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

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“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

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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.

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.

We Know What Its Like…

We know what its like to suffer. We know what its like to persist. We know what its like to face death. We know what its like to survive.

We understand we have endured a life altering experience, and now we live 2 sides of ourselves for the rest of our lives. They say no matter how you split it, there are always two sides to every coin.

IMG_0342

On one side we are joyously grateful, our lives have been saved. On the other side, we are terrified of the altered body and function, we have to live with for evermore.

We worry about the potential for blockages. We are happy to at least, be able to poop in a bag. It sure is an endurance, but way better than the alternative, for every single one of us.

We are hyper focused on everything we eat. We are ever vigilant and prepared, in private and in public of any equipment breaches.

Our ostomy has made it all possible-but at what cost? Our bodies have been altered. Possibly our brains eventually become rewired too.

We are confronted with stigma by some, and praised for our persistence and courage to live life to the fullest, in spite of it all, by others.

We swim in a sea of nostalgia, longing for the old days. Yet, we do the happy dance that we now have more opportunities to live, love, and laugh.

We battle fatigue, discomfort and at times pain, on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. And, because we were at the brink and have come back, we can do anything. We just have to strive, and push ourselves.

Some days we declare:

Today was the most crap filled day ever

And don’t try and convince me, that

There’s something special about everyday

Because when you explore in more detail, taking that closer look

My world is a poopie place

Now read the previous 5 sentences from the bottom to the top, and you will know what we also declare.

No matter how you split it, there are always 2 sides to every coin. Like it or not, there is duality to everyone’s life. Besides feeling our personalities seem to be split, what does the duality of life do for us? Duality is the great teacher and equalizer. It teaches us, that all aspects of our selves and lives, are rooted in the interaction between opposite and seemingly competing forces. The experience of these forces do not have to be viewed as opposite, in fact they can be complimentary. Like the wings of a bird, they definitely don’t cancel out each other, they purely offset each other. And, this is balance.

We know what its like to suffer. We know what its like to persist. We know what its like to face death. We know what its like to survive.

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

HAPPY 150 BIRTHDAY CANADA, EH!

“It’s a party Jo-Ann!”

“It sure is Percy.”

Canada Goose

It’s going to be a heck of a party Saturday July 1st, 2017, our country is 150 years young. All 36,626,086 of us are celebrating. Our country is 99,984,663 km (3,855,100 sq. miles), in size. In fact, we’re the second largest country in the World, that means there is only 13.7 people per square kilometre. So, we have lots of room here for more people to invite to our party. Everyone is welcome to join in.

“Hey, Jo-Ann.”

“Yes Percy.”

“Let’s share a few fun facts with everyone about Canada.”

“Sure”

Well, talking about room for more party dudes and dudettes, Canada has fewer people than Tokyo’s metropolitan area.

Our money is just so fun. Each bill is colourful and there is Braille-like markings on them for the blind.

We love our doughnuts. Canadians consume the most doughnuts and has the most doughnut shops per capita of any country in the World.

Canada is an Iroquoian language word meaning, “village”.

Our official phone number is 1-800-0-canada, how fun is that!

We might feel a little light headed during the celebrations, and not just from the party cheer, large parts of Canada has less gravity than the rest of Earth, the phenomenon was discovered in the 1960’s.

We’ll have one heck of a street party, with 1,896 km, (1,178 miles), Yonge Street in the Province of Ontario, Canada, is the longest street in the World.

We’re a high flying people, in 2015, a Canadian man was arrested after tying more than 100 balloons to a garden chair and flying over the city of Calgary, in the Province of Alberta.

High flying balloon dude aside, we’re pretty smart cookies. Canada is the world’s most educated country, half of our residence have college degrees.

If your party ideas include a swim and some boating, Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world’s lakes combined.

We sure get a lot of mail in December. Every Christmas, 1 million letters are addressed to Santa Claus, he has his own postal code; ‘H0H 0H0, North Pole, Canada”.

We do hope you’ve enjoyed a few fun Canada facts. Both Percy and I wish Canada, all Canadians and everyone who can join us, a very happy, healthy and prosperous 150th birthday. And remember, if you’re in Churchill, in the Province of Manitoba, residence leave their cars unlocked to offer an escape for anyone who might encounter Polar Bears.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA, OUR TRUE NORTH STRONG AND FREE

 

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

Percy Stoma

“Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”

www.jo-annltremblay.com