I'm not the one with the colostomy -- my wife is. That said, over the past four years I've learned a good bit about it and how she feels about it. At the beginning, there was indeed the dread of "I'm too young for this!" That quickly changed to "it's a bag or my life," and I'm not trying to be simplistic about it or play down the emotional challenges that the idea of a colostomy brings, but rather let you know the way she approached it. I fully realize that everyone has their own opinions and ways of wrapping their heads around the idea of an ostomy, so I'd encourage you to take your lead from her as you help her to become accustomed to the "new normal."
If it helps at all, I can tell you that last summer -- two and a half years out from her surgery -- Staci finally said "darnit, I don't care what others think, this is ME!" and started wearing a bikini again. We spent last week in NC and her ostomy didn't slow her down at all, as the picture below can attest.
It takes time to get used to an ostomy, both the idea of it as well as its daily care. For many, an ostomy has helped to bring back a sense of normalcy or of not being tied to a bathroom, as Belle notes so well in her blog entries. Those who have ostomies (or those who are close with people who have ostomies) are here to give your sister (and you) all the help and support you'll need.
Husband to Staci, diagnosed at age 32
Clinical dx Stage II/III rectal cancer, 7/2009
APR surgery 11/09 leading to...
Pathological dx Stage IIIB, ypT3N1M0, 11/2009http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/staciwills
Member of The Colon Club's Board of Directors