Happy stomaversary to us, happy stomaversary to us, happy stomaversary dear Percy and Jo-Ann. Happy stomaversary to us.
Wow Jo-Ann, it’s our stomaversary. Sounds like party time to me.
Yes Percy, it’s our 4th year together. It sure has been an experience and a half little buddy.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge as they say, during this time. Percy Stoma and I embarked on our adventure together on July 21, 2011. It was a crazy time for us. I had arrived at hospital in such a condition that the attending physician stated that if I was to have arrived an hour later, the odds on me surviving were slim to none. During the lifesaving surgery, Percy was created and I must say my life hasn’t been the same since.
Hey, I hope that’s a compliment, Jo-Ann.
It sure is, I would not be alive without you Percy, you’re my hero.
Oh I like that, I’m a hero!
Of course living with a stoma is not always easy, you are high maintenance, little buddy.
I guess living with a hero has its price, Jo-Ann.
Yes, I suppose it does.
At any rate, a lot of living sure has happened throughout the past 4 years. During the first year of recovery Percy and I had to adjust to one another. Relationships of every kind takes a lot of hard work, and stomas are not an exception. Then, during the following year we underwent another major surgery. As time passed during those years, the good news is; Percy has taken care of the elimination end of things, and I’ve regained control of my life.
After our ostomies are created, an ostomate must then continue to live with the ravages left behind from the original disease, and there is always the complications from these invasive surgeries. To add to the experience, there are the ongoing everyday physical and psychological realities of living with an altered bio elimination system and required equipment. Let’s just say there are many bumps on the road. An ostomates life, is a life that is forever changed. Many of us feel we are living another life, in another world. The fact of the matter is; we are living another life and it sure is another world for us. It is our second opportunity, it’s another chance to live, to laugh, to cry, to struggle, to triumph, and another chance to live life to the fullest.
There is a time in everyone’s life when something important to us is lost. Then, there is the time when we really and truly notice the loss. We enter into upset, denial, we can even feel anger, and we grieve our loss. We experience the difficult moments when we remember what we lost, and we want to go back to the time before our loss for a visit. We strive to make peace with what has happened. Then, we explore what we can do about it all, so that we can come out to the other side.
Starting July 22, 2011, Percy and I chose to keep on moving through our lives in spite of ourselves, and it was me who was to get us both moving somewhere. We know we’re not broken for good, nor are we beyond repair, of sorts. It’s terrible what’s happened to us, and there are so many brave people and stomas out there going through their own struggles and tragedies. For sure I’m sorry that all of this happened to me, but I’m an active spirit, and both Percy and I decided after a couple of years together, that we’d take on the attitude that we could turn this around and use our challenges for the sake of ourselves and others. We decided that from tragedy that we’d create elation. I’ve often heard it said; “tragedy and elation are often close neighbours”, and so, our work began.
I promised Percy we would start again as we go along on this life journey, and together we made commitments. We’ve committed to ostomy awareness, to be advocates where needed, and we will share all that we experience and learn with all, in various ways and forms within our abilities, skills, and energy. We have set out to learn everything we can about ostomies, ostomates, how to cope, accept, manage, and learn how to live as an ostomate in partnership with our little stoma buddies. This journey has taken us beyond basic survival to a place where we feel we are flourishing.
With our commitment in mind, in 2012 Percy and I created, THE OSTOMY FACTOR blog. In that same year I wrote and published, Better With A Bag Than In A Bag, for more information, go to the menu bar at the top of this page and click Better With A Bag Than In A Bag. Percy and I have co-authored the sequel, Another Bag, Another Day, which will be published and available for purchase from Amazon, the the Fall of 2015.
In 2013, Better With A Bag Than In A Bag, was reviewed and the review article was featured in The Phoenix Magazine, The official publication of the United Ostomy Association of America, (http://www.pheonixuoaa.org).
In the winter of 2014, Percy and I were featured on the cover of Tidings Magazine, and “Jo-Ann’s second change at life….”, was the inside Cover story. Tidings Magazine is released every quarter, each issue of Tidings contains real life stories, features on Ostomate issues, updates from the Colostomy Association – UK, the latest products and more. (http://www.colostomyassociation.org.uk).
Also in 2014, as part of our quest to support ostomy awareness and advocacy, I became a member of the Medical Advisory Committee with the Ostomy Canada Society. The Ostomy Canada Society is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to all people with an ostomy, and their families/friends, helping them to live life to the fullest through support, education, collaboration and advocacy.
As a member of the Medical Advisory Committee, my area of responsibility is Ostomy Lifestyle Expert. In this capacity, I respond to questions posed by the general public on a variety of ostomy relate subjects. Go to the very well designed and information filled Ostomy Canada Society website, (http://www.ostomycanada.ca). To enjoy the Ostomy Lifestyle Expert page, click on “Information” on the websites bar at the top of the page, a pop menu will appear, click on “Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert“. Together we are learning so much.
In addition, Percy and I have enjoyed writing articles published in the OstomyCanada Magazine. This quality, full colour magazine is published twice a year, and offers ostomy related information as well as motivational personal stories, and up-to-date product information, it is a valuable publication to be enjoyed by all. (http://www.ostomycanada.ca)
Over the past several years Percy and I have had the pleasure of being invited as Guest Speakers in the United States and Canada. It sure has been a delight to meet and share in fellowship, with the Ostomy Support Groups, we’ve made many ostomate and stoma friends.
On a personal note, during the past 4 years Percy and I have witnessed the birth of 3 of our 6 grandchildren. We have filled our lives with all of them, as they grow and develop into their own. We had the pleasure of enjoying a daughter’s wedding, and are now anticipation the birth of her first child, our 7th grandchild. We have travelled on many adventures, and have met many new friends.
Well Percy, we’ve been busy living, laughing, crying, struggling, we’ve had our triumphs and our failures, but through it all, we’re living our life to the fullest.
Yes, we sure have been busy, just as we like it. I’d like to add something here Jo-Ann?
Ahem…Thank you to everyone who has come on this journey with us, and may your next year ahead be the best yet.
Jo-Ann L. Tremblay, Ostomate
Percy Stoma, Eol. Poopology
“Everyone we meet has a story to tell.”