As a fit and sporty 55 year old, running his own London property company and father to a teenage daughter, Simon King was told that he was suffering with Rectal Cancer and needed a colostomy which meant having to undergo stoma surgery to stay alive. Just 18 months on, Simon says “life goes on virtually as normal and I don’t have the worry of the cancer anymore.”

Having initially used closed pouches, Simon has since moved on to using open pouches which he feels are more flexible for him and his particular lifestyle. He has experienced the odd problem along the way, but having had excellent support and advice from his Stoma Nurse on fitting and changing his pouches, Simon has managed to get back to what he enjoys doing the most – being active.

A keen cyclist, motorcyclist, swimmer, skier, scuba diver and traveller as well as fitting in a busy ‘day job’ running his own business, Simon’s life hasn’t changed very much at all and he is doing virtually everything he did before having a stoma.

"Maintain a positive attitude about what you can do with a stoma – trust me, there really is not much you can’t do!"

Simon explains, “My family, friends and colleagues have all been very supportive and know that I have a stoma, but being single, I did worry about meeting new people (especially women) and what their reaction would be to me having to wear a pouch.

My advice to anyone new to life with a stoma is to be prepared – planning ahead is the key to making sure life really can go on as normal, therefore my top tips would be:

1. Always have supplies of your pouches with you (I keep spares in both of my cars and in a fashionable ‘man bag’ when I go out on foot
2. When travelling, especially by plane, visiting the cinema, or attending a conference etc choose an aisle seat rather than a window seat so you can get up to visit the bathroom when necessary
3. Consider using underwear that supports the area around the stoma – I do and I can wear a T-shirt without the pouch being visible at all
4. Maintain a positive attitude about what you can do with a stoma – trust me, there really is not much you can’t do!
5. Don’t be afraid to tell people you have a stoma – you’ll be surprised to find that people are really not that bothered

Top Tip number 4, really is the key to your quality of life with a stoma. I have recently returned from a long weekend in Los Angeles which meant taking two 12 hour flights and involved a lot of rushing around and ‘packing it in’. I’m taking holiday at Christmas where, amongst other things, I shall be making a few scuba dives so my stoma will certainly be the last thing on my mind”.


For Tania, deciding to have an ileostomy has allowed her to return to doing the things she loves best.


Emily is thankful for her surgeon and her stoma because she is alive.


Heather has been living with a colostomy and ileostomy since 2017.


One week after Grant's 60th birthday he was diagnosed with cancer.