Did you attend our Gutsy Gathering meeting in July? It was a fun-filled, yet informative meeting for ostomates, care takers, and for those preparing for surgery. Our incredible WOC nurses on the 11 Health Nursing team took the stage as they shared a special presentation about the phases of ostomy life – pre-surgery, recovery, and post-surgery maintenance life.

11 Health nurse Dana took the reigns as she shared her professional nursing knowledge of working with patient’s pre-surgery. We learned so many new things, such as how nurses mark patients for their stomas, as well as why stomas are located on a specific region on the abdomen. Dana even shared with us the proper way to achieve the perfect crusting technique. You can bet we tried it as soon as the meeting ended!

WOCN Brent jumped on next to discuss life immediately after surgery during the post-op phase. Did you know that your risk of dehydration is immediately higher after surgery? Brent shared with us that this is the reason stoma output is so important after surgery! We also learned that no two stomas are alike; they can vary in size, shape, and output. Our stomas are all unique, just like us!

To wrap up the presentation, our 11 Health nurse Krystal educated us about every day life living with a stoma. Krystal addressed the hot topic of skin irritation and taught us about different reasons for that red, itchy skin. We had no clue that a yeast infection could be the culprit of dry, itchy peristomal skin! Krystal was quick to tell us (as stoma patients) when to contact our WOCN about skin issues; they can get pretty serious if neglected.

To wrap up the session, we bonded over small breakout room sessions sharing our personal experiences with our ostomy nurses. It is amazing all of the different experiences we can have as patients! Our three WOC nurses also answered any and all questions the audience had about ostomy life – everything from pregnancy with an ostomy all the way to what we should look for in a WOCN!

All in all, it was another fantastic evening of education, friendship, and support. If you were unable to attend this meeting, don’t fret! Gutsy Gathering meets the last Wednesday of each month. We can’t wait to see you August 26!