If you worked before your operation and are considering going back to work, the most important thing to do is to plan well in advance.
It’s important to discuss your options with your employer as soon as possible. Some employers are very flexible and may be able to offer you alternatives such as going back to work part-time or working reduced hours – if that’s what you want to do.
Before you return to work, it’s a good idea to do a few trial runs. A lot of people find it helpful to dress and plan their day as if they were going to work for a few weeks in order to establish a routine.
Back at work
Once you start working, you might be eating at particular times of the day and you’ll need more structure to your day than before. People are often concerned about wind, so think about your diet and the times you’ll need to change or empty your bag so you can plan your day accordingly.
You will also need to think about clothing. Your body shape may have changed and you will be wearing clothes that you may not have worn for a while. Men may have to consider changing the style of their trousers. If you wear a uniform, make sure you try it on and order a new size if necessary.
Who to tell at work
Once you return to work, you may be concerned about telling your colleagues. Just like with your family and friends, who you decide to tell about your condition is completely up to you. However, it’s usually advisable to ensure that at least one person knows you have a stoma. Then, if there are any problems or issues, you’ll have someone to talk to. Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing is that you’re comfortable with your decision.
Listen to your body
Going back to work is a huge accomplishment and you should feel really proud of yourself. Physically and emotionally you are likely to feel tired. So try not to overdo it, listen to your body and where possible, build up your workload gently.
- speak to your employer as soon as you can if possible,
- build up your working hours gradually
- check the available changing facilities
- prepare a small portable changing bag you can take discreetly to the toilet do trial runs with your diet and clothes before you start work