Ask An Ostomy Lifestyle Expert

Jo-Ann or Andrea provide a fresh and candid outlook, through valuable tips and perspectives about how to live with an ostomy, from her own experiences.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

After lifesaving emergency surgery, Jo-Ann has had her colostomy since July 2011, her positive outlook on life has enabled her to thrive her life-changing alteration. A 2nd chance at life is the icing on the cake, the cherry on top. Her journey inspired her to write her second book, “Better WITH a Bag Than IN a Bag” – From the brink of death to recovery through humour and inspiration, published in 2012. Jo-Ann’s desire to share awareness and advocacy further inspired her to create the blog, “THE OSTOMY FACTOR”, joannltremblay.wordpress.com, enjoyed by ostomates around the world. Vice-president of the consulting firm Novacomm since 1987, and proprietor of Potentials Management since 2004, Jo-Ann is a life coach consultant for private individuals, corporations and government agencies.

“My goal while working with the Ostomy Canada Society, as an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert, is to spread awareness, education and uplift people about life with an ostomy, through sharing tips I have learned along the way, and answering your questions with the intent on helping to make your life easier.”

Andrea Manson

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In 1989, Andy Manson joined her mother Helen, founder of the Ostomy Care & Supply Centre, and began a 30-year career as a trailblazer and advocate for people with an ostomy. Andy has been a central figure in ostomy care locally, nationally and internationally and today the Ostomy Care Centre is what it is because of Andy. The Ostomy Care and Supply Centre was started with modest goals: dealing with issues like skin irritation, hernia belt fittings, and centrally, helping people learn to live full lives with an ostomy. Under Andy’s guidance, the Centre became a port in the storm for people all over BC, and beyond. As products evolved, so did Andy’s practice. She used her nursing knowledge, unique visuospatial abilities and drive for excellence to hone her skills. Despite having a focus on simplicity, her care plans achieve excellent outcomes, as anyone who has received care from Andy knows. From her years of experience pioneering various techniques she has developed her own set of rules and knows when to break them. She continually looks for ways to solve problems, looking well outside the box when necessary. Andy has been a strong advocate for ostomy awareness and has done some amazing things in support of that: she has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and trekked in Iceland with Rob Hill of IDEAS (weneedideas.ca). She has served on the Board of Ostomy Canada Society, formerly the United Ostomy Association of Canada, a volunteer organization for those with ostomies. She was awarded the ET Nurse of the Year in 2014 and has been a part of groups of expert ostomy nurses from around the world as they created guidelines to help guide practice throughout the world, and other tools to help improve the lives of people with an ostomy. Andy also undertook the Nurse Continence Advisor program at McMaster University and used this knowledge to help people with urinary and fecal incontinence. Even before I started working here, I knew Andy by reputation. If you had an ostomy question, she was the one to ask. She is regularly asked for her wisdom and insight from her peers. Being invited to join the team was an honour as I was inspired by the level of care and commitment here; I learned from clinicians who had spent decades learning and improving their practice. Even they benefited from working alongside Andy, as she shared what she had learned with all of us, and demonstrated how to be creative in problem-solving. You may not be aware of it, but this service and model of care are unique in Canada, and even the world. Without charging patients or the health care system, it has managed to provide critically essential care to people experiencing everything from an unusual occurrence to the full crisis related to their ostomy. People are able to get expert help in a timely way so they can get on with the more important work of living. The impact of this service cannot be overstated; Andy has supported thousands of people and their families as they navigate the time after surgery and life after recovery. If you’re reading this, you know well how challenging this can be. Many of you have formed years-long relationships with Andy, and I know she has a special place in so many hearts. When I first met Andy in 2012, she told me she still got “juiced every day” about the work she does, after more than 20 years. Her engagement with, and commitment to the community has been reciprocated through the trust and gratitude from patients and their families, her regard throughout Canada and the US from her peers, and the legacy she leaves in the Ostomy Care and Supply Centre.

January 2020 Vancouver Ostomy High Life Bulletin

As part of Ostomy Canada Society’s dedication to continually grow our resources and support, we are pleased to welcome you to the “Ask The Ostomy Lifestyle Experts” feature.

People with an ostomy, those with surgery pending, ostomy caregivers and healthcare professionals are encouraged to enjoy this column for education, inspiration and a healthy dose of optimism from Jo-Ann L. Tremblay, Ostomy Canada Society Medical Advisory Committee, Ostomy Lifestyle Experts.

To ask a question of the Ostomy Lifestyle Experts, send an email to: ostomylifestyleexperts@ostomycanada.ca.

By sending an email, you are agreeing to letting your question be used in the Ostomy Canada magazine, Ostomy Canada Connects newsletter and/or on our website. All replies will be through the column, general in nature, and anonymous.

This is a grid of the questions answered so far:

Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
Hernia support belts
Question I’ve learned that in Europe, hernia support belts with holes for the pouch are generally not recommended and are
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Fungal infection under the appliance
Question I’m having a terrible time with chronic wet red fungal infections. I have tried crusting but it didn’t really
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Where to find support
Question Hi.   I live in Lions Head Ontario.    Anything close to me?   Response Thank you for your question. Please
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Anxious about Ileostomy Surgery
Question Right now I have an ileal anal pouch.  At some point, the reality is that due to an anal
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Access to Laundry Room
Question Hello, I have an ileostomy and I currently rent the upper part of a home. Due to a dispute
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Support at a Nursing Home
Question: In desperate need of some assistance, guidance. My mom is in a nursing home in London … ileostomy surgery
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Sensitive Skin Issues
Question: I had my ileostomy operation in 1971 and I am now 74 years of age. About six years ago,
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Exercise Issues
Question: In a recent article from Ostomy Canada, included in the Stratford ON support group newsletter, it mentioned that exercise
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Discharge Issues
Question: I just had bowel resection surgery 10 days again. A temporary ileostomy was put in place till the bowel is
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Skin Barrier Issues
Question: I cannot get anything to stick within 5 cm of my stoma. The soft part of the flange lifts,
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Flange Edges Lifting
Question: I’m sure this question has been asked before, and I thought I had clipped out an answer and filed
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Skin Irritation Issues
Question: What can I do for a red itchy pimply rash under the flange? Response: Skin irritation around your stoma
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Odour Issues
Question: I had permanent colostomy surgery in May of this year. I am doing very well other than a few
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Ostomy Costs – Ontario
Question: I was looking for some information on the estimated costs of looking after an ostomy in Ontario. I am
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Output Issues
Question: I am a 70-year old woman with a colostomy due to rectal cancer which occurred in my mid 30’s.
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Bathing with a stoma
Question: Am wondering what procedures required with having a bag and wanting to have a bath? Do you keep the
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Anal Discharge
Question: I have a permanent ostomy, my anus and rectum have been removed. People tell me I can experience leakage,
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Probiotics Question – May 2019
Question: Hello: I have an ileostomy and I would like to find out how to select a good probiotic that
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Allergy to Appliances – April 2019
Question: Perhaps you can shed some light on how I should handle this ongoing problem. I have an allergic reaction
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Support Groups – April 2019
Question: Hello, Please help me find an ostomy support group in my area of Stouffville. I am about to undergo
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Ileostomy – diarrhea after reversal – April 2019
Question: I had an ileostomy for 9 months. Then, in January 2018 it was reversed. Still diarrhea every single day.
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Rectal Leakage
January 2019 Question: Hello. On April 24, 2018, I had surgery to section my upper rectum due to cancer. I
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Pancaking
January, 2019 Question: I have had surgery on November 20, 2018, to remove rectal cancer. I am now dealing with
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Help with reversal
Question December 2018 Hello. I had ileostomy for 9 months. And about an year ago it was reversed. I have
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Use of Stents
November 2018 Question Question: My Father had a radical cystectomy for treatment of advanced bladder 11 months ago. He has
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Where to find Support in Vaughan
September 2018 Question: I just had my first surgery. I came across this website and looking for some guidance. Where
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Numbness in heel
September, 2018 Question: Hello, We live in Canada. My father underwent a colostomy surgery 6 months ago. He does not
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Problems with Ureterostomy night collection tubing
August, 2018 Comment: I have had a Ureterostomy for 2 1/2 years now and have noticed something I am not
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How does a person empty their pouch? Both at home and out?
Emptying your ostomy pouch seems to be an individual thing. Whatever way you have discovered, it’s okay. You do have
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Reversal – Yes or No?
May 2018 Question: Hi…looking for suggestions on how to handle a very difficult decision. I am 70 and have a
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