“I realized I had no reason to hide my condition. In the end, I am not responsible for what other people think of me."
Hazel, Coloplast ostomy product user
Hazel was only 11 years old when a traffic accident punctured her intestines and forced doctors to perform a colostomy to save her life. "I spent 6 months in a coma and 1 full year in the hospital and although the doctors and my mom asked me to take my recovery slowly, I was determined to go back to school."
It was not easy, but Hazel achieved her goal and returned to school 3 months after her discharge. She knew that if she wanted to go back to school, she needed to be independent and learn to take care of her ostomy on her own. At the time, she also decided that she would not tell anyone that she was an ostomate, because it was extremely strange, and she did not want to be teased.
Although she carried her backpack full of dreams, on her first day at school, Hazel experienced a leak and had to figure out how to apologize and go home. A leak would not be cause Hazel to pause her studies, so armed with new determination, Hazel returned to school the next day.
From then on, nothing would stop Hazel's dreams, not the bullying from schoolmates who didn't understand why Hazel had certain rights that other students didn't, nor the medical setbacks that would put her in the hospital sometimes for several months, or even the exhaustion of working at night and studying during the day to be able to go to college. Almost 12 years after her accident, Hazel became an industrial engineer. Incredibly, Hazel kept her ostomy a secret the entire time. "No one ever noticed that I wore an ostomy bag under my clothes. I don't limit what I wear. My bag is super discreet, comfortable, and secure."
Since her discharge from the hospital, Hazel had been using Coloplast bags. Hazel thinks having access to these products made a difference. "After several years of using Coloplast, I suddenly started receiving another brand of bags and immediately felt the difference in quality." In less than a month, Hazel returned to the hospital with ulcers all around the skin around her stoma. "The adhesive on the new pouch restricted my movement, and every time I moved it pulled on my skin, which ended up causing ulcers and infections." That experience taught Hazel that, with her experience and knowledge, she could advocate for the rights of other ostomates and help other members of the community with their concerns and their ostomy acceptance process.
"I realized I had no reason to hide my condition. In the end, I am not responsible for what other people think of me. I realized that I can help many people see that you can live happily, fulfilled, and do the things that you like to do normally. Our condition does not limit us, because it is not a disability."
After 26 years, Hazel finally realized that, in reality, her ostomy had not limited her aspirations, thus was born ¨Con una bolsa también se sueña (You can dream with a bag, too)¨ a page dedicated to the Spanish-speaking ostomate community, through which Hazel seeks to help and transmit the confidence that other ostomates need to be able to talk about their condition and live life on their own terms. Without a doubt, Hazel has lived life to the fullest, found love, had a son who is now 11 years old and worked as an industrial engineer in different medical equipment companies.
Hazel is a woman like few others: She is a warrior, feisty, a dreamer, and committed to the ostomate community. Determined to continue being the best example that "you can dream with a bag, too."
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Each person's situation is unique so your experience may not be the same. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether this product is right for you.