Did you know that today, October 3rd, 2015, is World Ostomy Day—Many Stories, One Voice?
The aim of World Ostomy Day is to raise awareness for ostomies and ostomates world wide.

Even though our Dad had a ostomy bag for over 35 years, we had no idea there was a whole ostomy community out there. As a matter of fact we didn’t even know the term ostomy nor did we know that people wearing colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy bags are called ostomates; nor did we know ostomy surgeries are performed on all ages, even infants!

We at OstomyPockets want to do our part for World Ostomy Day by sharing what we’ve learned, especially in the way of support, since we joined this community last year.

Support for the ostomy community comes in many forms:
Health Care Providers—nurses, specialized wound, ostomy, continence nurses (WOCNs), home health care workers, etc. Every nurse we have encountered that has ostomy patients is genuinely dedicated to supporting them, helping them find solutions, and enhancing their quality of life. We are so impressed by their compassion and by how tight knit this community is.

Support groups–local support groups, state support groups, national support groups, international support groups, online support groups, online support directories (Ostomy 2-1-1-); the list goes on and on. The #UOAA (United Ostomy Association of America) is a great resource guide for information on ostomies. You can find a support group on their site by entering your zip code or you can join a virtual support group.

Social Media—facebook, and twitter are probably the most popular. You tube videos showing how to change your ostomy pouch as well as soooo many other informative videos are numerous. There are also many, many blogs where ostomates share their stories. Some are heartbreaking, honest stories of their struggles; others are uplifting and inspiring tales of how they have overcome obstacles and regained their lives back and so many more.

Fundraisers–5k runs (go to www.ostomy5k.org) for more information on run locations as well as virtual run/walk info—yes, you can even join in from the comfort of your own home.

Ostomy fairs & trade shows usually put on by local support groups

Ostomy supplies—to aid with the pouching systems–many of which have been designed by ostomates because of a need they are meeting. This is the case with OstomyPockets as well–designed by an ostomate because he couldn’t find anything on the market that worked in supporting his ostomy pouch to keep it from moving and chafing his leg.

Publications such as #The Phoenix magazine published by UOAA chocked full of information about ostomies. There are also many books written by ostomates such as “Better with a Bag than in a Bag” by #Joann Tremblay with her sequel “Another Bag Another Day: Creating a new Lease on Life in a New World”.

The list for support options is endless. However, even though there are so many groups offering so much information, many ostomates and their care givers don’t know about them. We hope by posting these many outlets for information, #OstomyPockets has helped World Ostomy Day’s mission of raising awareness for all ostomates.
I see a movement (no pun intended) where wearing an ostomy pouch is not only accepted but worn with pride. From everyday people to models to body builders to athletes, these ostomates are no longer hiding their ostomy pouches. They are wearing them and showing them. With an estimated one million ostomates in the United States alone, doesn’t this make so much sense.

In addition to helping raise awareness through this post today and sharing our story about our Dad in last week’s post (Dad and his ileostomy), #OstomyPockets will be attending Sacramento area #Carmichael Ostomy Association’s mini trade expo as a vendor. We wish World Ostomy Day great success in your mission!

Please share this post to help World Ostomy Day raise awareness for the ostomy community.

All the best!

World Ostomy Day—Many Stories, One Voice

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