Making the Decision: Ostomy Surgery

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
07/06/18  2:20 PM PST
Ostomy Surgery

This article about how ostomates decided on ostomy surgery is one in a series that make up the transcript of our OstomyLife Roundtable Discussion Panel at the WOCN Annual Conference 2018. Our panel was moderated by Laura Cox, Shield HealthCare’s Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist and the guests were: Kelsey Scarborough, OstomyLife’s Co-moderator; Eric Polsinelli, of Vegan Ostomy; and Brian Greenberg, of The Intense Intestines Foundation You can read more about their panel at the WOCN Conference in Eric’s article about the event.

Laura: All right. So thank you guys so much for joining us. The first question I have is that the decision to undergo ostomy can be a difficult decision, filled with many fears. So what support particularly from healthcare professionals did you have during this time and how did it impact you making the decision to undergo ostomy surgery?

Eric: So my hospital’s actually really good so they provided a stoma nurse and I was able to communicate with her before my surgery, during the time that I was in the hospital and also in follow-ups. But I also had home care, and I had access to an enterostomal (ET) nurse through the home care. I should mention that I’m from Canada, so that might change things a little bit as far as, you know, how I received care and how that worked, but I did have access to a stoma nurse and I utilized that service. But you know, I was also able to communicate to my family physician if I needed referrals, let’s say to a dermatologist and other things, so it was quite easy for me to do, and that really helped me along I think in the first little bits because I didn’t know much about ostomies and how to care for one, so it was really great to have access to those services.

Brian: I’d agree with Eric. My biggest thing when I got my ostomy is I’m a very active person: I climb, I do a lot of sports, and at that time I was like well, how am I going to put on a climbing harness when I have an ostomy? And I was introduced to a great ostomy nurse who specialized in stoma placement, everything, and she marked me up and everything before my surgery, so the surgeon knew exactly where everything would be ideally for my harness and everything else I wanted to do. So that was the best experience I had because it put my mind at ease to say, all right, I’ll still be able to do the activities I love, I’ll still be able to take part in these things without any concern and worry, and it really helped me out just entering the surgery with confidence.

Kelsey: I definitely agree with both of you and I too had a home health nurse who was beyond helpful. There’s nothing like having somebody there for you when you do get home from the hospital, ‘cause that’s the scariest part.

Laura: For me, I was very sick with ulcerative colitis, and it was actually a gastroenterologist that said to me, we are no longer trying to preserve your colon, that’s gone. We’re trying to now preserve your way of life, and to live with an ileostomy will allow you to have your life back and that had been really helpful and the first time that I had heard, we’re not trying to save your colon anymore; we’re trying to just make sure that you are healthy and young and can do what you want to do with your life.

Serving Medicare Ostomates Nationwide
Now that summer is here, may I swim in a pool? If so, will my ostomy bag be affected by chlorine in the water?
Hi! You may swim in a pool!
If your ostomy flange has a waterproof barrier you can go in the pool without any additional products. If your ostomy flange does not have a waterproof barrier...

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