I’m going on a trip! WCET 2016

wcet 2016 header

The World Council of Enterostomal Therapists (WCET) will be hosting their international conference in Cape Town, South Africa this March 13-16th.  

The conference will attract stoma nurses, doctors, ostomy supply manufacturers – oh, and did I mention I’ll be speaking there?

Yup!! I was fortunate enough to have received an invitation from the amazing people at B. Bruan Medical Inc. (a Platinum Sponsor for the event) to speak as a patient about my experience with having an ostomy. The presentation I’ll be giving will focus on the time before, during, and after my surgery, and I hope to share the importance of having a supportive medical team from a patient’s perspective.

I’m really looking forward to connecting with the nurses who’ll be helping ostomy patients directly, and I’m sure I’ll learn a thing or two about how they approach patient care.

In addition to that, I’ll be stopping by the booths of some of my favorite ostomy supply manufacturers to see what they’ve got going on! As an “ostomy supply nerd”, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this!

I’d like to point out that this is not only my first trip as an ostomate, but I haven’t been on a plane since I was a teenager – over 20 years ago! Of course, I welcome this opportunity so I can learn and share my experience about traveling as an ostomate (yes, I’ll have articles and videos about it!).

Since having my ostomy, I’ve been doing things that I would never have dreamed of doing 5 or 10 years ago, and I truly am grateful for all that it’s given me.

Before I go, I’d love to know what travel tips you have to share.

Disclosure: While my flight and accommodations are being covered by B. Braun Medical, I’ve received no other compensation for attending, nor am I expected to promote any brand or product while I’m there. This opportunity is specifically about sharing my experience as an ostomate.

8 thoughts on “I’m going on a trip! WCET 2016”

  1. Practical advice for the airplane bathroom: They “flush” based on vacuum/air pressure – no water. I’ve found it to be a good idea to basically line the bowl with toilet paper as this helps “flush” the contents from the bowl. Otherwise you might be stuck flushing a few times or even trying to clean the bowl somewhat (no thank you).

  2. Fantastic, Eric! This is not ostomate related, because I flew to SA prior to having my ileostomy. But, from the US, at least, it’s a hellish flight!! We visited family in Preoria. I know that you will need to walk the aisles and “pump” your feet, to help prevent clotting. If you will be fortunate enough to have a reclining bed seat, it would be fantastic! On our trip, we had the most narrow and hard seats imaginable. We flew on SAA, stopping in Sengal to re-fuel, and then another 8 hours to get to Johannesburg. Flying on SAA, we could have anything to eat or drink at any time. I can’t recall the bathrooms.

    Cape Town, as ALL of South Africa, is beautiful! I can’t wait to hear about it!!!

    • Hey Carol!

      My flight should be less hellish! I land in Amsterdam for a 3 hour layover, then head straight to Cape Town. I know it’ll be challenging sitting for so long, but I’m sure the excitement of flying will get me through =)

      Looking forward to sharing the experience!


  3. Congratulations Eric,
    What an honor and how wonderfully exciting! You will be an amazing spokesperson for us all. I love your posts and am so glad I stumbled upon your site many months ago.
    I do have some advice from personal experience re flying with an illeostomy. I would 100% recommend that you use some form of gel packs in your pouch when flying. I use Illesorb and find that they work great fo me. I haven’t tried any other brand because these work so well. I usually put around 6 in a small plastic zip bag. You might want to have 2 of these handy. It makes it easier in the bathroom the less fumbling you have to do. I have never had trouble when going through security or customs but just in case I carry a prescription from my doctor stating I have an illeostomy.
    I always prebook my seats (have to pay extra) because I want an aisle seat. Hmmm I wonder if I called the airlines, would I be able to not have to pay because of my illeostomy. Don’t know why I have never thought of that before! Maybe you can Eric and post the results. LOL!
    Myself, I don’t like to be close to the bathroom for two reasons: 1) there can be a lineup and I don’t like people hovering over me; 2) I need to stretch and walk as my flights are usually long so being further away works good for me. Everyone has their own comfort zone.
    The other thing I would recommend is using M9 drop deodorizer. It it by far the best odor control product that I have ever used (and I have tried many of the ones you have blogged about).
    These comments are strictly from my personal experience. The Illesorb packet (I use one each ‘visit’), have lessened the number of times and the urgency level of my trips to the bathroom and the M9 gives me peace of mind knowing that there is no odor when I leave the ‘stall’. LOL
    Oh one more thing – I find that taking Metamucil capsules help ( I find they make the output a little less runny). As well as minimal eating while flying and choosing foods that you have learned from experience that give you a more ‘solid’ output.
    Again, these comments are strictly from my own experience flying. I can’t believe I have typed so much!!! All the best Eric,
    Regards, Judy
    PS. I have had my illeostomy for approximately 32 years.

    • Thank you so much, Judy!

      I actually have some gelling sachets packed “just in case”, but I’m glad you’ve found them to help. I already have my seats assigned, but I can also change them (if there are free ones available). Right now, because I have no experience with flying, I’m trying a few positions out – I was really hoping for a window seat, but I haven’t been able to get one.

      That may not be such a bad thing since a window would mean disturbing two people if I need to get up to use the bathroom.

      My output is usually thick for an ileostomy, but it’ll be interesting to see how it changes while flying and while eating foods I’m not accustomed to. I have packed some Imodium just in case!

      Take care!


  4. I am so HAPPY for you and for us! You advocate and fight for us by putting your body on the line through experimentation and give us the benefits of your insight. I hope that you enjoy your trip and more importantly that the people who listen to you can have more insight in their professional practice about what it means to serve people with our health challenges. Speak your truth to power. You asked any travel advice—When I travel, I do a lot of the same things that you advocate– carrying a carry-on kit with supplies (extra pair of pants, underwear, bidet bottle flanges, bags, etc) plus double because anything can happen while traveling and at least you’re covered should you have to stay in an airport due to a political or natural disaster. Also, you may want to ask to sit next to a bathroom aisle. Our challenges require hving that convenience and you should request to have your airplane seat near a bathroom on the plane so you navigate that more easily. You are also traveling for at last 17 hours. I would advise that you put deoderizer in your bag (tic tacs or drops) and also bring Poo-Pourri to spray in the toilet, so that in event the deodorizer doesn’t work in your ostomy bag, you’re able to use that to mitigate any smells in the toilet. Also, sometimes the pressure of the plane can cause the bag to balloon, so if you’re wearing a bag that doesn’t have vents, be prepared to address that possibility. Have a safe and wonderful trip!


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