Visiting Reno with an Ostomy! (w/ video)

Visiting reno header

Oct 2018 – I had the pleasure of visiting Reno, Nevada (USA) to give a presentation about ostomies and to explore the surrounding areas.

Video (Recommended)

My trip to Reno (with an ostomy!)
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Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018

My trip began at 5 am as I headed off to the airport to catch an 8 am flight out to San Francisco.

As with other trips that start off this early, I stopped eating early the previous day to allow my ostomy to be less active. It’s a strategy that works for me, although I don’t generally recommend it to everyone.

Like my previous trips, I decided to only travel with a backpack and my carry-on bag, which is more than enough for a short trip. I kept a set of supplies in my backpack and one in my carry-on bag.

I do travel with ostomy scissors (affiliate link), which have never been a problem with airport security, and my liquid pouch deodorant was kept in the same bag as my other liquids.

I did get stopped and my bags were searched because of something on the scanner – it was apparently my nail clippers (which really weren’t even needed) that drew suspicion.

Since my first stop (for a layover) would be in San Franciso, I made sure that I selected a window seat well ahead of time during the weeks/months leading up to the flight. This flight would be approx. 5.5 hours and I didn’t want to miss a thing!

Take the Window seat
Take the Window seat

Window seats are pretty cool and I do recommend them when flying – however, it only works if your stoma isn’t very active and you don’t have to get up out of your seat too often. Even then, the views may be worth it ;)

My layover in San Francisco was only a few hours, and the transition to get to my next flight was very easy and trouble-free.

The San Francisco airport has a cool “History of the radio” exhibit, which was basically like walking through a mini museum! Many airports have something cool about them, and this was a treat!

Flying from San Francisco to Reno was short – only about an hour long – but I got to see some of California and Nevada’s mountains! I even saw Lake Tahoe from the sky! Awesome!!

When I arrived at the Reno airport, I was picked up by Jennifer Lee – an ostomy nurse and the President of the Reno Ostomy Association – she was the one who set this entire trip in motion beginning nearly a year prior! What an amazing lady!

Jen took me on a mini-tour of Reno before I checked into my hotel (the Whitney Peak hotel) before we headed to dinner.

For dinner, we ate at a restaurant connected to the hotel and we were joined by Sue Durst and Marty Creel, two ladies I would be on a panel with on Friday.

It was so fun getting to know these ladies, and dinner was pretty nice too :)

After dinner, I headed to my hotel room to relax before calling it a night.

Thursday, Oct 25, 2018

Thursday started off nice and early! The sunrise was nice to see, although my attempt to catch a time-lapse would fail this morning.

Jen and I went on a more expansive tour of Reno the entire morning.

The mountains and rocks (everywhere!) were so fun to see, but it was a family of deer that really caught us by surprise!

Deer just being deer

After some more driving, we went for a nice hike along the Tom Cooke Trail.

At that elevation (over 3000 feet), I could really feel the difference in oxygen levels, so I had to take it easy until my body adjusted.

Panorama of Tom Cooke Trail
Panorama of Tom Cooke Trail

The view along the trails was incredible, and I’m so glad we had the chance to do this. Being someone who loves to hike, I was spoiled by the landscape they have in Nevada!

Lunch was at the Great Full Gardens Cafe and Eatery. This place had many plant-based meals and nearly everything else on the menu could be made vegan if requested.

The weather was nice enough to eat outside, so that’s what we did!

Our next stop was Bartley Ranch Regional Park for more views and another short hike :)

Selfie at Barley Ranch
Selfie at Barley Ranch

As we walked, we saw some old farm equipment on display. It was like a mini museum outdoors! How cool is that?!

I did head back to my hotel to shower and change my appliance ahead of my presentation, but ran into a snag!

Typically, I will bring a few moldable wafers with me in case I don’t have access to scissors but need to do an emergency appliance change. This isn’t usually an issue, however, it turns out that all I brought on this trip were moldable wafers!

The problem is that the Hollister moldable ones I brought don’t last very long on me before they break down (we’re talking less than 24h), so I knew I would be in trouble if we continued with hikes and full days.

I quickly messaged Jen to ask if she might have some samples of the wafer I usually wear – and she did! So I was able to get my wafer to put on later that evening.

FYI: by the time I changed my appliance, mere hours after putting it on, I could see the moldable wafer breaking down and exposing skin! Glad I had Jen!

Me giving a presentation
Me giving a presentation

My presentation went well and over 30 people attended! The audience was a mix of patients, their family, stoma nurses, a pharmacist, and even a colorectal surgeon! I loved it!

Note: You can watch my presentation beginning with part one HERE.

After the presentation, I had a chance to speak with people one-on-one. I felt so blessed.

By this time, I was tired and ended up having dinner in my hotel room before going to bed.

Reno at night
Reno at night

Friday, October 26, 2018

Today would be an adventure!

We set out to drive around Lake Tahoe and make several stops along the way.

Some of the places we stopped at included Incline Village, Burnt Cedar Park, Sand Harbor, and we stopped for a nice hike, too!

Then it happened… we were in California!

I’ve never been to Cali, and now I was able to walk around on Californian soil! What a day!

We ate lunch at a place called Freshies, which had some amazing vegan options, before continuing on our drive.

Then we stopped at Emerald Bay. What a sight!!

Selfie at Emerald Bay
Selfie at Emerald Bay

So much beauty in an incredible place – what more could I ask for?!

We were running short on time, so it was a quick stop in Tahoe City to see a damn that actually feeds water from Lake Tahoe to Reno.

One more quick stop back at my hotel and it was time to head off to the panel I would be part of.

Panel group
Panel group

As I mentioned earlier, I was joined by Sue and Marty and we spoke to a small group of fewer than 20 people about our experiences. My part including showing off some ostomy accessories and even doing a demo of how gelling products work. It was a great time!

Dinner was at the Homegrown Gastropub, and I ended up getting a small salad and their “Vegan Herbivore” pizza! (sorry, I didn’t get photos of the pizza, but trust me – it was amazing!).

After that, we called it quits and I headed back to my hotel for more Forensic Files and snacks :)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

This would be a short day in Reno as my flight would leave for Denver at around 1:30 pm.

My day started early enough to nail that sunrise time-lapse (watch the video at the top of this article if you want to see it!)

Jen and I went back to the Great Full Gardens and met with Nichole, a CWOCN, to talk more about ostomies ;)

Frehies sign
Frehies sign

After breakfast, Jen dropped me off at the Reno-Tahoe airport and we said our goodbyes.

I am so grateful to have been able to meet Jen and for the hard work that she put into getting me to Reno.

Jen and I saying goodbye
Jen and I saying goodbye

My layover would be in Denver, then I took a rather empty plane back to Toronto. I was home just before midnight that day.

Empty plane
Empty planes make bathroom access a breeze!

Special Thanks

Of course, a big thanks goes out to Jennifer Lee, but I also wanted to thank the sponsors, who graciously provided funding for the presentation, flight, and accommodations.

  • Coloplast
  • ConvaTec
  • Hollister
  • Pacific Coast Region of the WOCN Society
  • The Gene Galindo Memorial Fund


Some photos from the trip.

16 thoughts on “Visiting Reno with an Ostomy! (w/ video)”

  1. @mrs-shoob  keep in mind you have had your colostomy for a year, you should understand its routine pretty good now.    also keep in mind that the suggestions given are more related to ilieostomies more than colostomies.   more than likely, a window seat is fine for you if the time matches when your colostomy is typical dormant.  do you use a closed end bag or drainable? drainable best for travelling, easy & quick to empty and go.
    have you had discomfort with seat belts in the past?  seat belts and my colostomy have never had the slightest problem.     I’ve taken some good falls on cross country skis, over 15miles an hour falling flat on my stomach, I’d be concerned with a rigid stoma protector with that large impact.     as far as ski poles, i’d be far more worried about a pole in the face compared to a pole to the stoma.   we can’t be too fearful of unlikely events.

  2. Posted by: @mrs-shoob

    Didn’t know that Cliff bars were vegan! You mentioned that you got stopped at security…..were they ok about your scissors?

    Yes! I think all Cliff bars are vegan, although, the price of them has gone up by 2-3x in the last few years :(

    As for scissors, I always have my Coloplast curved scissors (Amazon link) which have a blunt-ended short blade, and it’s not an issue. Fun fact, I’ve used those scissors for nine years now… still works like the day I got them!


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