Billy Ritchie has the unusual distinction of having his urostomy created due to bowel cancer. He was diagnosed with cancer of the caecum in 2010 and the tumour was found to have fused to his bladder, so they had to remove that along with the affected portion of bowel.
Billy did not have a particularly easy time adjusting to life with a urostomy and was particularly self-conscious about the change to the way his body looked. Billy recalls “I would look at myself in the mirror and think ‘you look like a monster, with a big scar right down your stomach and a bag of pee stuck to your side, you will never get a girlfriend now, you can’t even look at yourself.’” To help overcome his body image concerns he joined a naturist group. “Slowly I thought ‘this is what you are now, why hide? You certainly cannot be destined to hide your body away’….so one day about 19 months after my surgery I decided that what I needed was an open minded group of people….6 weeks later I joined a Naturist Swim club”
Billy found the response from people at the club was positive, “nobody was bothered about my stoma bag or my scar going from my belly button down to above my groin. I was not a freak; I was a person, just a normal person.”
Billy now feels that having a urostomy hasn’t restricted any aspect of his life and enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking and naturist swims around his job as a Chartered Architectural Technologist for a local Council in Scotland.
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