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
Rectal Discharge
November 2017 Question: I am three weeks post-surgery. My ostomy is to be reversed in three months. I was told
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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
Stoma Revision Fears
November 2017 Question: I have had my ileostomy for 40 years. During the past 2 years, my stoma has shrunken
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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
Abdominal Tightness
October 2017 Question: I have had my ostomy since surgery Nov. 2015. For the last 6 months to a year,
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Stain Removal
October 2017 Message Body: I hope you include information for caregivers in your service. My husband has an ileostomy and
Read more.
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Probiotics
September 2017 Question: Thank you for being available to take questions. I am 65 and have had an Ileostomy for
Read more.
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Bowel Movement with a new Ileostomy
August 2017 Question: I just had an ileostomy three weeks ago and just had a bowel movement (only one turd)
Read more.
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Ostomy Bulge
July, 2017 Question: My colostomy bulges out like a large breast from my stomach. Is there a product made that
Read more.
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Blockages
July 2017 Question: I have an ilesotomy and do have a hernia, have had 4 blockages this spring and am
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Stoma Length Change
July, 2017 Question Is it normal for a stoma to change in length over time? Response No two stomas are
Read more.
Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
Reversal Surgery Delays
July 2017 Question: I am a 46 yrs old single white caucasian male EMS/EHS professional who had been injured several
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Getting a Good Seal Around the Stoma
July, 2017 Question: Hello, I have a temporary ileostomy. My surgery was in December. I have been dealing with stabbing
Read more.
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The affect of stress on an ostomy appliance
July 2017 Question: Does stress cause an ostomy to leak or affect the adhesiveness of the bag opening? Response: There
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Question about an ostomy shield
June, 2017 Question: I have a colon ostomy bag and I’m trying to find a Canadian company that sells some
Read more.
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Ostomy Alert System
June 27, 2017 Question: Hello, Is there any kind of device that exists to alert me that my bag needs
Read more.
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Hip Replacement with an Ostomy
Question: I have had an ileostomy for 39 years I am now 80 yrs old and need a hip replacement
Read more.
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Support for a Blind Ostomate
March, 2017 Question: I am a CCAC care coordinator and one of my clients is losing their vision due to
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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
March 2017 – Child with ostomy
March 2017 Question: I do have a question, been using the one-piece system on our son, he’s had a new
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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
February 2017 – waste comes out of both passages
Question: Is it common or unusual for waste to come out of both passages? I had an incident where I
Read more.
Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
Pouch Size Problems
January 2018 Question: Information or who we could contact to discuss pouch size problem or a supplier? My sister had
Read more.
Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
Dealing with Leakage
January, 2017 Message Body: I’ve been suffering with Crohn’s for over 10 years. I just recently had the ostomy surgery
Read more.
Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
Ballooning effect in pouches during flights
January, 2017 Question Message Body: I’ve had an ileostomy for almost 20 yrs and I’m wondering if there are any
Read more.
Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
Info about living with an ostomy in Canada
December, 2016 Questions: I’m a 30-year colostomate and in about a week’s time I will presenting a 30-40 minute program about
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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(December 2016) – Reversal Surgery Concerns
December 2016 Subject: reversal of stoma surgery Message Body: I have had an ostomy for 8 months and now looking
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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(November 2016) – Skin around Ostomy Care
November, 2016 Question: My skin around my stoma is blistered (but not the stoma) I have used the stoma powder
Read more.
Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(September 2016) – Vision Problems and Ostomy Care
September, 2016 Question I have a question for you. I am a student Occupational Therapist working on a school project
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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(June 2016) – Urostomy Night Attachment Device
June, 2016 Question I was wondering if you could help.  My mom has been living with an ostomy bag, (I
Read more.
Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(June 2016) – Vaginal Discharge
Question: I had my ileal conduit surgery Mar.2016, though the surgery was successful I am experiencing vaginal discharge, odourless ,
Read more.
Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(May 2016) – ostomy-friendly underwear and wrap
QUESTION: I really hope you can give me some online stores from which I may purchase some ostomy-friendly underwear and
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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(March 2016) – dealing with two ostomies
March, 2016 Message Body: As a result of radiation damage from cancer treatment in 1990, I had a permanent colostomy
Read more.
Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(February 2016) – haemorrhoids
February, 2016 Question: I had my ileostomy in Dec 2015. I have had the mucus from my anus but I
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