Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Spandex bike shorts! Wear them with an ostomy? Yes!!!

Twice this week, bicycle shorts choices with an ostomy has come up.

1. Can you actually wear tight clothes, even skin tight spandex with an ostomy? 
Yes, absolutely! The thing I've learned is that people really aren't paying that much attention to you. They are too hung up on their own appearance to notice a small ring on your abdomen. Most people area a little bit lumpy. And, I'm sure you've noticed some people wearing very tight clothing on the street who don't have chiseled bodies. It doesn't matter if you're thin, thick, or somewhere in between. It's just a little ring, or maybe a small bulge under your clothes or skin tight clothes. And, really, that's all it is.  Can you notice it in the last of the photos below? Probably, if you look really closely. You can definately see it in the correct lighting if I am standing upright, off the bike, and am wearing a skinsuit for time trials. Personally, I'm fine with telling people what it is if they ask, and most of the time people's responses are positive ones. Especially in the setting of competition, I think people have respect for those who have overcome challenges to get there. But, even without a competitive setting, I've stopped caring.
Try it. Wear bike shorts. Nobody is looking. And, if they are, it's your good looking bike or tight clothing, and not your ostomy.

Most people are shocked to find out that I have an ostomy. And, I've never had somebody see me in spandex and figure it out. Even teammates who are oncology nurses haven't known before I told them (or walked around with my shirt off).

2. What kind of bike shorts are best? 
There are really two types of bike shorts. One's with a waist band, and bib shorts with shoulder straps and no waist band. Personally, I swear by bib shorts because they keep everything tucked in place without any additional support garments/belts/whatnot, and don't have elastic constricting my bag anywhere. Pretty simple reasoning, yes?
At first I was afraid to wear bib shorts because I was afraid it would be too tight around the appliance itself. I started biking again after surgery wearing standard shorts and found it was ok for a short time, but after a longer or harder effort it would start to tug on my bag, or if I had any output while biking it would all collect above the elastic line and become both an unsightly bulge and uncomfortable.

Here's how it works, in photo blog format.

3. How do I buy bike shorts? 
It really comes down to a matter of preference.
The ones below are team issue shorts made by champion systems. Some of my other favorite brands for high quality shorts are Voler, Castelli, and Giordana. I recommend you trying them on at a reputable, bicycle-specific store (not a big multisport, box store like REI, City Sports, or Dick's sporting goods.) Ask the sales people about the sizing. They should feel snug enough to keep everything in place but not so tight that you can't get them on. As a point of reference, I usually wear a 28 or 30 waist jeans around my hips, and have a 25 inch natural waist. I wear a small or extra small in most european brands. In larger cut american brands (Hincape) I wear an XXS.

PS- Sorry for the fuzzy iphone photos and the split mirror!!! It's what I've got to work with!
PPS - Note in the corner, the evidence that I do religiously wear zinc sunblock, as should you! Especially if you've ever been on an immune modifying drug, which can increase your risk of cancer!


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  4. Thanks for sharing your beautiful life experience before the Ostomy. You could use the Ostomy Lingerie if you find any problem in wearing your favorite dress after having Stoma.