About

My name is Heidi Skiba, I’m 45 years old, and this blog chronicles my return to the world of outdoor adventures with a permanent ileostomy.

Check out my quick intro video if you’re new to Ostomy Outdoors.

You can also read my very first blog post from 2011.

Finally, I’m both humbled and happy to announce that I received the “Best Kept Secret” Health Activist Award from the WEGO Health blog. How cool!

Advertisements

45 thoughts on “About

  1. Boy, does your story bring back memories! I too, fought a battle, albeit a brief one with UC that resulted in the loss of my colon and a permanent ileostomy. I was 40, had three young children and thought the days of active life and being able to parent well were over. The ostomy gave me back my life. My life, too, is active and healthy. The ostomy goes where I go and does what I do and hasn’t slowed me down. At 50, I work at a state park, live on a farm and love the outdoors.
    I look forward to reading more of your adventures!

    dawn

    1. Dawn, so glad to hear that your surgery hasn’t stopped you from doing the things you love. I work at a park too! I am a naturalist and lead nature hikes and programs for school groups and the public. I love my job, and my ostomy has caused absolutely no problems for me at work. Glad you like the site!

    2. I love your story!! Thanks for sharing. I have a colostomy and a urostomy. I will be 56 next month and I have had the colostomy since I was 21 and the urostomy since I was 10. My husband and I love camping, hiking and Kayaking. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be 4 with 3 young children going through what you went through. Your story is very encouraging. Thank you!!!!!

      1. Can any one give me some advice. I am a 33 year old female with Stage 3B cervical cancer. As a result of the radiation I received I got necrosis in my colon and had to get a colostomy. I am well recovered living with my colostomy. I will be going on an kayaking adventure trip in may with the first decedents and would like to know if anyone out there has a colostomy and has been kayaking? If so, can you please give me some advice and maybe share in your experience with me. Thank you.

      2. Hi April,

        I sent you an email earlier in the week. Hopefully some kayakers with ileostomies will chime in. I would love to hear how they manage their ileostomies on such water adventures.

        Cheers,
        Heidi

  2. I had a horrible bout of UC when I turned 24. It came out of no-where. 8 weeks later I was in the hospital with toxic megacolon and close to death. I gladly accepted a permanent ileostomy – no way was I leaving my 3 year old daughter. That was 31 years ago. Since then, I have lived overseas, graduated with a Master’s Degree in education, traveled, hiked, camped and LIVED!! I even found a man that was willing (and still does) to love me for who I am 3 months after I got out of the hospital. I have the normal ups and downs that life offers – nothing ostomy related. Good luck and be well!

    1. MJC, it must have been difficult to face surgery so unexpectedly, but isn’t it amazing how an ostomy can give you your life back! I am incredibly thankful for my surgery every day. A lot of aspects of having a stoma still feel so new to me, but I will figure everything out in time. Your list of post-surgery accomplishments is inspiring and a good reminder that I will be able to lead a full life with my ileostomy.

      1. You will blossom with well-being. An ileostomy can be a challenge to manage at first, but it becomes second nature and just a part of the package of life we are dealt. There are so many other worse challenges people live through and with – I have always considered having an ileostomy, not such a bad deal. Drink your liquids, eat foods with potassium, and be aware of potential hernia-producing situations. I don’t have one – but some ostomates get them –
        Mady

  3. Hello. I am the poohbear who recently left a comment on your latest video. I love your site and your videos. I have some questions regarding preparation for surgery and dealing with the changes after surgery. Any chance I could get in contact with you via email? Thank you for being so open about your life with an ostomy. You are a great encouragement.

    Mike

      1. Thank you for your site!!! I am enjoying it and I think it will help me come out of my shell. By “shell” I mean that I don’t ever let anyone know about my physical differences. Thank you very much!!!

  4. Cheryl,
    Thank you for this comment. It means a lot! When I had Ulcerative Colitis, I hardly told anyone about it. It was the same with my ostomy at first. But soon, I realized that being more open not only helped me process and deal with the experience, but also others who were going through the same thing. When I was preparing for surgery, I was so thankful for the people who shared their stories with me. I decided that it was important for me to do the same. Through all this, I have developed a big passion for showing others what is possible after surgery. I am so glad that you are feeling more comfortable with the possibility of sharing more of your own ostomy story with others.
    -Heidi

  5. Heidi,
    Thank you so much for the encouragement!!! I am thankful you ARE sharing your story, especially to help others. I have started putting this info on my FB page and I felt so much freedom when I did. It was as if I had a load lifted off of me. A person wouldn’t think that something like that could cause so much pressure and that it could be relieved by simply telling their story. Again, thank you so much!!!
    Cheryl

  6. Very inspirational! Thank-you! I had made a choice almost 7 years ago for surgery towards the j-pouch as I had been diagnosed with uc backed by genetic testing, clinical tests, and pathology. In the hospital, 5 days after surgery, I was told it now looked “inderminant” . It may be crohn’s so I wasn’t a candidate for the the surgery andi should get used to the bag. At home, after waves of sudden intense sadness, I felt I had to go to my happy place. I hadn’t worked out seriously in nearly 20 years ( I had surgery at age 45) . I knew I had to go where I was most happy, being physically active and looking strong. I had been 210lbs before getting sick, had surgery at 170 lbs, came home from the hospital at155 lbs. 8 weeks after surgery I returned to work, with the bag, at 180 lbs, working full hours, no restrictions, as a ups driver. In 2 weeks, I’m finally having the rest of the surgery to make the ileostomy permanent. I understand I won’t be able to sit down for 2 weeks or more, won’t be able to work out for 4 weeks or more, but new it was time to leave that position of temp ileostomy and the inconvenience of a wet rear end. Strangely, having doubts in the last week. After I read many of your posts, I am able to reconnect with the strength of the decision to move forward. Thank- you again. Ken

    1. Ken, I had it done 2 weeks ago. It’s not as bad as you might think. of course the meds will mask much of the pain at first but at two weeks I’d describe it as and irritation or discomfort rather then pain,

  7. Hi Ken,

    I am glad my site has made you feel better about your upcoming surgery. It sounds like you already know how full of a life you can lead with an ostomy. I think it is natural to be intimidated by the permanence of it all, but it sounds like the temporary situation isn’t that comfortable for you. I bet it will give you some peace of mind to finally have this surgery done. I sure like never having to have a wet rear:)

    Because I decided I wanted a permanent ileostomy from the get go, I had everything done in the rear area with the original operation. Surprisingly, I didn’t find that incision to be that painful. I had staples back there and could still sit okay… I sort of leaned on one cheek but it wasn’t too bad. It healed wonderfully. It itched a bit, and I had some deep mild pain that lasted for a while, but nothing major. I know some people have issues with healing this area, but I never did. My body decided to be stubborn with my abdominal incision instead:)

    Best of luck and let me know if you have any more questions.

    -Heidi

  8. Thanks for responding so quick. My surgery is tomorrow morning and other than seing the wrong surgery listed on my forms as I was couriered around during a pre-op meet and greet, insert gasp here, I’m all ready. I saw your ab exercise post and I agree it’s hard to be specific about advising which exercises to do for others. When I had my sub-total and ileostomy done 7 years ago, I stumbled upon an article which guided me. It was next to impossible to find anything online and I was worried with too much, too little thoughts. My wife had left a magazine out on a table which had a feature on exercises after a c-section birth and I used that as my guide. So I was doing pelvic lifts, single leg raises, crunches with my legs resting up on a chair, and side push ups/bends which kinda look like your side plank. I may have only been able to do 1-5 of any of these at start but I would do them a few times a day and my body responded quickly. In 2 weeks, I was doing 15-50 of each of these a few times a day. I still incorporate these into my exercises as keeping a strong core is key in able to stay active.
    Ken

    1. Hi Ken,

      I hope your surgery went well. That is crazy about the wrong surgery on the form. I guess it always pays to double check!

      You are right… I have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly my body is responding to the core exercises.. even in 5 short days. I was really sore the day after, but now I am already finding that the exercises are easier, and that I am able to bump up the reps or holding time. Can’t wait to see where I will be with the exercises in a few months.

      Wishing you the best in healing!

      -Heidi

  9. Heidi,

    Great info as always. You are a very dedicated contributor to the virtual world of ostomies and I’ve enjoyed learning through your experiences. I had my permanent ileostomy 1/12/12. I have been convalescing over the last couple months. Recently, I have been feeling well enough to push my activity levels…some light hikes (2-3 thousand feet climbs of elevation of mixed trails/rocks) followed by weight training. I’ve noticed that I am having increased stoma noises (farts) recently and I can’t seem to attribute it to dietary causes. My impression (and medical back ground, I am an orthopedic surgeon) tell me that because of the engagement of the abdominal muscles where the small intestine was pulled through the abdominal wall is likely creating increased pressure or compression at the emerging small intestine. Have you had this experience? If so, any suggestions? Will this get better with time?

    I am planning to get up to the mountains at the end of the month. We have a house in Lake Tahoe. It will be the first time back on the slopes since surgery. Skiing/boarding a little over 2 months post op, not too bad? Do you think this is a good idea? I will be taking it easy, skiing pretty conservatively.

    I am holding on to my rerelease to the ocean to get back to surfing. In a past life, I surfed semiprofessionally prior to medical school. I am going to wait till late spring/early summer before I really push the abdominal muscles and surgical site in the water. I have started swimming already without problems.

    Tom

    1. Hi Tom,

      Glad the site has been helpful! Sounds like things are going well for you after surgery and that you are getting back into your favorite activities. Way to go!

      I have not noticed my stoma to be any more vocal once I started working my core muscles (my stoma is already pretty noisy ha ha), but your reasoning about the increased pressure sounds like it could be a possibility. I have recently started to do a lot more focused core work and have been curiously wondering if my stoma would get pinched by having tighter abs so your comment about this is very timely. Wish I knew more. Maybe someone else will chime in.

      Interestingly, a colorectal surgeon spoke at our ostomy association meeting last week and said that good core muscle tone is a beneficial thing as it can help prevent parastomal hernias by keeping the muscle tissue around the stoma stronger and less likely to tear. The trick is knowing when your body is ready to strengthen those muscles and then approaching it conservatively with the right types of exercises. For instance… he said dead lifts were not the best but gentle core work on a stability ball, yoga and pilates would be appropriate after one is fully healed and ready for these types of exercises.

      The timing question for getting back into skiing is difficult to answer, as it sounds like my healing progression was so much different than yours. I had mid-line incision healing complications and had to go back for a couple of surgeries on that incision… one two weeks after my initial operation and another at two months post-op. Due to this, my surgeon was conservative in his recommendations of what I could do fitness-wise in the first 4 months. I went back to work at 8 weeks, but was still in a fair deal of pain, could barely walk 1/4 mile, and had some lifting restrictions throughout that 4 month time period. At 5 months, when my incision had finally healed, I asked my surgeon if he thought it would be okay to buy my ski season pass for the following year. He said, “what about this year?”, and proceeded to tell me that he thought I was ready to go boarding. I was ecstatic! He also said it would be fine to go backpacking with a load of 30 pounds. From there, he said to basically be smart and listen to my body. That suggestion served me well and it seems like easing my way back into activities in regards to mileage, intensity, weight of my pack etc. has served me well.

      I would recommend asking your surgeon about the skiing just to make sure he thinks this is okay. He will know more about how your body is healing etc. Two months is still pretty early in the grand scheme of healing so I would be careful if you do decide to go. I did find my first day of boarding at five months to be a little tough on the abs just because the body positioning that was involved. When I had to rock up onto my board after sitting to put my boots into my bindings, it was tough on the core. Skiing might be a little better in that regard so soon after surgery. I definitely wore (and still do) a Nu-Hope Flat Panel Cool Comfort hernia prevention belt just to give my incision and parastomal area some support. http://www.nu-hope.com/beltlit.pdf.

      Overall, I think it is smart to be patient and ease into activities (as you are planning to do with the surfing). I decided to wait a year to rock climb due to its strenuous nature. I remember thinking that sounded like such a long time to wait, but it went by in a flash and now I am climbing strongly and injury-free (knock on wood!) because I waited until my body was ready and then progressed slowly. Swimming is great!!! It was the first regular exercise I did to gain strength once my incision healed. I still go about once a week.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes!

      Cheers,
      Heidi

      1. Im a 16 yr, 3 surgery UC fistula problems that led to foolishly attempting dentures… But my biggest problem is due to the many surgeries i have an enlarged area on my tummy around my stoma, n i use a opaque 1pc bag that is of the barrier material without tape.. It melts in water easily, making for increasingly difficulty in showering as regularly as i need. I have recently been dating finally a man who loves water activities as much as i do, n just found out he owns a hot tub.. At the beginning of this last permanent surgery i attempeted the hot tub, used the pink hytape then blow dryed my bag… I also have long hair, which im not going to cut, am 51, and the blowdrying of my bag takes longer than my hair… Does anyone have similar issues, and can not only reccommend a bag i can use for waterproof showers, bathingsuits, n just plain not taking 45 minutes to dry my bag, and the preparation for such activities.. Takes alot of time… N if i dont do alot of preperation i must change my bag so frequent that not only does it take alot of time, mental trauma, but well…gee not only all of the time to do that, but then the niceties of makeup etc of being a female … I get so overwhelmed at the thought of it all ive been now avoiding doing any of it, and showering is one of the most important things we can do.. N if im not careful with everything indo, showering n changing th bag, as its a convex, i am either plain worrying about or having leakage… Which is not only stressful, time consuming but very embarrassing, and alot of work.. now new to dating this man, he knows about my ileostomy, and doesnt have a problem with it, but it would be helpful if i knew more than he did before getting involved in water activities…and with the weather becomming warm, which we dont get alot of here in the great Northwest we must take full advantage and i need help!!!! Is there anything or anyinformation ANYONE CAN HELP ME WITH???

        Thanks so much, (p.s..sorry bout the typos, im new to this little keypad on the ipad, and it also doesnt help trying to keep a train of thought, as my details are just too much, and i tried to keep it simple and short to the point as possible)

        Mecq.

  10. Hi Randy,
    Thank you for your comment and for letting me know about your blog. It is so great to see another site that shows the full life one can lead with an ostomy. I will add it to my links page. I do have an Inspire account and have occasionally posted there. Lately I have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to get on the site much, but hope to become more active there in the future. Such a wonderful group of people!
    Take Care,
    Heidi

  11. Thanks for having this blog showing that you still can have a full life with an ileostomy! My father recently had his bladder removed due to cancer. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for products that could withstand sweat. P.S. We live in Alabama so its very hot here!!

    1. Hi Kayla, I’ll put in my 2 bits here. I don’t have an urostomy, I have an ileostomy. But at the ostomy association that meets monthly, people stand up and share their story and show samples of the products they use. Now, I didn’t take notes, so I can’t be specific, but 2 people with urostomy’s displayed a liner-like thing, a clear thin “2nd skin” that went on their skin, then the ostomy wafer/ bag. The price/per was high like $30 each (?) . So check with suppliers around you and check your insurance.
      But, what I can tell you from experience, is apply to clean dry skin. I take off my wafer et al and shower, and after the warmer shower, dry the skin and apply the wafer. Since my skin is warm from the shower, the wafer bonds with my skin better. If ( or rather when) edges rise, I tape them down. A taped down edge will last longer than an edge curling up. But don’t wait to change. I usually change up every 7 days, but sometimes change at 4, sometimes at 10 days. Whatever it takes. Where I live, Manitoba Canada, it can stay above 85 with high humidity from may to August. Compounding that, I work for ups, wear dark brown, in a dark brown truck, and usually work 11 hour days. So I’m familiar with hot and sweaty. Clean dry skin when you apply the wafer is the key to a successful bond.
      Hope this helps
      Ken

    2. Hi Kayla,

      I am glad the blog has been helpful. Ken has some great suggestions. I haven’t had too many issues with sweat affecting the adherence of my wafers, but everyone is a bit different in this regard. After sampling products from all the major manufacturers, I found that the Convatec Durahesive wafers stuck to me the best while being active and sweating. I also really like Eakin Cohesive Seals. They are a putty-like ring that goes around the stoma under my wafer. The product swells and turtlenecks up around the stoma as output touches it. This protects parastomal skin really well. In the odd occasion that my wafers do peel up a bit from sweat, the Eakin always stays put and keeps the seal until I get to my next change. I change my appliance every 3-4 days (otherwise the skin right around my stoma tends to get irritated as output erodes the Eakin ring). Changing this often likely helps with wafer adherence as well. The adhesive lasts very well for 3-4 days, no matter how much I sweat.

      Like Ken, I will also tape an edge down if it starts to peel up. This will keep it from getting caught on something and peeling up even more. Sometimes I will also heat up the peeled up edge with a blow dryer on low heat. I have found that this can reactivate the adhesive to some extent, and combined with tape, will allow it to stick again. Again, this is only if the edge is starting to peel up slightly. If the wafer is peeling off significantly, it should be removed and a fresh one put on.

      I would recommend getting samples from a variety of suppliers and to experiment to see what works best for your dad.

      Best wishes for your father as he heals up from surgery!

      -Heidi

  12. Glad I found your blog. I was wondering if I would ever be able to return to being active and healthy after my surgery on September 5, 2012. It wasn’t planned. I had been eating healthy for years, taking care of my body, and somehow this dreaded UC got me down quick. Before I knew it, just a little over a month after being told I may have UC, I was in the hospital so sick and weak I could barely talk. I listened as the doctor told my husband and son that in order to save my life, my colon had to come out. So here we are. Four months since surgery, thankful to be alive, but still trying to figure all this out. How do I eat healthy now? How do I begin excercising again? These are the main questions I am figuring out now after recovery. I LOVE raw fruits and veggies, salads, nuts, and high fiber foods like beans. However I think I love NOT getting a blockage more than I love those foods, so I am juicing my veggies and eating nut butters instead. Anyway, I find your blog encouraging on the physical aspect of things…….if you can do it, surely I can too! I look forward to a more active summer with my husband and son, hiking, biking, playing, whatever! Thanks for showing it IS possible, I CAN be a healthy ostomate! So I guess it’s time to get out of this “bathrobe” mentality and put down the cookies. 😉

    1. Rennie,

      I am so sorry to hear about your situation. It must have been incredibly difficult to face surgery so soon after being diagnosed. But you are right… you are alive! And you can lead a very full life with an ostomy. There will be a time not so far away when all of this feels routine and you are a pro at managing your ostomy in all different situations:)

      My first four months were very difficult too so hang in there. Things started to look up at 5 months when I could finally get out and do some of the activities I loved again. Still, I proceeded slowly. Just up the exercise a little at a time. Start with short hikes and before you know it you will be adding up the miles. Remember, there is no rush!

      As far as food… remember that the lists of no-no foods are only guidelines. They COULD cause trouble, but they don’t for everybody. You really have to experiment. I remember I was terrified of eating nuts and raw veggies at first. My first post-surgery salad was made up of three lettuce leaves:) I ate two almonds and waited for trouble. Neither of these things caused me issues so I bumped up the amounts a little at a time. I soon realized I could eat 1/2 cup of almonds no problem and can eat a cereal-bowl-sized salad with carrots, green peppers, mushrooms, olives, cucumbers, broccoli and tomatoes with no issues whatsoever. I can eat two ears of corn and eat black beans all the time. I can eat popcorn too. In fact, I have yet to find any food that really causes me trouble as long as I chew it like crazy (so the nuts are the size of grains of sand and veggies are in tiny, tiny pieces), drink lots of water with it, and don’t go too overboard on the quantities. Mixing items helps me too. For instance, having a piece of bread with a salad. This seems to keep the the fibrous material from balling up in my digestive system. Again, this is just me and everyone is different. However, unless you try a food (a little at a time), you won’t know how it affects you and you could be eliminating it from your diet unnecessarily. Whatever you do though… do not eliminate cookies. Those are very important in everyone’s diet:)

      Wishing you the best as you hit the trails and bike paths again!

      Cheers,
      Heidi

      1. Heidi,
        Your reply on what foods to eat was very helpful… I foolishly under meds n duress i wont go into here i had dentures installed n they arent working, after 3-1/2 yrs, 2sets.. N gum surgery…n not good dental insurance anymore… But let me say, 16 yrs ago after 1st diagnosed w UC, n having my colon removed n then getting the ileoanal pull thru( the old tetm, im not sure whats its referred to as now, but the pouch u have inside not as a bag u wear on tummy) .. The advice my dr finally gave me after years of earing nothing enjoyable was so helpful i must share it, tho it doesnt apply to me now, well, not until i have good dentures.. He said now and again, you can just go out, have a steak n a beer, have diarreaha for a day or two.. Sometimes ya gotta have a bit of fun… I noticed back then i could go out, have a caesar salad, which i used to live on.. Salads, filet mignon w blue cheese, a margarita if i felt like it, shrimp appetizers.. N i would enjoy it so much, i never ate the whole thing, but it gave me a sense of normalcy… Eating your not too good for u foods IN MODERATION gave me a feeling of enjoyment that i thought id never have again… Eating all things in moderation now i find is easy n enjoyable… Oh, let me set the stage, food used to be the one pleasure i got out of life.. So it was very scary n depressing when for years i couldnt eat my beans, salads etc.. ( irarely ate steaks, was enjoyably a vegetarian) but my husband liked to take me out, so i learned to eat moderation, n if i was going to worry about any issues the next day, id make sure that i went out on a nite i knew id have time to ‘not feel so hot’ the next day… It was a rare occassion.. Once my body got used to no colon n allowing foods into my life ..it takes time, but your best thing is time, AND SUPPORT THAT IS HEALTHY N HAPPY.

      2. I agree that you still need to eat your favorite foods when you can. Food is such an important quality of life issue. At least it is for me! I also think it is important to test foods out yourself instead of just going by what others say you can or can’t eat. So often I hear of people with ostomies restricting themselves from a particular food just because they heard someone else had a problem with eating it. One really has to try foods out for themselves a little at a time to avoid ruling things out unnecessarily.

        Take care and I hope things improve with the dentures soon!

        -Heidi

    2. Im a 16 yr, 3 surgery UC fistula problems that led to foolishly attempting dentures… But my biggest problem is due to the many surgeries i have an enlarged area on my tummy around my stoma, n i use a opaque 1pc bag that is of the barrier material without tape.. It melts in water easily, making for increasingly difficulty in showering as regularly as i need. I have recently been dating finally a man who loves water activities as much as i do, n just found out he owns a hot tub.. At the beginning of this last permanent surgery i attempeted the hot tub, used the pink hytape then blow dryed my bag… I also have long hair, which im not going to cut, am 51, and the blowdrying of my bag takes longer than my hair… Does anyone have similar issues, and can not only reccommend a bag i can use for waterproof showers, bathingsuits, n just plain not taking 45 minutes to dry my bag, and the preparation for such activities.. Takes alot of time… N if i dont do alot of preperation i must change my bag so frequent that not only does it take alot of time, mental trauma, but well…gee not only all of the time to do that, but then the niceties of makeup etc of being a female … I get so overwhelmed at the thought of it all ive been now avoiding doing any of it, and showering is one of the most important things we can do.. N if im not careful with everything indo, showering n changing th bag, as its a convex, i am either plain worrying about or having leakage… Which is not only stressful, time consuming but very embarrassing, and alot of work.. now new to dating this man, he knows about my ileostomy, and doesnt have a problem with it, but it would be helpful if i knew more than he did before getting involved in water activities…and with the weather becomming warm, which we dont get alot of here in the great Northwest we must take full advantage and i need help!!!! Is there anything or anyinformation ANYONE CAN HELP ME WITH???

      Thanks so much, (p.s..sorry bout the typos, im new to this little keypad on the ipad, and it also doesnt help trying to keep a train of thought, as my details are just too much, and i tried to keep it simple and short to the point as possible)

      Mecq.

      1. Thanks for writing. So sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I was up in the mountains on a backpacking trip and am bit behind on correspondence.

        I am able to go in the water for hour-long swims followed by 15 minute hot tub soaks without making any adjustments to my ostomy system but I know this isn’t the case for everyone. Some people have great luck putting Sure Seals around their wafer to hold it down on the edges (http://alpglobal.com/Sure-Seal-TM-Rings.html) and prevent water from affecting the adhesive. Another product that I have tried that I really like and would use if I was going to be in the water for long periods of time– for instance on a beach vacation– are Coloplast Brava Elastic Barrier Strips. They are crescent shaped pieces of tape that are stretchy and waterproof (http://www.us.coloplast.com/products/ostomy/accessories/elasticbarrierstrip/). My skin can be sensitive sometimes and these barrier strips do not irritate it. They could definitely be used for everyday use too since you are having issues with showering. Coloplast will send you free samples if you give them a call.

        As far as drying the bag– I don’t blow dry mine. I usually let it air dry. However, I use Convatc Surfit Natura bags with an Invisiclose velcro-like tail (http://beta.clockmedical.sites.aes2.com/itemdetail/1721). They are an opaque tan plastic on one side and then a plastic fabric-like material on the side next to my skin. These seem to dry faster than some of the other ostomy pouches I have tried which is one of the reasons I love them.

        Another thing I do to help my pouches dry faster is to cover them with a terry cloth pouch cover. This helps absorb the moisture. I sew my own, but you can buy something similar at this site: http://cspouchcovers.com/quick-dry-pouch-cover-white-p-48.html.

        I hope this helps and that you can get out there to enjoy water sports again!

        Cheers,
        Heidi

  13. Hi Heidi Skiba. I’m Jayme Thomas. I wrote you twice before. I have a permanent Ileostomy due to my digestive system terminated functioning altogether. Had the surgery in 2007. I had told you I like hiking, rock climbing and backpacking as a child and wanted to return to that. I’m age 52. Last time I told you I was having shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff, and that Id be searching to purchase a backpack. My shoulder never really healed well after the surgery. I have a nerve that pinches with certain movements, though I’m managing. I found a nice backpack and immediately practiced putting weight in it and exercising by walking with it on increasing my distances. Then my feet and ankles took a turn for the worst and diagnosis was torn ligaments and bone spurs in my ankles and bone deterioration in my feet. I returned to College and recertified in EMT, though physically can’t do that kind of work anymore. So I’m in College attempting an Associates degree in Biological Sciences. That’ll take me 5 years, at 2 courses per semester. I’m not sure if and when I’ll have Surgery to work on my feet and ankles. I’m not really wanting to ever have another surgery. So unsure whether my dreams to return to backpacking will ever happen. :(. I really am sad and I miss the backcountry. Yay for you on conquering Mt. Rainer! Sincerely, Jayme Thomas.

    1. Hi Jayme,

      Thanks for the update on how you are doing. I am so sorry to hear about the foot and ankle issues. It must be so incredibly frustrating. Keep hanging in there. I wonder if there is another way you could get into the backcountry until you decide if you want to try foot surgery or not. Maybe you could do a horseback ride in for a base-camp style trip? We did a trip a while back where Doug and I went on a long backpack in the Wind River Range in WY. Doug’s dad met us in the backcountry half way through the trip by coming in on horseback along with a guide. They also packed in a bunch of climbing gear so that we could set up a base camp and do some backcountry climbs. After another week in the backcountry, the horse and guide came back to pick up Doug’s dad and our gear. There are horsepacking guides in a lot of mountain areas that will do this. It is called a “drop camp”. Not quite the same as backpacking… but if I ever had an injury that made it tough to walk, I might consider that option so that I could still get out in the wilderness.

      It is great that you are going to school for Biological Sciences! Best wishes!

      Cheers,
      Heidi

  14. Heidi,
    Thanks for your site. Like you I was super active, thin but strong, and got nailed with my disease after a spontaneous perf of a diverticuli; the day before I was having a routine colonoscopy. Thank God it didn’t happen the previous week when I was out with a 25 lb pack on my back on the AT. I ended up with a colostomy but then I had it reversed 7 months later which initially when so well and the nurses would tease me and ask me what lap I was on when I went by the front desk. Then I developed these
    odd aches and pains…If I knew I would end up spending 6 months in and out of the hospital after reversal and septic (almost died) with an ileostomy and a big abdominal wound that is healing by way of a VAC, I wound have stopped there as I was really well with the colostomy. So…I have alot of healing to do, weight to gain, weakness and lack of stamina to overcome but am slowly getting there.
    Seems a bit juvenile but at 56 I felt pretty bullet-proof and was SO shell shocked by all of this, as were my close friends. I could not have done all this without them!!
    Thank you so much for your site. It gives me hope and inspires me.
    Thanks so much,
    Jayne (and the Troll)

    1. Hi Jayne,

      Thanks for writing. I am glad the blog has been helpful. I had time to mentally prepare for my surgery, and I always think of how incredibly tough it must be when something truly unexpected happens and all of a sudden you end up with an ostomy. And I am so sorry to hear that you had such serious complications during your colosotomy reversal.

      I had a wound vac on a big abdominal wound after my surgery too. It was hard to look at that and think it would ever heal… but it eventually did. Keep hanging in there. When you are in the middle of healing, it is hard to believe the energy, weight and muscle will ever return, but it will!!! As I recovered, I found it helped to celebrate small accomplishments… the first 1/4 mile walk… the first short bike ride… the first small run. Before I knew it I was moving on to bigger things. Still, it took me a year to feel normal energy-wise. Have faith that someday you will be back on the trail and all this will be a distant memory. Chances are, when you get through it all, you will realize that you are stronger than you ever imagined:)

      I am so glad to hear that you have a good support network too. That makes such a difference.

      Best wishes as you continue to heal!

      -Heidi

  15. Heidi, thanks so much for your encouraging words and kindness. I am trying to focus on the small victories. I have had the VAC for almost three months so I really appreciated knowing that you were able to gut it out (pun intended).
    Glad you liked the naming of my ileostomy. It just seems appropriate somehow. 🙂
    Have you ever had your stoma retract and recoil over a short perod of time? Just happened for a two hour time period tonite Seems like it might be a sort of normal perastalsis thing but to be on the safe side I’m calling my Doc in the morning to make sure it’s not a problem. I’ve not really experienced this before?
    Stay well and inspirational!
    Jayne out!

    1. Hi Jayne,

      My stoma has never retracted and has been the same length since surgery. Sometimes it will get longer when the small intestine muscle relaxes and then will get shorter (and narrower) when it is in tension. That is just peristalsis though. I have never had mine “telescope” in or out with a prolapse or retraction. Sometimes my stoma will also look bigger/longer if it becomes extra relaxed and flacid/floppy (which seems to happen when it gets hot.) Sometimes that has looked a little worrisome to me but it always perks up in a few minutes:) Did you find anything out from your doctor?

      I hope your abdominal wound is continuing to heal! The wound vac was a bit of an ordeal for me. It worked amazingly well but I found the sponge dressings excruciating. I have a good tolerance for pain, but those dressing changes made me scream! My doctor finally had to have the nurse inject liquid lidocaine into the vac tube before dressing changes so that the tissue could be numbed before pulling out the sponge. I still cringe when I think about it. I hope your dressing changes are more comfortable! My doctor said my body’s painful response to the wound vac was unusual. Still, I am glad I used the vac. My scar isn’t even that bad considering how crazy big and scary that abdominal wound was to start with.

      Keep hanging in there!

      Take Care,
      Heidi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s