Today’s post is about sharing positive messages with ostomates. We at OstomyPockets were honored to be invited to a webinar given by Ostomy Lifestyle moderator Laura Cox of Shield HealthCare.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, being in the ostomy community with our OstomyPockets. However, having researched Laura and her three guests, Eric Polsinelli (Vegan Ostomy), Brian Greenberg (The Intense Intestine Foundation) and Bret Cromer (UOAA & Youth Rally), I knew I wanted to listen in and learn.
It did not disappoint—just under an hour of personal stories and experiences which were very informative and inspiring. While all four had different stories and have had their stomas for various lengths of time (2, 5 & 30 yrs), they also had many common threads.
Here are some of the conversations.
How did they feel when they first learned they would need ostomy surgery
Because of different experiences before surgery, the responses were different and went from negative (with feelings of failure) to fearful (of the unknown) to hopeful (to be able to lead a normal life again).
How did they overcome their fears of unknowns about life with an ostomy.
For one, especially since his surgery was 30 years ago, his family and his nurse were his support. They did not let him feel down and helped him realize he would feel better after the surgery. Another, it was the internet and his nurse. His nurse gave him an info packet before surgery which included an ostomy bag. This allowed him to familiarize himself with it. For another his fear of no longer being able to climb, hike, bike, etc., was calmed by an online video he found on how Rob Hill (who lost his large intenstine and colon to Crohn’s disease) climbed the 7 summits of the world. Luckily, he found this 3 days before his surgery and he knew then he would be ok. How inspiring!
How did surgery change their lives.
The answers were all positive such as…
Able to get off medications
Able to go back to a normal way of life
Able to get out of bed after being in bed for years
Able to eat and drink (when before surgery even water was painful)
Able to go back to doing all previous activities and more
Able to relearn how to live a healthy lifestyle after having been sick for so long
What inspired them to become part of the Ostomy Community & how they’re involved
I loved these responses as all chose to get involved to help others through their own experiences.
Eric got involved to offer positive support by sharing reviews, tips and experiences. He has a YouTube channel and wears clothing that invites people to ask him about his Crohns or his ostomy.
Brian got involved because he found, in his own research before his surgery, that he could not connect with the info that was out there. He wanted to help Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis patients in a positive way. His message is that even if their condition turns into an ostomy, it can be positive in that it is the start of them having control of their lives again. Having just finished a half iron man, when people told him he wouldn’t even be able to work his core as before, makes him so inspirational to all.
Bret reluctantly got involved with a support group at 16 yrs old. Through his UOAA support group, he learned about the Youth Rally, a camp for teenagers with bowel and bladder dysfunction which he has been involved with for 15 years. He considers this involvement one of his biggest accomplishments. His mission is to make sure that those with an ostomy or considering ostomy surgery understand that they aren’t alone. Having been diagnosed and gone through his surgery as a teen himself certainly helps him relate to his teens and vice versa.
My takeaway messages are that there are so many reasons and ways to be positive with an ostomy.
Being positive going into surgery will help with the recovery process and beyond.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be tenacious when necessary; listen to what your body is telling you.
And, probably, first and foremost—KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
If you would like to listen to the complete webinar and hear their more detailed questions and answers, here is their link:
I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Please feel free to Like, Share and/or Comment.
Looking forward to hearing from you!