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
(June 2016) – Vaginal Discharge
Question: I had my ileal conduit surgery Mar.2016, though the surgery was successful I am experiencing vaginal discharge, odourless ,
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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
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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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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(February 2016) – taking antacids with an ileostomy
Question: Is it safe to take anti acids with my loop ileostomy? I take Tecta and I find that my
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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(February 2016) – depression around stoma
February, 2016 Question: My depression around my stoma is at the bottom and both sides. Hernia is at the top.
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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(January 2016) – feeling to move bowels
Question: Hi my husband had a oleo stormy on Jan.5/16. Everything is going well but a couple of times he
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Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
(September 2015) – a disease called DIGITS
September, 2015 Question: Hi I have had mine for 8 years but in the past 3 weeks it is putting
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