Wow, has a year gone by already?? This year’s GUTSY Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is right around the corner, and I’m grateful to be able to take part this year!
I’ve been a fan of the Trusted Therapies site after meeting both Co-Founders, Darren Bounds and Dr. Brian Bressler, at the IBD Hall of Fame event in Toronto. The information they provide about Inflammatory Bowel Disease is accurate and up-to-date. I love what they’ve been doing, and they get bonus points for being Canadian!
How do you cope when you’re stuck with a chronic illness or life-changing surgery? For me, it’s got to be humor; not just chuckling at random jokes, but deliberately making it a point to crack jokes or create memes about IBD or my ostomy. Why?
As the end of 2014 arrives, I look back at the year in amazement of all the wonderfully positive IBD and Ostomy awareness efforts I’ve been able to both witness and take part in; while I’m not back to perfect health yet, I’ve been so grateful to have had relief from years worth of illness.
We’ve all heard about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), but have you heard of Posttraumatic Growth? Many of us with IBD or an ostomy have experienced this, even if we aren’t familiar with the term. It happens when a life-changing event causes a positive change in someone’s life. More specifically, it’s when something that would be considered traumatic happens in our lives, and our perspective on life changes for the better: We grow as people.
October 4th, 2014 marks this year’s “World Ostomy Day”. It’s a day that many ostomy associations and advocates use to promote greater awareness for ostomates around the world. I don’t typically tend to put extra emphasis on “special days”, since living with an ostomy and advocating for other ostomates is something I do every waking hour, but for this year’s World Ostomy Day, I’d like to encourage ostomates to celebrate life, and not be slowed down because of an ostomy.
I was finally able to make it to the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival this year. It’s been running for the past 30 years, so I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I haven’t been there before. I can partially blame Crohn’s disease for at least five of those year though, and I have my ostomy to thank for being able to make it this year.
I frequent a lot of social media sites and forums related to IBD and ostomy support, and one of the most devastating things to read is that someone is feeling alone with their illness or new ostomy. I certainly felt that way between the time I learned that I’d be getting an ileostomy to the time I actually had the surgery, but I was able to find enough online support to make me feel comfortable with my new stoma. Unfortunately, many people aren’t that lucky and they spend months or years feeling isolated and ignored by their family, friends and coworkers. Some people HATE their stoma and have nobody who understands their situation to talk to.
I hope to change that by offering a free, online video-based support group for ostomates. You do not have to be vegan to join, and the goal isn’t to try and convert anyone.
August 21, 2014: It’s hard to believe that a year ago today I was at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto having my colon removed and getting it replaced with an ileostomy.