Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stop Hurting Yourself

#2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.

#3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.

#4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.

#5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.

#6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
Max Rossi / Reuters
Max Rossi / Reuters

#7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.

#8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.  Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.

#9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.

#10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.

#11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront.  Making progress involves risk.  Period!  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.

#12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.

#13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.

#14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.

#15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.

#16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”Stuface
#17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past.  You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.

#18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.

#19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.

#20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.

#21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.

#22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.

#23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.

#24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.

#25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.

#26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.

#27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out.  But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.

#28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.

#29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.

#30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.
This is such a beautiful list, and we all are guilty of some of these. The best thing to do is just remember each day to appreciate and reflect a bit, even if it's only a few minutes. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

OstoSolutions Ostomy Pouch Disposal Seal

For outdoors or public disposal of ostomy bags. 

The OstoSolutions Ostomy Pouch Disposal Seal is an odor-control product that seals closed-end and drainable ostomy pouches. It is a lightweight seal, made of recycled plastic, that is snapped into the coupling ring opening of your ostomy pouch. So now we can dispose of the used pouch in a 100% odor-proof manner, or store it odor-free for disposal at a more appropriate time and place.

Here's what it does for ostomates

Discretion: Odor-proof means better concealment of a pouch change.
Simplicity: Ostomy pouch change in less than 20 seconds. Less time means less odor.
Flexibility: Ostomy pouch changes in any private setting, standing or sitting, without the need for a toilet.

Dominic Paratore of OstoSolutions contacted me and asked if I would try his product and give real-life feedback. I am always looking for better ways of doing things, so said yes.  
[I sometimes get free-trail products, but never take money for testimonials]

I was concerned about the durability of OstoSolutions Seals under harsh conditions, so I used and tested it in a variety of circumstances over the past several months. 

Freezing.  It is a common occurance for me to change bags in the cold (like as low as -40degrees), then carry the used bag all day, with the contents frozen solid.  I wouldn't be happy if the OstoSolutions Seal got brittle and cracked when frozen.  So I did an experiment in our freezer and outside at -40degrees. The OstoSolutions were bent, twisted, and pounded without breaking or cracking or disconnecting.  So I was then confident they would be hardy enough for my cold-weather situations.

Pressurizing.  Hiking and backpacking in sub-tropical environments means I need to carry a used bag all day in my backpack.  As the heat starts the fermentation process, the gasses expand.  I know that ziplock seals fail under these circumstances, with the smell permeating my backpack.  I had to know if OstoSolutions Seals would survive this heat and pressure.  For my experiment I filled the bag with boiling water and added an effervescent Nuun tablet, covered the filter-vents, then snapped on an OstoSolutions Seal.   I let it expand until the filter-vent cover failed ... but the OstoSolutions seal held.  

Heat. After the pressurizing test I was very confident the OstoSolutions seal would handle my rough real-life treatment.  But I did want an extreme-heat test.  So I set up a bag filled with water, covered the filter-vents, then snapped on an OstoSolutions Seal. Then I microwaved it until the the filter-vent failed, the water drained out, and the interior lining of the bag shrivelled and failed.  But the OstoSolutions Seal remained fully intact and attached to the coupling ring.

With the OstoSolutions Seals surviving these extreme circumstances 
I was confident they would work in my rough outdoors circumstances. 
And here is my real-life experience

Hunting.  I am out in the bush from sunrise to sunset, and of course there are no toilet facilities. And it's very cold so I don't want to expose much skin for very long.  I can do a bag-change with OstoSolutions Seal in 20 seconds, standing up.  Depending where I am, the 'package' is left in the truck-box or my backpack and freezes quickly.  The package is dropped in the gargage can at home.

Hockey.  Most skaters want to 'skate on an empty stomach'.  I also want to 'skate with an empty bag', so I change bags in a public washroom just before each game.   Previously, I was conscious of the lingering smells when leaving a used bag in a ziplock or newspaper sleeve in the washroom garbage can. Now I leave a used bag with an OstoSolutions Seal and there is no residual smell.

Hiking & Backpacking.  Never are there convenient toilets, and it would be environmentally damaging to discard used bags near a trail.  So I would carry used bags inside ziplocks in my backpack and discard properly later.  I didn't like the smell in my backpack as it permeated my clothes, sleeping bag, and food. I was particularly conscious of the smells when carrying shared food with a group. Never had a spill inside my backpack, but often thought how inconvenient that would be.  The OstoSolutions Seal gave me much more confidence than a ziplock or newspaper sleeve.

Friends & Family Houses.  I hate leaving a stink in someone else's house.  I reduce that by minimizing exposure - using an OstoSolutions Seal is faster and more effective than a ziploc or newspaper sleeve.  I still make a point of discarding in the exterior garbage, rather than in the bathroom garbage.

I like the fast, discreet and odor-proof advantage of OstoSolutions Ostomy Pouch Disposal Seals.  I will continue using them for outdoor adventures at any temperature.

Learn more at OstoSolutions.
Or read another real-life experience post at Ostomy Outdoors.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Many of us have survived diseases of Cancer, Crohn's, Colitis and more.
Many of us have survived and recovered from related surgeries.

We develop a personal survival-mode which draws on our physical, mental, and spiritual strengths.
Survival-mode is primal and inherent to humans. 
We all have it, but we don't know how we will adapt until we are in a real situation.

Not in the same league as Cancer-Resection-Colostomy, 
but here's an adventure story of survival during 8 days with -44 degree COLD.

We have a remote cabin in Northern Canada.  It's a 4 hour drive from our home, then a 1 hour snowmobile ride across a lake.  My brother and I travel together with 2 snowmobiles.  Companionship is good, and having 2 people and 2 snowmobiles adds a safety factor.

On arrival, temperature inside the cabin was
the same as outside the cabin. COLD.
Frost showed on every nail.  
Frost on the windows painted amazing patterns.

Some snow shoveling is required,
 but I left the out-house trail for my brother to shovel,
as I have no use for the outhouse anymore.

When the temperature plummetted overnight to -40degrees, neither snowmobile would start.
We assumed our truck, 28kms away, would not start either.  
The weather forcast was for -44degrees for several days,
then a single day of balmy -25degrees,
then dropping to -40 for the following week.
With these temperatures, a 25km wind, and snowmobiling at a cautious 25km per hour ... 
The wind-chill was
      -81 degrees F 
or -63 degrees C 

In this weather, flesh freezes in minutes.  Lungs and nostrels are damaged by breathing the cold air. I can personally attest to this, as I froze a patch on my face, turning the skin white from no blood circulating.  As each skin-cell froze, the cell-walls expanded and burst.  My face swelled, and my skin oozed for 3 days.  The following week, a large patch of skin was shed.  I consider myself fortunate, as progressive freezing and lowering of core body temperature can be fatal.

It would be dangerous or deadly to travel in this weather.  We prudently changed our plan to stay an extra 3 days until the weather warmed.

We would be comfortable and safe in our cabin.
We burned a lot of firewood, but kept warm.
We stretched 5 days of food to make it last 8.
It was cold outside.  Our time outside was brief.

On the night of Day-8 the temperature hung at -44degrees, but the forcast was for -25 during the day.  This was our escape day. We needed to heat the snowmobiles so they would start. We would have to be adaptable and use what we had available. So we built a fire and made a heat-duct from a piece of metal-roofing. We covered the snowmobiles with some insulation and old carpet.  We enclosed the snowmobiles with a tarp to keep the heat in and the wind out.  It wasn't pretty, but it worked!

With snowmobiles running, we could travel the 28kms back to the truck.  It was highly unlikely that the truck would start, and we had no way of plugging in the truck's block heater.  With some creative thinking, we decided to haul the generator with the snowmobiles, so we could generate our own power to plug in the truck.

Fortunately all went well. We were phyisically and mentally comfortable in our situation, and were pleased with a valid excuse to extend our trip!
Meanwhile, family at home 
with less adaptability
and lower tolerance to cold, 
worried as if we were in survival mode. 

I wish there were more pictures, 
but it was just too hard on hands and camera 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ate my Tag : Changed my Bag

 Deer hunting in Northern Canada offers challenges: 
Finding deer, keeping warm, and changing an ostomy bag.

Damn Cold
I hunted 3 full days,

before sunrise to after sunset,

with temperatures of -29C
                              or -39C with the wind chill. 

That's -20F, or -38F with the wind chill.

My blind is well camoflaged, with narrow viewing windows. 

The secretary chair is it's only comfort. 

Freezing temperatures are OK when walking, but when sitting still all day long, it's VERY cold.

wore layers of top-quality clothes of merino wool, primaloft, and goose-down.
But eventally my body chilled

With lots of idle time to think, I found it interesting to feel the heat leave my feet, then my hands, then my legs, then arms.  When my core started cooling, it was time to climb down from the blind and do some jumping-jacks to get the circulation working and to generate body-heat.

Changed my Bag
The many layers of warm clothes added difficulties to changing my ostomy bag.

To get to my bag, I would have to unzip 3 layers of pants.  And to be able to see what I was doing, I would also have to unzip 3 layers of coats.  This is difficult to do with cold fingers.  And it's also a serious risk to an already chilled body core.

I did this operation once, but was determined to avoid doing it again.
Sorry for no picture, but my fingers were too cold to use the camera :)

So I listened to my body, to remind myself of what most ostomates know ...

  • 80% of stool volume happens within 2 hours of waking.  So I got up earlier, and changed my bag before getting dressed for warmth.
  • reduced fluid consumption, trading minor dehydration for reduced pass-through
  • avoided eating high-roughage foods that create higher-volume output (vegetables & breads)
  • avoided eating gassy foods (onions, broccholi, seafood)
With these adjustments, I was able to avoid future bag changes during those nasty cold days.

Ate my Tag
Over the season I saw hundreds of deer, and enjoyed the thrill of being close to them without them even knowing I was there. 

I had 2 licenses for MuleDeer does, but didn't shoot. 

Hence the expression 'I Ate my Tag' or 'Ate tag soup'.

With an automatic trail-camera, I captured 1000s of pictures of deer. Here are a few of my favourites.

I was looking for a big buck and not willing to shoot any deer unless it was one of the top 3 that I saw from the trail-camera.  Of course I saw way more deer from the trail-camera which is there 24x7, than I did actually sitting during a few days.  Generally the big boys only show up at night, so I was patiently hunting deer that I had never seen, yet knew they were in the area.

On my last hunt-day, I took #3. 
I know that not everyone has the same appreciation for hunting
and I respect their opinions. 
But for me, it's a way of life and 2 families will enjoy venison this winter.