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

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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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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.

Diamonds On The Water

When sunlit diamonds reflect on the water, they glimmer and shimmer. Glittering sparkles on the surface, hiding the dark secrets below.

Diamonds On The Water

The depths are filled by the infinite streams, flowing into the great timeless ocean. Drop by drop the endless flow mirrors the roaring cascade of the drip, drip of our tears.

Below the surface of our sparkling smiles, we cover the truth of the physical, emotional, mental, and human spirit pain, we have endured in our lives. Our radiating smiles on the outside are a reflection of the sunny world we desire to show, and to live in.

It is the mask we present to the outside world, all the while we are going through deep issues in our lives. We all have challenges of varying degrees of difficulty.

Don’t know if you can handle the change in your body? You don’t think you can handle the pain, discomfort, even the occasional stigma? Yes, you can, because it doesn’t matter how deep the water is when you know how to swim.

Don’t let the deep water scare you. You can handle a lot more than you think you can. It doesn’t matter how deep the water is when you know how to swim.

You may exclaim, “Whoa, I’m in over my head!” You might have the overwhelming feeling, you’re in way to deep. Be encouraged and remember, it doesn’t matter how deep the water is when you know how to swim.

Swimming is a matter of keeping your head, neck, and spine in line, as you reach forward and pull yourself along, even when you’re wearing a life preserver. As you move through life, hold your head high, and with a straight back, reach, and then reach out ever more to life, and you will keep on keeping on.

The surface glitter conceals the dark secrets below. It’s true water like life issues, comes in many forms, and is a force to be reckoned with. It can give life, or it can take it.

As you hold your head high and pull yourself forward through life, know that it doesn’t matter now deep the water is, you know how to swim.

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 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.

A Secret Door

DoorBehind the thin decorative covering of our clothes and outward facade, there is a secret door. This door is the gateway to the fascinating world of our internal physical, emotional, intellectual and human spirit, our inner universe.

It just so happens we ostomates, have had a true life/death defying experience, and we have survived. This experience, and the creation of our secret door has impacted us in all ways possible. We will never be the same again.

During the time leading up to the creation of our secret door, we were ill, and this presented us with health issues that seriously affected our lives. Then, our secret door was created. We were impacted externally and internally, and our lives have been changed forever. When the door was opened we began a new chapter of our life story. A chapter that is often a physical, emotional, and social dichotomy of good and not so good, consequences.

In the years since I became an ostomate and through my Ostomy Canada Society volunteer responsibilities, ostomy support groups, social media forums, Ostomy Factor Blog and my website, so many people have shared their stories of personal experiences.

Through our shared stories we participate in camaraderie, experiences and understandings, that offer all of us clues to the inter-connectedness of all people, ostomate and non-ostomate alike. This is a source for food for thought, and of inspiration.

We share common experiences. Some of us are a parent, a friend, a co-worker, a child, a sister, a brother… We are part of a greater whole on this planet, and in this universe of universes.

As the events of our lives unfold, through the secret door, we internalize and we externalize. There are wondrous possibilities available in both the inside and on the outside. We can take the opportunity to incorporate these potentials in our everyday lives.

Life in reality for everyone is complex, and filled with events, issues, and perceptions. There are no simple or all encompassing solutions. Yet, as ostomates through our physical secret door, we have been gifted with not only continued survival, but with a symbolic representation of a gateway to life’s quantity and quality of life.

Behind the thin decorative coverings, there is a secret door. It is the opening created to give us a new way to eliminate what no longer serves us. It is the threshold to boundless energy, potential, and possibility, all of which we can use for expressing our unique individuality, as we navigate through our 2nd chance at life.

We can perceive the door as closed, and so, we become limited and prevented. Or, we can perceive the door as the opening to potential and possibility. Each of us faces a choice, we hold the key. We can turn back and be defeated by this barrier, or we can push on and step forward into the wondrously something new.

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 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.