An Encounter With Love

Love has many flavours. We can have love between friends. Love can be romantic, and Heart shaped cloud
love can be tragic. We can love money, possessions, and our favourite dessert. Love is a risk. It has the power to break our hearts. Love can cause war. Love can be ecstasy. Real love is believed to be a choice that can be given freely, without wanting anything in return, an unconditional give and receive.

During the past few months I have dedicated my passion and energy for ostomy awareness, advocacy and support, with a focus on Pediatric Ostomy. This new direction for me has been a powerful experience indeed.

January 2019, I published, Why Buttercup Wears a BAG!. I was inspired to write this children’s book for the littlest persons with an ostomy as there are very few books and toys that children with an ostomy can relate to, as they read, play, and live their lives.

In addition, this month I have written an article on Pediatric Ostomy for a leading Canadian ostomy magazine. Working on this endeavour, I have had the pleasure and honour of interviewing several parents of children with an ostomy for the purpose of shining a light on the important and often invisible topic of Pediatric Ostomy. It has been through this experience that I’ve had an extraordinary encounter with love.

Two of the remarkable young people I have met, (through interview), are Mallory, (4 years old), and Delia, (13 years old). Mallory’s health and ostomy journey began Day 2 of her life. Delia’s at 8 years of age. The messages the girls and their parents have shared for everyone are many. The following are a few of the love messages that have profoundly touched me.

Delia and her family want everyone to know; “Having an ostomy doesn’t change who you are. You can love yourself well, embracing whatever challenges you have. Don’t look at limitations, but follow your heart and you will do whatever you want in life.”

“Delia thrives as an individual. She is confident in herself as a person with value. She continues to feel good about her body at 13 in a culture that does everything to undermine that. She gives back to the world always. She has embraced her challenges with humour, acceptance, and grace”, says her Mom.

Delia lives pure self love, (self love can be very challenging for most of us). Her message is universal, with or without an ostomy, our lives are enriched.

Mallory’s parents are working with her to shape her fearless spirit. They embrace their medical parent role, and are often asked; how do you do it? Mallory’s parents’ response is profound. “We are full time professionals and parents of Mallory (medical miracle), and Collin (healthy 7 year old). The answer is simple, it’s just love. We love her the very best we can at home and at hospital. Any parent could be a medical mom/dad because it’s just love.”

February is the  month in which many celebrate Valentine’s as a day set aside to express their love and affection. Through special gestures people remind one another, love is not taken for granted. There are some folks who view this day as an extravagance imposed by commercial interests. The little ones and their families remind us; love with all of its flavours is a never ending story. It is the truest and deepest gift we can give to ourselves, and to one another.

Authored by:

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”

www.jo-annltremblay.com

Are you interested in reprinting or republishing this blog? With your written request, be our guest. We want to help connect people with the information they need. We just ask that you link back tojoannltremblay.wordpress.com, preserve the author’s byline and refrain from making edits that alter the original context. Questions and your reprint/republishing request(s) go to: www.jo-annltremblay.com, click on the “contact” page, and fill out thecontact form.

buttercup book front cover

Why Buttercup Wears a BAG!

It is with pleasure and joy, that we are announcing the release of our newest book, Why Buttercup Wears a BAG! – The Adventures of Buttercup and Elliott…buttercup book front cover

Written for the littlest persons with an ostomy, this children’s book is a positive story starring Buttercup, her friend Elliott, and their new friend Squiggs. Buttercup is a mouse with an ostomy. This book, for young children, is about the many things children, (ostomate and non-ostomate), can do in a day to learn, have fun, and be strong. As the 3 friends embark on a playful adventure at the park, they raise ostomy awareness. Their special message encourages all young children with or without an ostomy, to know they can do anything they set their minds to.

Family and friends will delight in reading, Why Buttercup Wears a BAG!, with infants, toddlers, and young children. The story cheers readers on, while they connect with Buttercup as she deals with her stoma in her daily life. This book provides readers with the opportunity to stimulate conversations about ostomy thoughts and experiences. The adventure cultivates the awareness that everyone we meet is wonderfully unique, and that we all have an amazing story to tell, no matter who we are.

This colourful and beautifully illustrated book was written with the desire to inspire children and the people in their lives, to know that although we are faced with challenges, we are not alone, and we can live a quality of life in spite of it all.

You can purchase your copy of Why Buttercup Wears a BAG!, in paperback and Kindle format from Amazon, available worldwide. Just go to the Amazon site of your choice, type in Why Buttercup Wears a BAG!, the Amazon site will direct you from there. You can order the book on this blog site by clicking on “Book Order Information” at the top banner of this page. The book can also be ordered from my website www.jo-annltremblay.com

Through the readership of my published adult ostomy books, website, and THE OSTOMY FACTOR blog, I have received requests for pediatric ostomy information and recommendations for young children. Although there are excellent instructional publications I have been able to recommend, there is scant resources/publications that young ostomates can relate to individually, nor how they and their families live with an ostomy, (lifestyle). This has been my inspiration for writing Why Buttercup Wears a BAG!

This book will delight the young ostomate in your life. Reading the book together as you embark on the adventure with the 3 friends, provides the opportunity for you and your child to discuss and explore the everyday experiences of life with an ostomy.

Enjoy!

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay and Percy Stoma


“Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”

www.jo-annltremblay.com

buttercup book full cover.001

Are you interested in reprinting or republishing this blog? With your written request, be our guest. We want to help connect people with information they need. We just ask that you link back to joannltremblay.wordpress.com, preserve the author’s byline and refrain from making edits that alter the original context. Questions and your reprint/republishing request(s) go to: www.jo-annltremblay.com, click on the “contact” page and fill out the contact form.

Our Wish For You…

From all of us to all of you, have a holly jolly Christmas. Have beautiful moments, and may you find many reasons for happiness.

Happy New Year, and lets make 2019 the best year yet!

In January Percy and I have an exciting announcement. Stay tuned!

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

&

Percy Stoma

Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”

Christmas 2018 Image

www.jo-annltremblay.com

Are you interested in reprinting or republishing this blog? With your written request, be our guest. We want to help connect people with the information they need. We just ask that you link back tojoannltremblay.wordpress.com, preserve the author’s byline and refrain from making edits that alter the original context. Questions and your reprint/republishing request(s) go to: www.jo-annltremblay.com, click on the “contact” page, and fill out the contact form.

 

Sitting By The Outhouse

I’m sitting by the portable toilet looking over the lagoon, contemplating my life. IMG_4579The year is almost at an end. A new year will begin in just a month and a bit.

Picture a blue outhouse on a blue southern lagoon, silent and peaceful aside from the calls of the Osprey. I am sitting by the outdoor privy entertaining myself with metaphorical thoughts. The commode is a place where people “unload” sh*t. The lagoon is the place where people “unload” their sh*tty thoughts and emotions.

The outdoor latrine is not connected to plumbing, sewer or septic systems, and is placed at a reasonable yet accessible distance from the house. Well, any ostomate knows about internal plumbing disconnect with a stoma placed at a reasonable yet accessible distance from the back door, so to speak.

Turning my busy metaphorical thoughts from the inspiration of the crapper to the magic of the lagoon, and the “knee deep and sinking fast” feelings of the cancer scare I experienced this past summer, my mind moves through to the hope and promise of a smoother tomorrow and beyond.

Hmm… Does luck have any influence on us and our lives? Some people think bird poop on your home, car, or on you is a welcome sign of good luck. A good luck superstition that originates in the UK involves saying, “Rabbit” right after you wake up on the first day of the month. The ritual will supposedly give you good luck for the rest of the month.

Some folks believe that certain gem stones influence luck and fortune. Others believe the position of the planets effect daily lives and influence luck. All of these beliefs are steeped in ancient tradition.

Can we attract luck to ourselves? We can always try to stay positive, endeavouring to find the silver lining… and have a sense of humour. A positive affirmation could also help, it only takes a few seconds and can set the stage for the day.

Well in fact, life is full of surprises. Our lives are made up of a series of events…good and bad. Tomorrow and beyond is really about taking the good with the bad. The promise is, it doesn’t come any other way anyway. As a friend recently shared with me, the hope is in the understanding that sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. As I sit by the outhouse beside the blue lagoon, I’m taking the good with the bad as I anticipate that the next set of surprises will be the promise and the hope of good luck and good things to come.

Authored by:

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”

www.jo-annltremblay.com

Are you interested in reprinting or republishing this blog? With your written request, be our guest. We want to help connect people with the information they need. We just ask that you link back tojoannltremblay.wordpress.com, preserve the author’s byline and refrain from making edits that alter the original context. Questions and your reprint/republishing request(s) go to:www.jo-annltremblay.com, click on the “contact” page, and fill out the contact form.

Sweet Words

“NO CANCER”, said the Doctor. A thumbs up, (and a few tears), between my husband andClose up seagull:clouds I as we marked this delicious moment in time. The results of the multiple biopsies and surgery is definitive, how sweet it is. In that instant a 1000 pounds of weight lifted off of our shoulders, and I felt the crispness of my soul. It’s the first day of the rest of my life, again…

My healing is humming along nicely. I’m marching to the beat of the recovery drum, and my spirit is soaring.

I would like to extend a thank you to all of you. You gave us your prayers, words of encouragement, generous offers, and actions of support throughout this challenging time.

THANK YOU, WE ARE IN GRATITUDE

“Cut It Out!”

Once again we’ve pulled into the hospital parking lot. The grey and stone sanctuary of Intervenusthe ill is looming ahead of us. The enemy is inside and its time to cut it out! Pondering over the past several months, I must admit, it’s been a summer of stress, joy, adventure, passion, and worry. Aestas horribilis.

Looking back, it was in July that I attended my annual mammogram at this same hospital. I am already a survivor, for 40 years I have sat on pins and needles after each mammogram, only to be delighted at the sound of a wonderful voice say, “All Clear”. This time would be different, the phone rang and the dreaded, “Call Back”, seemed to screech into my ear. As July progressed I attended a 2nd mammogram appointment. Then, there was an ultra sound, and yes, two masses were confirmed. A biopsy followed. August I attended my follow-up appointment with the Doctor. At this time I was told surgery was required.

It’s now September and so, here we are once again moving along the concrete walkway leading to the sliding doors. As I held my husband Mark’s hand, I noticed the windows reflected a brilliant rising sun. Was this an omen of things to come?

Preparing for surgery, I was compassionately cared for by the hospital staff. I was then wheeled into the operating theatre. On the stage of this cold and stark theatre humming with the sounds of monitoring machines was a team of professionals moving about collaboratively performing with purpose. They were the stars of the show, I was their audience. During my drug induced slumber the, “Cut It Out” climax came and went. Although a daunting experience for me, I accepted what we were all here in the theatre to do.

I have battle wounds. They are my badges of survival. This new scar is horrifying and delightful. I can once again delight in the joy of seeing another brilliant sunrise, horrified for the upcoming biopsy results I’m expecting in October. Delighted that I again have the chance to laugh, joke, and cause mischief.

Words are powerful tools, Words have the power to tear down or build people up. Thank you to all of you who expressed loving thoughts through your words of encouragement. Your heartfelt messages of support have sustained me throughout my recovery.

I am in gratitude!

Bouquet of Flowers

Author by:

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

“Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”

www.jo-annltremblay.com

Are you interested in reprinting or republishing this blog? With your written request, be our guest. We want to help connect people with the information they need. We just ask that you link back to joannltremblay.wordpress.com, preserve the author’s byline and refrain from making edits that alter the original context. Question and your reprint/republishing request(s) go to: www.jo-annltremblay.com, click on the “contact” page, and fill out the contact form.

A Life Unfolding As It Will

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, as to have the life that is waiting for us. – Joseph Campbell (American Professor of Literature) Clouds

I hadn’t planned on this. I’ve already been pulled back from the almost dead. Isn’t that enough for one life time? I’m already a survivor after all!

These were the thoughts running through my mind as I pulled into the hospital parking lot. That grey and stone sanctuary of the ill. Just this past July 2018, I had attended my annual mammogram at the High Risk clinic. Lurking in the recesses of my mind was the memory of the masses that grew in my chest nearly 40 years ago. After surgery, my heart had swelled with gratitude that I was now a survivor. I was all clear! Back then, I had been warned of the dangers. I guess a survivor is never home free.

Obviously the mammogram procedure this July was successful, all medical values, standards, professionals, and equipment up to scratch. After the almost 40 years of “All Clear”, I got the dreaded “call back”.

A second mammogram, and an ultra sound later, yes, there are 2 masses confirmed. They are in the same exact location as the nasty ones of old, snuggled deep in my chest just above my heart. How ironic is that!

Within a week I was in a hospital room with a Doctor and two nurses undergoing a biopsy, which should have taken about 30 to 40 minutes, and in the end took a couple of hours. Those two masses have strategically placed themselves so deep in my chest that there was a concern of inadvertently piercing my lung. I had once been told, “You’re weird and God hates you”, at this same hospital 8 years ago, (7 months before my life sustaining ostomy was created), by the attending Physician who was frustrated due to the fact that he could not find the source of my ailment. These words flooded back to me as I lay awkwardly while the biopsy was performed. “Maybe that Doctor 8 years ago was right,” I thought.

With the biopsy behind me, I had to wait 4 weeks to finally attend the follow-up appointment to receive the results of the biopsy. It sure has felt like four of the longest summer weeks of my life!

So here I am pulling into the hospital parking lot again, on my way to the results appointment. After I parked the car, I then moved along the concrete walkway leading to the sliding doors. As I took each step I noticed the windows reflected the bank of clouds gathering on the horizon behind me. Was this an omen of things to come?

I gazed up and down, and right to left as I pressed on to the entrance. The voice in my mind was strong, clear, and penetrating, and it asked; “what will she say, and how will I react?”

When I arrived at her office and sat myself down, emotion overwhelmed me, and in walked my Doctor and her assistant.

With an ear to ear smile on her face she said, “We found it and we got it in time. The cells are abnormal, but they are not malignant at this time. We need to remove the lumps as soon as possible. The not so good news is, we have to do surgery. My assistant will call you after the long weekend…”

A surge of emotion overwhelmed me once again. This time the strong, clear, and penetrating voice in my mind screamed. “Thank you!” And, for a moment I’m sure I felt my heart swell with gratitude. After my first bout with malignancy I had planned that there would be no more of this nonsense. After my multi-year debilitating illness that climaxed with near death, and the creation of Percy Stoma, I had planned, that there would be no more of this nonsense.

Well, no more plans for me for a while! I think I will simply live the moments. I will take each day as it comes. I will live it to the fullest, as my interesting life unfolds as it will. Well, for the next little while anyway.

Authored by:

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

“Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”

www.jo-annltremblay.com

Are you interested in reprinting or republishing this blog? With your written request, be our guest. We want to help connect people with the information they need. We just ask that you link back tojoannltremblay.wordpress.com, preserve the author’s byline and refrain from making edits that alter the original context. Questions and your reprint/republishing request(s) go to: www.jo-annltremblay.com, click on the “contact” page, and fill out the contact form.