By Nicky Rene

It’s so disturbing and disheartening to hear and see how some people would rather be cruel and disrespectful. I had less than five minutes to decide on life or death. I’m a mother, I’m a daughter, I’m a sister, I’m a Black woman who has suffered with my disease since the age of sixteen. 

Nicky Rene shares her story of ostomy surgery to inspire hope and acceptance
(Courtesy photo)

I wanted to live because God said “keep living, I’m not finished with you yet.” It was my choice but for some they choose the latter. It broke my heart last year to hear that Seven Bridges – a ten year old boy from Kentucky committed suicide from being bullied about his colostomy. On June 10 a 34-year-old man who suffered from a history of bowel problems dies because he signed a written advancement to refuse surgery of a permanent stoma. It’s a life changing decision to say the least, but it’s also the silver lining to continue living. 

I remember telling those closest to me to keep it a secret when I had my surgery, but before leaving the hospital my whole outlook changed. Why keep what saved my life a secret? I was fortunate enough to have an amazing ostomy nurse that reassured me I didn’t have to be ashamed. Support is everything, and so often it’s not made a priority in situations like this. It’s a sensitive topic for many but that doesn’t give people the right to tear us down and poke fun of the situation. 

My voice will always speak louder than your ignorance. My strength will prevail over your weakness to understand me. I will always stand with and support my fellow ostomates. You don’t know the battles we have gone through to still be here. Some of us have survived cancer, some of us survived car accidents, some of us are fighting an invisible disease. No matter what the reason is, we are still human. We have feelings. To all my fellow warriors, keep fighting, keep shinning the light to bring awareness. You are more than what people see or think of you. You are a warrior who is living life the best you know how. Never give up, you got this.