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

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buttercup book front cover

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

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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.

It’s Our Stomaversary

Tunnel of LightIts time to celebrate and to reflect. The journey on the gurney began 7 years ago today. I had an estimated 1 hour to live. As I laid in pain and I wondered if my body was beyond fair repair, I could have just let go and stepped gentle unto death. If I could, I would have just gathered myself and flee. Flee to the mystical void.

But I couldn’t. And so, my thoughts turned purely for the sake of survival.  Although daunting with no guarantee, I rejected failure. Failure was no longer an option in this game to survive. I knew in those moments this decision would not be easy.

I embarked on the white-knuckle challenge. Together with my winning team, consisting of me, my doctors, the nurses, and my beloved husband Mark, survival became our only goal. Although I didn’t fully know what was at stake, I decided I would find a way to heal.

During the almost 8 hour marathon surgery, my amazing stoma buddy Percy was created. In those moments I became an ostomate, and I now sport my permanent ostomy with joy and pride.

The passing years since certainly have left their marks on Percy and I, with wounds and scars. There have been and will be, the feelings that storms with the destructive elements of fire and water, will continue to claw at us with the ongoing realities all ostomates must endure daily, monthly, and yearly.

And yet, this is our sequel. Our second chance at life. We are survivors. We carry on. We have brushed ourselves off and we hold our heads high.

Without fail, every year on that special stomaversary day, we celebrate and reflect once again. Happy Stomaversary Percy Stoma. Thank you for my continued survival. Our goal has been achieved. We are successful!

Happy Stomaversary to you too Jo-Ann. Life goes on, and so are we!

Authored by:

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

&

Percy Stoma

“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 o 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. Questions and your reprint/republishing request(s) go to: www.jo-annltremblay.com, click on the “contact” page, and fill out the contact form.

8 Bursts of Glow

Burst of GlowImagine creating something that never existed before. How wondrous! Its pure delight on every level, and in every dimension. 8 – that’s the number of grandchildren we have now. Our darling 8th burst of glow was born June, 13th, 2018.

I’ve said many times, “If we had to do it all over again, we’d probably have our grandchildren first.” As an ostomate, and I’m sure others feel the same, we have a 2nd chance at life. We have another opportunity to embrace the joy and trials of experiencing our lives as it unfolds.

8 is often referred as the number of abundance and power. Number 8 is a very lucky number in China. The opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in China began on 8/8/08, at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 p.m. The number 8 is the atomic number of oxygen. For our family, we feel our bursts of glow are 8 deep breaths of fresh air, and we sure feel powerfully abundant.

Welcome little one to this beautiful planet and to your time here. May you be powerful, abundant, and lucky in all ways as you live your life to the fullest.

And, may all the little one’s on our planet today know they are amazing creations, and are our gifts no matter who they are or where they live. They are the bursts of glow that illuminate each and every day. May we treasure them, do our best to make our world a safe place for them to flourish, grow, and pass on the wisdom of the ages to their children.

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 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.