A big THANKS to Charles Sloan for speaking at our May meeting. Charles and the WOCN team at Longmont United have been valuable resources for so many patients.  We certainly appreciate their efforts and Charles’ presentation, where he described the role of the WOCN and their responsibilities. The support we receive from nurses like Charles is critical for our success!

Youth Rally

Youth Rally hosts kids with bowel and bladder conditions for a 5-night camp and campus experience.  Focused on kids 11-17, Youth Rally this year will take place at the CU Boulder campus, July 16-21. Many of these campers have ostomies, and this week is used to promote independence, self-esteem, learning, friendship and, of course, FUN! Applications for volunteers are available until June 1.

Disaster Preparedness: Surviving a Firestorm with an Ostomy

Last October, we had a terrible scare when a close friend was caught in the firestorm that enveloped Santa Rosa, CA. He was awakened by his dog, Sparky, (yes, that’s his dog’s name!), and when he went out the front door was met by a red sky and neighbors yelling that they had to get out NOW. He had time to throw Sparky in the car….and that was all. He soon lost everything and today is still living in temporary housing. Are you prepared? Last year Laura Cox, Shield Healthcare’s Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist, advocated having enough supplies for 3 months. I followed her advice and now have a larger cabinet to hold them all! This excellent article, Disaster Preparedness: Surviving a Firestorm with an Ostomy, posted on the UOAA website, was prepared by an advocacy nurse that also fled the night of the fires. In addition to her harrowing story, she offers advice and suggestions, before, during and after a disaster.  Good advice for us all.

Speaking of Charles…..

Charles Sloan and Julie Paul will be teaching a class, “Ostomies 101: Assessment and Nursing Interventions”, for the nursing staff at LUH on June 19, 4-7 pm in the Gauguin Room. This is a comprehensive talk that will include topics such as, ostomy assessment and care, ostomy pouching systems, complications and nursing interventions, and peristomal skin care. Charles has extended an invitation for our support group to attend this talk, which should have a lot of interesting and topical information for all of us.

No More Secrets

I have family in Sweden, and visited with them before my ostomy surgery in 2016. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of information they had to share with me and the openness they had in wanting to talk about the surgery and how it would impact my life. They were much more prepared than I was! The Swedish health system has promoted efforts to normalize ostomy surgeries and remove stigmas and misconceptions.
Ananda Badet has shared with us the documentary “No More Secrets“. Sadly, not all countries are as progressive as Sweden, and filmmaker Anisha Vijayan is trying to open eyes in India. According to Anisha, India has an estimated 300,000 ostomates, with very little awareness within the country.  She has produced this small film to start a conversation and break the stigma of ostomies in India. It’s a simple film with a powerful message for those that may feel embarrassed or ashamed.