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Guilty feelings when using the disabled toilets

BBC newsreader George Alagiah has spoken of his guilt at using a disabled toilet after his bowel cancer treatment - given he did not have any visible disabilities.

The 63-year-old was first diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in 2014, and underwent an ileostomy as part of his treatment.

In the podcast In Conversation With George Alagiah: A Bowel Cancer UK Podcast, he said: ‘I used to find difficult – I had a stoma but I didn’t look disabled, and I would be turning the key in a disabled loo in a motorway service station or something.

‘And if there was a queue and somebody obviously disabled (was there), I used to feel guilty and feel like I needed to apologise and explain.’

Talking about living with a stoma for the first time, the BBC newsreader, who has stage four bowel cancer, also said that he had to get his suits for work altered to allow for the bag on his abdomen.

Alagiah said: ‘As a man, and wearing a suit for work – when I’m not doing this, I’m reading the news for the BBC – I had to get my suits taken out and wear braces, and so on, because it was higher up.’

Of the concerns he felt, he said: ‘I (was) always looking around at my colleagues and thinking, ‘Can they smell anything, can they hear anything?”

He added: ‘Before I was presenting the news, I used to be a foreign correspondent, and I used to have this bag, a satchel, which had everything I needed – at the drop of a hat I could get on a place and I knew I could do my work.

‘And suddenly this blue bag (a stoma kit bag) became my new thing that I would take everywhere.’

Read full article at

Posted on: April 21 2019

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