Ostomy Toronto Member, Patient, Enterostomal Therapist and World Traveler
Type of Ostomy: Ileostomy
Years with Ostomy: 50years+
Are you an Ostomy Toronto Trained Visitor?
How active are you, living with an ostomy?
I feel I live a very normal life and am able to do all that I wish to do. I did not meet my husband until a year after I had my surgery and we have now been married 49 years. Together we have traveled extensively and have had the fortune to be able to visit 85 countries.
How have Ostomy Toronto’s members or services assisted you to manage your ostomy?
When I had my surgery the mandate of the ostomy visitor was much different then it is now. The visitor would come to the hospital and make recommendations about appliances and how to use them and in many cases they would assist in teaching you how to use and change it. Of course, today this is not appropriate. After I was discharged from the hospital I joined Ostomy Toronto and today I can say that I still belong and have probably missed less than 10 meetings in the past 51 years (only missing when ill, on vacation or at a conference). However, because of the ostomy association (in the early 1950’s we became a member of the United Ostomy Association Inc.) I learned of a woman at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation who was an Enterostomal Therapist (E.T.). As I had done a number of visits and the more I visited the more I realized that the nursing staff was not aware of how to manage an ostomy as was my case when I had surgery. I decided to pursue the possibility of becoming an E.T. I subsequently went to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in 1969 and trained under Norma Gill and came back to Toronto as the third E.T. in Canada, and have practiced as an E.T. ever since. I believe I have been involved with upwards of 12,000 ostomy patients over the past 42 years. I have had ostomy visitors for patients when I worked in the hospital. Today in the community I recommend the ostomy association to all patients I see. Some of my patients have gone on to be leaders in the local and national ostomy association. If I had not belonged to the ostomy association I would not have been able to help the numbers of ostomy patients that I have.
What advice would you give someone who is about to have, has just had, or is struggling with an ostomy? What advice would give their family/caregivers?
As a professional, I still recommend the ostomy association to my patients and encourage all of them to join the ostomy association.