with tummy control and little skirts to hide any telltale signs of your bag.
This is the one I wore two years ago in America, which was great at covering my ostomy so soon after my operation…..it also helped after eating my own weight in burgers!