Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Where do you go for Stoma Gear?

We are seeing some wild things happen in the Economy as of 2021.  Easter is about here and a massive correction just happened.  Last year when the economy went dead and riots took place things got a bit scary in the United States.  It has caused shipping in some cases to stop and stores to be luted and burned down in other areas of the country.  Really it has made me think that the supply chain of the United States is simply not perfect and can fail.  In many aspects, it has failed this year and lots of regular products have been baren on shelves for months.  That goes for a lot of different areas.  When you have a medical condition as well it makes you worry a bit.  Even though I only have a stoma, it requires a lot of extra gear and ostomy supplies to keep my life working well.  The fact is that I require a shipment of supplies and use a finite amount of gear every single month to keep my body working well and my health.  I am not a huge fan of being stuck without gear for my stoma.  In fact, I started to think about what would happen if those riots happened in my city and shipping stopped.

It brings to mind a scary thought and a reality check.  Do I actually have enough gear to survive that or even a natural disaster?  I have always thought that when a natural disaster hits that most people should have a few days of supplies to make sure they can get through power outages or floods in order to get to safety.  Or in some cases to wait for things to come back, but we have seen in those cases that people have been stranded for up to a week or more before help came.  In some cases, people were on rooftops for weeks trying to get away from floods.  Now I am comparing my situation to this because what if I am not able to get supplies for a month or more because of the economy or a supply chain break.  If I am not able to get gear for two months right now I would be in trouble. 

So I knew I needed to spend some extra money in order to alleviate those fears. My own conscience was not happy with the lack of supplies that I had stored up in my home and I figured if this happened to me as it happened to many across the nation then I may be in a serious medical condition.  So I have made it an effort to start stockpiling ostomy supplies.  I wanted to not only be able to survive a shipment not coming but two consecutive ones.  This means that if shipping stops for two months I will still be safe and doing just fine with my stoma.  If you have a stoma you know what gear you need. Now think about not having it for a month.  Not cool.

I may sound a bit nuts, but for the last six months, I have been working on getting enough extra gear to get me through a small disaster.  I feel better about it and I now don't have to worry.  Worst case scenario I can help a friend out if I have to. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Style even with a Stoma Matters

Looking good is important to our own mental health.  I know that I am not a fashionable man, but looking good still matters to me.  If it were up to me I would wear a t-shirt and jeans all day long every single day.  Now I don't think that is really a problem, but when you have a stoma some times finding the right fashion sense can be even more complicated and difficult.  The very fashion aware knows how to overcome this rather quickly and know what top goes with what bottom and how to make your ostomy bag disappear.  But some of us are less gifted in not only looking good in clothing but feeling comfortable with our ostomy bags and gear at the same time.  So let's jump into some things about looking good with a stoma that I have learned. 

I do not think that looks are super important in the overall part of life, but they matter.  I believe everyone is beautiful and not everyone looks good in the same thing.  I certainly know after 30+ years on this earth that I am not able to wear a good amount of clothing that others do.  All of our bodies are different and even when it comes to stoma placement things that work well for one person won't work with another body type.  With that said the idea is to not compare yourself to everyone around you.  It is simply not good for your mental health and certainly won't help your shopping.  Now I am not saying don't try to see what may work for you if you see it on someone else, but take it with a grain of salt.  So with myself being a bad-looking fashion person, how do I still find good looks.

Social media is my savior if not for my wife. So I hop onto the good old Tube of You and learn all I can.    I now watch more Youtube videos than any other form of digital entertainment.  That is because I learn while being entertained.  What I also found instead of just finding fixes for my home is that many channels are people with stomas talking about their lives.  Many of these people live active, adventurous lives and have lots of experience going out into the world with a stoma.  Not only is this a positive thing for me, but they usually share their experiences with clothing, gear, and life with their stoma.  It is great to see someone and how they prepare for a hike or going to the beach and what works for them.  Not everything works for me that I see, but it gives me ideas, and most of all it gives me hope.  Seeing is believing for me and I am able to go out and be more active without the fear that my stoma will hold me back.  People give me tips and I certainly need them. So what a win!

Make sure not to just stick to one platform.  Get on the others as well and gather all the information you can.  Those two platforms are loading with people who share their lifestyles with a stoma publicly and I have picked up a lot of good looking fashion tips from them.  Be wise and don't take it all too seriosuly.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

So, You Have to Get an Ostomy?

Learning that you have to get a life-changing surgery can be one of the scariest experiences of your life. Take it from me. I’ve been there. Being told that a part of your body is no longer functioning the way it’s supposed to, so now you’re needing to go under the knife to have it corrected is nerve wracking. Plus, on top of that you’ll now have to wear and carry around a pouch that holds on the urine or stool that your body can eliminate the natural way could make anyone wonder if life will ever be enjoyable or the same again. Unfortunately, that’s a yes and no answer. No, your life may never quite be the same again, but that doesn’t mean it is the end of your life, nor does it mean it’s the end of doing things you enjoy. In fact, with a little knowledge and a community of people around you who love and care about you, you can live a full and fulling life without having to sacrifice the things you love the most. Hopefully, I can help put your mind at ease, even if it’s just a little bit. 


First things first though, let me start by giving you a little insight into what an Ostomy is and why it may be necessary. An Ostomy is a surgical procedure, often lifesaving, that will allow bodily waste to pass through a surgically created stoma (an opening that is located on the abdomen) and in most cases into an ostomy bag or ‘pouch’. Sometimes it is also possible for something called a continent diversion surgery, which means the pouch is placed internally through a surgical process rather than being placed externally. The type of procedure you have will depend on your condition and what your doctor believes is best. 


There are many different reasons as to why an ostomy may be necessary, however the most likely conditions are birth defects, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, incontinence, and in some cases severe abdominal or pelvic trauma. Depending on your condition you could receive one of three different possible Ostomy surgeries. Those include a colostomy (an opening of the large intestine), a urostomy (a procedure that diverts urine away from a diseased or defective bladder), and an ileostomy (an opening in the lowest part of the small intestine and is in most cases permanent.) 


No matter the type of ostomy you receive, life will change. But that doesn’t mean it has to change for the worst. It just means that you may have to get used to a new normal. One of the best things you can do to prepare for getting an ostomy is to learn as much as you can about the procedure. This can help ease your mind of all the unknowns that you’re about to face. Also, it’s important to note that not all ostomies are permanent. Oftentimes, they can be temporary, which means you can take heart knowing that your new normal will be short lived. 


Another important thing to do, is surround yourself with family and loved ones. You’ll need all the support you can get during your adjusting period, and there is no shame in asking for help. Especially during your recovery from surgery. And the most important thing to remember is this, no matter what, this doesn’t change who you are. You are still you, just maybe with a new accessory. With a little patience, help, and knowledge you can and will live a full and active life. So, keep calm and ostomy on. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Difference Between Regular And Extended Wear Barriers

There are many types of ostomy skin barriers available in the market. Each of these types fulfills a particular set of requirements, which means that it is crucial for a person with an ostomy to pay attention to which type of ostomy barriers is the most appropriate one. Factors that you should consider while buying an ostomy skin barrier or flange may include the suitability of the barrier, desired frequency of ostomy appliance changes, characteristics of the bodily waste passing through your stoma, and cost.


An ostomy barrier should:

  • Protect your peristomal skin from the stomal output
  • Ensure a secure seal
  • Be gentle to your skin during its removal
  • Be cost-effective

Different materials are used in the making of skin barriers. These materials may include karaya, pectin, and other synthetic materials. The types of adhesives differ based on formulations used in the development of those adhesives. Despite these differences, the primary function of each of the skin barrier is the same.


Generally, the regular wear barriers do not resist much to the liquid stool and urine. With such skin barriers, you will have to expect a shorter wear time. These barriers melt when they come in contact with the stool or urine. If left there for an extended period, these barriers fail to restrict the stool or urine from coming in contact with the peristomal skin. It can lead to skin irritation and other complications.

Extended wear barriers, on the other hand, provide great resistance to the liquid stool and urine. Using these barriers, you can expect a longer wear time. Some types of skin barriers absorb moisture from the stool, which can lead to the puffing of these barriers around the stoma. This swelling of the skin barrier doesn’t affect the seal, which means that you can still expect these barriers to last longer than regular flanges. If your stoma produces liquid stool, you can consider using extended wear barriers.


Generally, you may want to select an extended wear barrier most of the time. These barriers may prove to be more expensive in terms of the cost at the time of purchase, but the extended wear time evens out the cost very well. On the other hand, you may have to purchase more regular wear barriers to fulfill your requirements. The fact of the matter is that the regular wear barriers may prove to be more expensive than extended wear barriers. If your stool is firm or has a thick consistency, you may want to go for the regular wear barrier because it would not have to handle excessive moisture from the stool.

Monday, June 12, 2017

What Is A Prolapsed Stoma?

A prolapsed stoma telescopes out through itself to cause abnormal tightening. It can be distressful to look at a prolapsed stoma. If you have this stoma, you are going to have to bring some change in your stoma care regimen.

Prolapsing of stoma happens more in people with colostomies than people with ileostomies, and it is more frequent in loop colostomies. It further narrows down to colostomies in the transverse colon.

The exact reasons for the prolapsing of a stoma are unknown, but some factors seem to contribute to the development of a prolapsed stoma. Those factors are:

  • Poor abdominal muscle tone
  • Obesity or weight gain
  • Pregnancy
  • The surgical technique during the creation of the stoma
  • Increased pressure within the abdomen

Prolapsing may influence the way you care for your stoma. In some cases, the prolapse may be positional – it could be present or absent depending on your body posture while you sit, stand, or lie down. You may see the prolapse when you stand, but the stoma may return to its usual size when you lie down. This characteristic of the prolapsed stoma is known as spontaneous reduction.

A prolapsed stoma might not receive adequate blood supply, which may cause a change in the color or warmth of the stoma. Changes occurring in a prolapsed stoma as a result of poor blood supply may include small ulceration on the surface and more significant changes in the color or temperature. The prolapsing can also result in a loss of the stoma function. It might start showing signs of obstruction. In that case, you may need to consult your doctor immediately.

You may need to consider changes to your routine care when you have a prolapsed stoma. Aside from monitoring the color, temperature, and function of the stoma, you may need to consider changes to the ostomy pouching system that you use. With a larger prolapse, you may need to use a pouch that is large enough to accommodate both your stoma and the volume of the stomal output. You may need to empty or change your pouch more often. You may also need to have an alternate flange that will not cause trauma to your stoma.

In some cases, the prolapsed stoma can be very mobile (i.e. it slides in and out with the change in the body posture). It can raise a risk of lacerations developing on the stoma. These lacerations are not painful, but they can still cause bleeding of the stoma. You may want to adjust the opening of your flange to avoid these lacerations. You can do it by measuring the stoma when it is at its largest. You may also consider using a moldable flange that allows its opening to adjust to the changing size of the stoma.