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


  1. am ok with seafood no pain at all wish i could eat it all the time but its the price. hope ur ok

  2. Hi Paul! Found you through Vegan Ostomy!

    It's so much fun to start following your blog and read about your adventures. My husband Ryan is an awesome guy and has an ileostomy. We are always on the look out for active living bloggers to keep inspiring us! We will certain learn from our experiences and amazing trip. Ryan is a scuba diver but has yet to try it so far with his ostomy. I think your scuba diving story will inspire him and keep him on the look out for salt water leaks.

    Glad to have found your site!

    Come visit us at

  3. HI Paul! Found you throgh Vegan Ostomy!

    Ryan, my awesome husband, has an ileostomy and we are always on the lookout for active bloggers/ostomates. Your vacation is such an inspiration to us! He is a scuba diver so we will keep in mind the things you learned through snorkeling.

    So glad to have found you and to start following your journey

    Ryan & Carly @

  4. Hi, read your blog a lot over the winter while I was undergoing treatment for colorectal cancer. I had an ileostomy for eight months. My reversal (takedown) surgery was earlier this month, and things seem to be going well, but I just wanted to thank you for the positive example. It really helped me. I'll never forget my time as an ostomate, and especially how fortunate we are to have access to these life-saving surgeries and treatments.