June has been a gripping bad news, good news month. A month that held me firmly at attention. It all started with a battle with congestion, which then progressed to become an upper respiratory infection. I am now taking antibiotics and if they work, by next week July 1st, Percy and I will be feeling much better. Not that I should be counting the days, but alas, I am counting the days to a full recovery.
That was the bad news, now for the good news. When one is ill with what may be a contagious germ and everyone stays away from you, what does a writer do with their time, well, they write. Percy and I are so pleased to announce we have completed the manuscript for the sequel to Better With A Bag Than In A Bag – From the brink of death to recovery through humour and inspiration, it is now in the hands of our Editor. Percy and I are so excited! Percy has co-written the sequel with me, my clever little stoma. With Percy’s sense of humour, straight from the hip no-nonsense, (or in Percy’s case, straight from the abdomen, south, south-east, of my belly button), tell it like it is attitude, well, we’ve had an amazing writing adventure.
Better With A Bag Than In A Bag is a book that shines the light on the odyssey that I was forced to embark on in 2008, that continued to my lifesaving surgery July 21 2011, and then beyond through the year long recovery afterwards. This book is the real-life story of an ordinary woman taking a stand against an extraordinary nemesis called diverticular disease. The story follows me as I navigated through a myriad of doctors, diagnostic tests, and procedures, only to find myself lost in the mysterious landscape of misdiagnosis. During this time I wondered who would help me. I asked myself many times; “How was I going to save my life before time would run out?”
My life was saved, Percy Stoma was created, and my little buddy has now joined me on this journey called life. The first book chronicles my march to the beat of the recovery drum, and the many bizarre, often times comic, definitely frustrating, and challenging situations and circumstances an ostomate faces. It is a book that I shared the poop on poops as a new ostomate, with humour, and the triumph of the human spirit that is within all of us. I have had the pleasure of receiving emails and letters from readers, many of which are ostomates, and others who are not. One of the most often shared comment I receive is, “This book made me laugh, and made me cry, it provided me with vital information, and it gave me hope.” Another ostomate comment is, “This book made me remember my own journey from the brink, and it has inspired me to continue taking those small steps forward.” Percy and I are so very pleased that in sharing our story, we have been valuable for so many.
On the day of my first stomaversary, we enjoyed friends, good eats, and all of the sparkle July 21, 2012, could bring. On July 22, 2012, the following day, the full impact of reality set in and I realized that although the official recovery period was now completed, Percy and I found ourselves at a “beginning again”. Hmm…Well, ah, the beginning of what, who, when, where and how, of a new life, new self, and a new normal, whatever the heck it’s all supposed to be. And so, the sequel begins the day after our first Celebration of Life Stomaversary Day, where Better With A Bag Than In A Bag, ends. The candles had been blown out, the cupcakes devoured. Percy and I had thrown away our gem-studded ostomy pouch. Time to move on – or so we thought.
Living with the full impact of the lingering damage from the original disease and the damage from the extensive surgery. Coupled, with the emotional toll it takes to adapt and live with an altered body function, and another surgery about to be scheduled, on the horizon there was another storm brewing. Gun metal black, indigo, and grey clouds of pain and doubt swirled and boiled, inside of me. My body and emotions seemed filled with unseen monsters, bewitching me with their seductive mystery, beckoning ever beckoning me, to jump. With all that was in Percy and I, it was time for us to harness the power of the storm within.
The sequel chronicles the 2nd year march to the beat of our recovery drum. Together, with an army of family, friends, caregivers and medical professionals, we navigated through our healing journey that has been filled with disaster and triumph. This is my individualized true life tale of exploration and adventure as I perceive it. An adventure that goes beyond survival to arrive at the gateway of a new world, a new life, a new normal.
Through THE OSTOMY FACTOR blog, Twitter, and Facebook, Percy and I are pleased to keep you up to date on the latest announcements, notifications, and the publication date of: Another Bag, Another Day – creating a new lease on life in a new world.
Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
Eol. in Poopology
“Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”