Oct 2018 – I had the pleasure of visiting Reno, Nevada (USA) to give a presentation about ostomies and to explore the surrounding areas.
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, 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!
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!
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.
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 :)
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!
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!
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.
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!!
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.
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 ;)
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.
My layover would be in Denver, then I took a rather empty plane back to Toronto. I was home just before midnight that day.
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.
- Pacific Coast Region of the WOCN Society
- The Gene Galindo Memorial Fund
Some photos from the trip.
I do have a 360-degree panorama album on Google Photos HERE.