Time certainly flies! One year ago this month Percy and I created, “The Ostomy Factor” blog and published our first posting November 14, 2012 titled, “Chances Are”.
Our mission is to share the ostomates life, our times, ups, downs, and all arounds with ALL through humour and inspiration.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge, as we experienced the many adventures and misadventures life could throw at us in this past year. During this time, through amazon we indie-published our book, “Better With A Bag Than In A Bag”, December 2012. Since then, our real life compelling tale is now available in 8 countries worldwide, (United Kingdom, US, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan), and is receiving 5 out of 5 star rated reviews. Folks with ostomies and folks who don’t have one have read the book, and the feedback has been more than complimentary. Through humour and inspiration readers are sharing their tears, laughter, stories and human spirit, with Percy, my husband Mark, and I. This has been a true gift for us.
For more information on the book look to the right of this post on the blog viewing window, click on the photo pic of me, and you’ll be linked to the youtube video that features the book trailer. Or, you can simply click http://youtu.be/gwrW4Xmfne4 in this posting to view it. Youngest step-daughter, actress Meredith Henderson, through the production company, SisbroandCompany, created the video. The music and lyrics featured in the video are written by step-son Noah, and performed by my hubby Mark and his children’s band, “Tangleroot”. Enjoy! Percy and I are thrilled with their creative and joyous support. Gosh, 2nd chances at life just keeps getting better and better.
Percy Stoma may have made history by being the first stoma to write blog posts, Percy posted the first stoma to stoma, and, stoma to human blog post December 2012. By this time Percy and I had also painted an oil painting on canvas titled, “Percy A Self Portrait”. You can enjoy the art piece every time you look at the cover of, “Better With A Bag Than In A Bag”. Stoma’s are often referred to as a rose bud. This is due to the fact that the end of the bowel extending externally from the abdomen (stoma), looks like a rose bud. If you find Percy homely in his actual orientation, flip the book upside down and you will see him as a beautiful rose bud.
What’s that? Oh yes, Percy would like you to know the oil painting will be traveling with us, and will be featured at our upcoming speaking engagements. As you can imagine Percy is rather shy and needs to have a bag over his head, and so, Percy is thrilled the painting is up on stage with us providing an opportunity to view him as a representative of one of many stomas around the world who are responsible with keeping their human alive.
Speaking of Percy, the little pungent pooper has quite the sense of humour. As the year moved on and each month progressed my parastomal hernia, a somewhat common complication for ostomates, grew. My abdominal profile which included Percy expanded, we eventually looked about 5 months pregnant on the abdominal left hand side, whilst the right side stayed normal. Not only was this risky health-wise, it also presented a fashion calamity. Percy in his immutable fashion took the opportunity to write the blog post, “Percy Gets A Dress”, see the January 28th, 2013 post, and enjoy a good chuckle.
We travelled the winter of 2013, and took the opportunity to visit Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. An inspired Percy embarked on celestial adventures, and he almost became a squished stoma as he was strapped into our seat during the Shuttle launch. See, “Percy Blasts Off”, February 22, 2013 blog post.
Interestingly, we as human beings have our gut feelings and we feel “butterflies” in the stomach. Underlying this sensation is an often-overlooked network of neurons lining our guts that is so extensive some scientists have nicknamed it our, “second brain”.
A deeper understanding of this mass of neural tissue, filled with important neurotransmitters, is revealing that it does not merely handle digestion or inflict the occasional nervous pang. The little brain in our innards, (no offence to the “little brain” reference is intended Percy), in connection with the big one in our skulls, partly determines our mental state and plays key roles in certain diseases throughout the body.
Although it’s influence is far-reaching, the second brain is not the seat of conscious thoughts or decision-making. Science tells us that the multitude of neurons in the enteric nervous system enables us to “feel” the inner world of our gut and it’s contents. This may explain Percy’s compassion when he took on the project of creating and writing the April 9th blog post, “A Bedtime Story”. Thanks Percy.
Our blog is reaching out to people all over the world, and many have taken the time to connect back with us. Larry in Jersey City, USA, wrote to us about, “Empathy”, which is shared in, “Fellowship of the Bag”, June 5th blog post. And, the phenomenal Lizzie who lives in Zimbabwe, Africa, inspired me, and in the spirit of connecting with our community of humanity for the purpose of touching and being touched, I posted, “Triumph Of The Human Spirit – Lizzie’s Story”, May 16th blog post, in her own words. Thank you Lizzie for your honesty, strength, and commitment to fellow ostomates.
During this past year Percy has settled down to the life of a stoma, pooping, passing wind, writing/ posting blogs, and keeping me alive. Percy’s reputation has grown steadily, and when we endured the 2nd major surgery in 2 years in March of 2013, Percy and I once again had to battle for our quality of life.
It has been another chapter in an amazing life journey, starting from the time leading up to the 2nd surgery, Percy’s DIVA moments while being wheeled into the operating theatre, the zoo, ahem…I mean hospital room and weirdest hospital stay I have ever experienced, our recovery, and our life after life adventures continue. Percy and I are busy writing our next book featuring this amazing journey, we’re calling it, “Better With A Bag Than In A Bag – The Sequel”, and we expect to publish in 2014. Percy and I will keep you posted.
At this time Percy and I would like to express our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you. It is our sincerest hope that you have enjoyed our adventures, learned a few things, had a few chuckles along the way, and have been inspired to take each day as it comes with optimism, in spite of it all. We look forward to continuing the adventures together with you over the next year ahead. Don’t forget to leave a comment, we love hearing from you.
All in all, it has been an amazing and at times challenging journey over the past year. I am an ostomate and Percy is a stoma, now we do almost everything I used to do before Percy’s creation, and we are able to enjoy everything in life we want to. I have hopes, dreams, and a strong desire to live a joyous and full life, in spite of it all. I was carved into a survivor, Percy keeps me alive, I have a 2nd chance at life – it’s the icing on the cake, and the cherry on top!
Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
Everyone you meet has a story to tell.