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

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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.

Life Goes On…

I felt as if my life and myself as I knew it was being erased. My hands were shaking and my bottom lip trembled. I was told to do this and to do that. I had no choice. Another White Feathertragedy had happened, and my life seemed to have fallen short, again!

When I awakened from life saving surgery, once again I faced the interesting conundrum called, “Life Change”. Do I go along for the ride, not ask questions, not share the truth of my pain and confusion, as I stay in quiet desperation? Do I let this situation limit me, as I mourn what could have been, if things would have just stayed the same? Or, do I let go of the fantasy, that dream I had of my life, and at least make peace with the past. Let’s face it, I can’t go back to what I had.

I know this surreal place, the place where my current life intersects with my future me, and life. The crossroads where once again I am challenged to reevaluate and rebuild myself, and life again. Something I call recovery. I know it. It is a familiar place, I’ve been here too many times in my life. I buried my child, I buried a life partner of over 30 years, my only living child lives with an incurable disease. I was challenged to live with the illness that eventually led up to the creation of a life altering change, my permanent ostomy. Yes, I know this place.

When someone, or life treats us poorly, our natural response is to feel anger. If we hold onto anger/resentment from the individual/event, and take that into our future, there are dire consequences. Usually the consequences are at best a diminished life experience. At worst, we eliminate our ability to shift, evolve, and change over time.

Woe is me. Life’s not fair! Why me? For most of us it’s easy to be motivated by negative emotions. We all know this place too. Change is a hard challenge, especially ones we had little to no control over in the first place.

So, we can embrace, “why me”, and hope the passage of time will heal us. Or, we can use the time to recover. I say recover because there are some tragedies we just can’t consistently pack away neatly in the past and be done and over with. It’s just not truthful and realistic for me not to feel, in the depths of my being the bitter/sweet of Mother’s Day.

The viable goal becomes: long-term and sustainable change. Real change needs a positive platform to launch from. In my experiences, this is based on my desire to instruct and improve myself and life. This approach is strengthened by my desire to be caring and compassionate with myself. Self-care and compassion facilitates the recovery process. And finally, the platform supports my belief that when I grow as a person and have learned something to move my life forward, then the life changing challenge has served the purpose of bringing me closer to my meaningful success. My recovery process has continued.

I have not and never will take the changes I make as I recover all at once. Instead, I start somewhere, take measurable actions, (most of them small and specific). Then as life unfolds as it will, when a person, and event or a situation shows up in my life, I simply continue to march to the beat of my recovery drum.

When the next life change shows up in my life, and I am sure it will, I will once again feel myself and my life being erased. My hands will shake and my bottom lip will tremble. I will again find the ways and means to recover and grow as a person, as I navigate the recovery path. I will march ahead to learn something that will move my life forward. Then, this change will have served a purpose. And so, life goes on…

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. Questions and our reprint/republish 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 Stranger Came Into My Life…

One day, a person came into my life. A person and a day that changGratitudeed everything. They did not change the way I think about the world. Instead, through their professional expertise and commitment, they changed and altered in all ways imaginable the way I view myself, and they confirmed how I view everyone else around me.

Sitting in the examination room at the Ottawa Hospital, I anticipated seeing her again. Like the dawn, she had given me the shimmering glow of the hope of survival, and that a new day was possible. She who was there at the rising of my new beginning, my new normal, my renewed awakening.

She was once a stranger that I met on my journey to another destination. Perhaps it was fate that she would be the one who would create the masterpiece I call, “Percy”, my life-sustaining stoma.

Right here in this tiny room, during this tiny moment, I am reminded that my mortal body will not last forever, and yet every day since July, 2011, I have lived my gratitude for survival from the brink of death.

Then suddenly, with a vortex of rushing air from the hallway, mixed with the combination of antiseptic gasses and dust particles of my tiny room, the door opened and there she was. “Hello Jo-Ann, and hellooo Percy”, she blurted. In that instant a kaleidoscope of emotions took hold of me. Joy, excitement, trust, and once again an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. She was the one, she had been there at my lowest of low. The stranger who played a major role in saving me.

My gratitude is held treasured within me for Dr. Rebecca Auer, MD, MSc, FRCSC. She the capable surgeon, the stranger that came into my life that fateful day. She who is committed to saving life if at all possible. She who led the team of experts who repaired the many parts of my diseased and injured body. She who worked with natures original colon design, and fashioned an outstanding work of art, my ostomy.

I was delighted to see her and have the opportunity to once again express my gratitude, and to share the ripple effects and flow of her and her team’s accomplishments.

For me, gratitude is a multifaceted gem. One facet is the inner acknowledgement and acceptance of the truth of something dearly received. The second facet is the explicit and voiced declaration of gratitude that amplifies the inner voice out to the giver to be heard in the outer world. The third facet is the action of gratitude. Action is custom-designed to fit the experience. There are a myriad of actions that can be taken, for example; returning the kindness, paying it forward, or creating an enduring and long-lasting legacy.

During the few minutes we had together, Dr. Auer and I chatted about life. I was able to let her know that due to her and her teams culmination of study, practiced expertise, and commitment, I have taken my bonus years seriously. Three more grandchildren have been born since 2011, and I live the joy of my now seven grandchildren with the desire for more. I have been able to continue my travels to the far reaches of our beautiful planet with my husband, Mark. I have solidified my commitment (as my act of gratitude), to becoming ostomy knowledgable, and applying this knowledge and attendant experiences, to awareness and advocacy projects. In support of awareness and advocacy I have written 3 books on the subject of ostomy, ostomates, the life of the ostomate, and their caregivers. I am a member of the Canadian Ostomy Society – Medical Advisory Committee (MAC), holding the title and responsibilities of, “Ostomy Lifestyle Expert”, I write ostomy/life related articles for ostomy magazines in Canada, United States, and the United Kingdom.

I expressed my gratitude to her for doing everything professionally possible for her patients. I told her the reality for me, are the following core facts as I believe them to be:

  1. Because of her commitment to saving lives, her consistent desire to research/find solutions to life destroying diseases/circumstances, and her dedication to assist in ways possible as a surgeon, oncologist, professor, and researcher, she positively impacts the lives of her patients.
  2. The work she and her team(s) perform on a daily basis creates ripple effects, that expand ever outwards across and throughout not only the lives of her patients, but also the people they touch. Every moment longer a patient survives, another level of quality of life that is experienced, is a testament to their dedication which incrementally builds as their patients live their future. Their good works become our shared legacy.
  3. As one of her patients, I am in gratitude that I am alive and so, I am living my life to the fullest in spite of it all, and committed to ostomy awareness and advocacy.

A stranger came into my life and the world took on a different light. This person, this perfect stranger to me, saved my life, created my ostomy, and each day that I attend to my stoma, I glimpse the beauty of natures amazing design that is inside of us. I marvel at the creation I call Percy. I didn’t know this stranger but one thing is for sure, I am forever changed. Thank you.

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.