Our guest this month is Gloria Martinez, Chronic Care Specialist at B.Braun Medical. B.Braun has been a major medical supplier in Europe and other parts of the world, and is now expanding it’s wound and ostomy products here in the U.S. Eric Polsinelli, at VeganOstomy.ca recently reviewed their latest pouching system and gave it a “recommended” rating. Gloria will be bringing samples for us to examine, including ones for continent diversion. B.Braun has an extensive medical supply history that includes not only wound/ostomy products, but nutrition (TPN) therapies, local anesthesia, and infusion therapies. B.Braun ostomy information can be found at myosto-mylife.com. Thank you, Gloria!
It’s UOAA National Election Time! This year there are openings for 2nd Vice President, Secretary, and three Director positions. Most are unopposed, except for the 2nd Vice President position. Voting concludes at the end of June, and as results are known I will post them in a future newsletter.
The WORST an ostomate can expect is a blockage. Do you know what to do? Do your family or friends know how they might help? Often, even if you end up in the emergency room, the doctors there won’t have seen an ostomy blockage before, and won’t know for sure what to do. The UOAA has developed a handy card that you can print and carry with you for caregivers and doctors. I keep a copy on my computer home screen that can be printed out by a family member, if needed. It includes what symptoms to look for, home techniques for moving things along, and a guide for clinicians if you need to go to hospital.
Mental Health with an Ostomy
Getting an ostomy is a traumatic event, whether you’ve done your homework and expect it, or whether it happens overnight after going to the ER with what you hope is a simple tummy ache. In this video, Shield HealthCare’s Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist, Laura Cox, discusses the mental health challenges she faced before and after surgery, and how she’s learning to cope and handle the stress that comes with being an ostomate.
CORRECTION: We have learned that Jon Egan of ConvaTec will not be able to present at our May 3rd meeting (he has left the company). Instead, our own Charles Sloan, WOCN extraordinaire, has agreed to step in and answer all of our questions. He will present a slide show of what a wound ostomy nurse does in a day, and the services that they provide. Come prepared for an informative session and a unique opportunity to ask questions.
For April, we will have a presentation from Stealth Belt V.P Collin Jarvis. At 21 Collin was a nationally ranked middle and long distance runner when he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2013. Stealth Belts fit snugly against the body in order to provide support, comfort, and protection for ostomy and urostomy appliances. They have belts for all kinds of activities, from sleeping to water sports. And they are a NASCAR sponsor with driver and ostomate Ray Ciccarelli!
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis among men and women combined in the United States. There is currently no cure, but it’s 90 percent treatable if caught early with a screening. American Cancer Society estimates there will be over 140,000 new cases and over 50,000 deaths this year.
March is typically Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, but recognition can take place at any time.
UOAA is proud to be a member organization of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT). The NCCRT is a collaborative partnership with more than 100 member organizations across the nation, committed to taking action in the screening, prevention, and early detection of colorectal cancer. taking action in the screening, prevention, and early detection of colorectal cancer.
For April, we will have a presentation from Stealth Belt V.P Collin Jarvis. At 21 Collin was a nationally ranked middle and long distance runner when he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2013, Stealth Belts fit snugly against the body in order to provide support, comfort, and protection for ostomy and urostomy appliances. They have belts for all kinds of activities, from sleeping to water sports. And they are a NASCAR sponsor with driver and ostomate Ray Ciccarelli!
Our speaker this month will be Roger Pomainville. Roger is a long-time resident of Longmont and an avid climber. After his diagnosis of UC in 1977, and ileostomy in 1980, he was told he could do anything in life. And he’s made that happen! Roger has climbed our own Longs Peak more than once, climbed to Base Camp at Mt Everest, and represented the Denver Metro Ostomy Group and our local CCFA on a climb to Mt Elbrus in Russia (elev 18,510 ft). He has a compelling presentation and, if time permits, can show how to change your ostomy pouch while roped to the side of a mountain! As always, time will be available to ask questions and share concerns. Hope you can make it!
The speaker at our next meeting at Longmont United Hospital will feature our own Debra Noel. Debbie spent her career in non-profit social services work for people struggling with life issues as well as children and adults with disabilities and the elderly. Now in her 60s, she is able to enjoy retirement and her art work. Living more than two decades with paralysis from an accidental gunshot, Debbie understands body pain. She has a colostomy and like everything else in life, it doesn’t stop her from doing those things she enjoys. Come hear her dramatic story.
There was a recent post on the OstomyConnection page of Facebook by Amber Wallace. In it, she talks about her tip for keeping her pouch dry in the shower. I can relate! She uses the same Hollister pouch that I use, and I cringe at getting it wet (I find the Coloplast and Convatec pouches dry much more quickly, and the Coloplast are the best). I’ve not tried her technique, but it involves using the standard disposable bags that come in our pouch orders, and taping them around the pouch to keep it dry. If I’m in a rush, I just put on a new bag and dry the wafer with my hair dryer. But I confess to extra showers sometimes before going out in the evening, and this might be a good tip to try.
You’ve had your ostomy now for years. You’ve figured out how to change your wafer and seldom have any leaks. Some of you are grateful that you now have the life that you weren’t able to enjoy for years. But there are still things that bother you about having an ostomy.
Laura Cox, the Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist at Shield Healthcare, did a video on this topic earlier this year, “Things That Still Bother Me Since Getting Ostomy Surgery – And How I Resolve Them“. She covers things like leaks, explaining dietary restrictions to others, and the concept of “you don’t look sick”. The “you don’t look sick” is the hardest one for me. In spite of feeling really good and healthy right now, I just can’t forget how sick I was. I had ulcerative colitis, and still have memories of hours on the toilet and the life events that I had to cancel just because I was unable to function. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy now that I don’t look sick! But I heard this phrase more than once, or it’s companion phrase “you look really good”, when I was truly unable to make it through a day. Those comments try to take away someone’s personal experience, so try to avoid them when possible.
Don’t Forget Lunch!
Our December meeting will be at La Madeleine, 1236 S Hover Rd, Longmont, CO 80501, in the Village at the Peaks shopping district. December 7 at 11:30 am. Save the Date!
Nobody wants a blockage. They can be due to strictures, both in the small bowel or ureter, but are most common from food. A good rule of thumb is to follow the UOAA Diet and Nutrition Guide, and slowly introduce new foods. Who can tolerate what varies from person to person. I find I can’t eat more than a couple of bites of romaine lettuce without pain, but others can eat vegetables freely. The UOAA has a great Blockage Card. If you find yourself experiencing pain or any of the symptoms on that card, try some of the at-home techniques. But don’t hesitate to go to the ER — blockages can be dangerous and should not be ignored. Take a copy of the Blockage Card with you, because many ER doctors and technicians have never seen an ostomy, and this card gives great guidance for professionals. I keep a copy of this card on the home screen of my computer so my family can get to it, too!