I spent Saturday morning at Macarthur Glen (if that is how its spelt) the shopping centre off the M4 near Bridgend. I was lauching a 'stand' manned by the various ostomates support groups in South Wales on World Ostomates Day. Ostomates are people who for various reasons cannot pass bodily waste through the usual orifices. I am involved in this because as a result of surgery to remove a cancerous tumour in my rectum four years ago, I have a colostomy - so I no longer have a rectum or a backside at all. I suppose I am an inspiration to many sufferers simply because I can live an entirely normal life. I am also a rare bird in Britain, in that I colonically irrigate (every other morning) - so, unusually, I am an ostomate who does not have to wear a 'bag'. Anyone with a colostomy who wants to know more about this should give me a ring on 07968082891. It is not right for everyone - but it works for me.
I am very public about what happened to me because I know that the reluctance of most people to mention matters to do with their bowels leads to thousands of people dying unneccesarily every year. This reluctance to talk about 'toilet matters' also means that these illnesses and diseases have a lower profile than they should have - and less public investment. There were representatives of colostomy groups, urostomy groups and ileostomy groups at Bridgend. There are a lot of really great people involved - many of whom have faced the prospect of an early death. Much of my life is spent with people who are selfish, shallow and obsessed with ambition. The people I spent Sat. with are not like that at all. There is nothing like a close encounter with the next world to increase your appreciation of this one.