Saturday, August 2, 2014

Mountains to Climb - Great ComeBacks

Following is the keynote speech, given at the 
Ostomy Canada convention in St Johns Newfoundland on  01-Aug-2014 
while accepting the 
Renaissance Great ComeBacks Award 
as National Ambassador for Canada

Now Available on YouTube

Introduction was by Patrick Corriveau of Convatec...

The Convatec Renaissance Great Comebacks Award is designed to recognize ostomates who:
have made significant achievements in his/her life following their ostomy surgery
and made a meaningful contribution to the community or to others around them 
and contributed to eliminating prejudicial misconceptions relating to people with ostomies.

Paul Riome is our Western Regional Recipient and also our National Ambassador
for the 2012 Renaissance Great Comebacks Awards.

Paul has lived and shared an active lifestyle with an ostomy. 
He shows us by doing … that we can live active and healthy lives with our ostomies. 

Paul and his ostomy puppet Hogus have climbed mountains near Mount Everest in Nepal. 
With his website he shares these adventures,
including many personal and graphic ‘ostomates-only’ experiences.
These stories attracted 140,000 readers from 146 countries.
CBC Radio and TV, and The National Post all carried positive messages to inform and influence both ostomates and non-ostomates across Canada.

Now here’s Paul with a brief slideshow titled “Mountains to Climb”.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ostomy Canada - Sharing Stories Giving Hope

Reprinted with permission of the Editor of Ostomy Canada
Volume 22, Number 1 Summer 2014 

We each have our own 'mountains to climb',
and the analogy prevailed in our ostomy community.

These mountains are the challenging personal barriers
that we must break through, to live a better life. 

They are difficult because 
we must overcome our own fears and limitations, 
adapt to uncomfortable circumstances, 
and find an inner-strength we didn’t know we had. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bahamas Blunders

Spending 18 days in Florida and the Bahamas was a great opportunity to get away from the cold, experience new things, and learn from ostomy-related blunders.

While in Florida, we watched 4 professional sports.

Washington Capitals vs Florida Panthers [Professional Hockey].  Watched Braden Holtby, Mike Green, and Martin Erat ... we had seen them many times when they played their Junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades 

The Honda Classic [Professional Golf].  Stood within 30 feet of Tiger Woods for 4 holes ... he bogied all 4 of them :(  

Jai Alai.  Promoted as 'the fastest sport in the world because of the balls'.  The ball can travel at 302 km/h (188 mph).

New York Mets [Professional Baseball]
In the Spring Training Camp Season, we watched the Mets play Miami Marlins, Houston Astros, and Atlanta Braves.

While in Florida, we golfed, fished, and roller-bladed 50 miles.
Must be a lot of Canadians in Florida, with so many people joking ... 
"You boys out looking for a hockey game, eh?"

Then we boarded the Princess Ruby for a cruise to the Bahamas 
with stops at the ports of Nassau, Grande Turks, and Princess Cays.

... And the Bahamas Blunders, with ostomy lessons learned

Cruises are well-known for the food. Unlimited quantities, available 24x7, and with a wide variety from 9 separate kitchens and resaurants. Growing up on the midwestern prairies, means seafood is a novelty to me.  I had read that seafood can cause havoc for ostomates, but didn't know if that applied to me.  A buffet meal of exclusively seafoods - shrimp, lobster, scallops, calamari, oysters, mussels, crabs, and salmon convinced me that it did!  
On subsequent days, moderate servings of seafood were  a comfortable luxury.

Snorkeling in the aqua-blue waters of the Bahamas.  
I used Sure Seal Rings by Active Lifestyle Products to protect the flange edges and prevent the flange from pealing while swimming in the salt water. This worked well, and I snorkeled 3 days without having to change the flange.  But by the 3rd night, I could feel the stinging-burn, and quickly discovered that salt water had seeped around the edges, and remained to damage my skin. I took a long shower then inspected the skin damage. A patch of skin was ulcerated and oozing, and rather uncomfortable. Before placing a new flange, I decided to dry the skin the best I could ... in a warm breeze, in the sun, in the privacy of our deck. Stoma cooperated, and the treatment reasonably dried the ulcerated skin.  
Applying a new flange over the ulcerated skin would prevent air from getting to it, and would slow the healing process. And later removing that flange would peel the sensitive new skin. So I cut a large notch from the flange, and applied it so the ulcerated skin was left exposed.

By that evening, I realized I had a sunburn on my chest.  And a more serious sunburn on that seldom-exposed skin under the flange. I didn't experience any damage to the stoma, although there are no pain-receptors on a stoma, and it naturally repairs quickly. The sunburned skin under the flange was uncomfortable for a few days ... the skin-redness was conspicuous for the next 3 flange changes.

I made a few blunders in the Bahamas
My lessons were hard-earned, but easily learned...

Change flange after swimming in salt-water
Avoid sun-tanning the stoma-area skin
Eat seafood in moderation

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stop Hurting Yourself

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.