Adventure Videos

Episode 0: Introduction
May 2011

Episode 1: Snowboarding in Colorado
(First post-surgery snowboard trip)
May 2011

Episode 2: Backpacking in in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
(First post-surgery backpack trip)
May 2011

Episode 3: Backpacking Preparation
May 2011

Episode 4: Day Hike in Shadow Canyon, Boulder
June 2011

Episode 5, Part 1: Backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
June 2011

Episode 5, Part 2: Backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
June 2011

Episode 6: Return to Running
June 2011

Episode 7: Hiking Colorado’s Highest Peak: Mt. Elbert
July 2011

Episode 8: Ziplining at Crested Butte, Colorado
August 2011

Episode 9: Backpacking Oxford and Belford
August 2011

Episode 10: Catholes 101
August 2011

Episode 11: Backpacking in the Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
October 2011

Episode 12: First Post-surgery Outdoor Rock Climb
November 2011

Episode 13: Grizzly Peak Winter Hike
December 2011

Episode 14: A Christmas Caroling and Snowboarding Adventure
December 2011

Episode 15: Winter Trail Run at Horsetooth Rock
January 2012

Episode 16: A Day in the Life: Snowboarding
January 2012

Episode 17: Spring Rock Climbing in the Canyon
May 2012

Episode 18: Devils Tower Climb
July 2012

Episode 19: Climbing Road Trip
September 2012

Episode 20: Twin Sisters Hike
February 2013

Episode 21: Mt. Rainier Climb

18 thoughts on “Adventure Videos

  1. Hi Michelle,

    Do you mean as far as friction against the opening in my wafer that fits around my stoma? I haven’t had any issues with my stoma rubbing on that as I run. My stoma is an oval shape so I have to cut a custom hole in my wafer (moldables don’t work for me unfortunately), and I size it so that there is about 1/16″ to an 1/18″ of wiggle room for my stoma as mine expands and contracts a lot during peristaltic movement. Under that, I use an Eakin Cohesive Seal which turtlenecks around my stoma and provides a bit of a cushion too. I also always wear Comfizz briefs or boxers which holds everything in place really well through all the bouncing of running. Hope this helps.

    So glad you like the videos!


  2. Watching you describe your stlrggues with emptying into a bag I wondered if you’ve tried tucking the bag into the front of your pants and emptying while standing? I guess stoma placement would make a difference. Mine is above my belt line so that helps for the whole standing empty .Anyway keep on trekking! Cheers!

    1. Hi Ana,
      I only tried that technique once, but my output was so heavy that the bag came untucked, fell to the ground, and created a mess. I don’t think I had it tucked in tightly enough. My stoma is low, but I think it could still work. I will have to give it another try. On later trips, I discovered how handy it is to just use closed-end pouches when it is super cold out. Swapping them and packing out the old ones was easier than trying to empty a drainable pouch with frozen fingers. On warmer backpacking trips, I just dug a hole and emptied into that. Not the most fun in the middle of the night, but I got used to it. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Thank you so much for your upbeat videos and fascinating information. As I recently had a urostomy and have been recovering with great success (and blessed with cancer-free days), I am returning to regular activities and so pleased to be able to do most anything. My husband and I went horseback riding and enjoyed mineral baths and massages to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary just last week! We are looking forward to a cruise in Dec. so while exploring excursions, I saw zip lining which I’ve always wanted to try. My reaction was exactly like yours– YEAH!!!…then, but will it be OK? Your article has given me hope and confidence. Once again, thank you for this wonderful site and sharing your full and exciting life.

    1. Joanne,

      Happy belated anniversary! What a great way to celebrate. I am so glad to hear that you are returning to all the things you enjoy.

      The zip-lining will not be a problem at all. In fact, I just went again last weekend at a children’s camp where I volunteered for a week. I have noticed that the front of the harness pulls away from my belly when I sit and put weight on it while zipping. This actually creates space for my ostomy pouch. The harness barely touches my pouch in these cases. Have fun!


  4. im seeing a surgeon today i had resection 6 yrs ago and had problems since w constant diarrhea and pain and now my bowels stopped moving and i gained 20 pds in month how do i convince dr to give me illeostomy i cant live like this going to bathroom every 20 min

    1. Hi Martina,

      I hope your appointment goes well. I remember being worried that my surgeon might not agree to do my permanent ileostomy and would want me to try a j-pouch first which I had no interest in at all. Also, a doc at the hospital a few weeks prior had told me that since Remicade had ended my severe UC flare, I might not be able to find a surgeon willing to do an ileostomy. However, the Remicade gave me excruciating joint pain and ruined my quality of life. There is no way I would have chose to keep taking it. I was so afraid walking into that appointment that I would have to try to convince my surgeon of what I wanted. It was a total non-issue. He listened to my experiences, talked about the various surgery types and left it completely up to me. I am forever grateful for that! I would just speak from the heart and talk about your quality of life. Of course, the surgeon will have a huge depth of knowledge and experience and may see reasons that the surgery wouldn’t be a good option so you must take that into account too. It is always okay to get a second opinion as well. Good luck!

  5. martina–I have lived with a urostomy (bladder was full of cancer and totally removed) for two years now and am doing everything I had ever done before. Even though our situations are physically different, some of it is similar if you choose to have an external pouch. I hope you and your dr. are able to agree unless you have physical circumstances that exist which prevent the option you wish for.

  6. Encouraging, brave vids ! Thank you Heidi.
    I’m a 60 year old fanatic snowboarder, inline skater and jogger and i have a colostoma since 5 weeks. Due to coloncancer, i had to undergo a surgery where it appeared necessary to place this. I’m very glad to see that having a stoma doesn’t interfere too much with your everyday life sports activities, so that you wouldn’t be able to do them anymore. Very encouraging ! Keep up your good work on this terrific site !

    1. Hi Martin,

      Thanks for writing! Five weeks is still very early so worry not. Your ostomy will get easier to manage. I am so glad that you are finding the site helpful. Though I have had to slow down on posting a bit to allow time to work on some of my other passions in life (like getting back to making art,) I definitely plan to keep the blog going.

      I haven’t had much of a chance to get my snowboard out this year as the snow has not been great in Colorado. I have turned to my Nordic skis in the icy conditions instead. We are supposed to get a big storm in the next few days though so I am hoping for a powder day to end the season! I bet you will be hitting the slopes on your board next season no problem!

      Best wishes as you recover from surgery!


  7. Hello Heidi. I’m a retired nurse and I came upon your website while searching information about camping in bear country with an ostomy. My best friend who’s 65 has decided to join me in a 3 week camping adventure in the Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. As you know bears are everywhere. So it’s so important that you follow all the safety rules. Nobody wants to wake up in the middle of the night to find an uninvited guest. First I’d like to say bless your heart for putting out there such positive and encouraging videos. As a two time survivor of both uterine and most recently in 2013 breast cancer I understand how important it is that we all find humor and the drive to pursue life to its fullest regardless of the road bumps in life we may encounter. We just have to find a new way to achieve our goals. So back to my question. Does a ostomy pose any risk of attracting bears? You’ve heard the stories about how women shouldn’t camp while mensrating which is in part a myth from what I’ve read. Good personal hygiene and the use of tampons verses pads is recommended. However, I haven’t come across any information associated with the use of an ostomy. Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. God’s Blessings to you and prayers for continued good health.


    1. Hi Rommel,

      While I am no expert in bear behavior, I don’t worry about my ostomy in bear country. Ostomy pouches are generally pretty odor-proof while on. With a bear’s incredible olfactory abilities, I probably smell pretty interesting to a bear whether or not I have an ostomy.

      The times I do think about bears is when I have used ostomy pouches in camp as they are not as odor-proof as when attached to my belly. This might happen if I have to do an appliance change, or if I am using closed-end pouches and end up with full ones that I need to pack out.

      If I am in an area where there is high incidence of bear activity, I will at least hang the used pouches in a tree enclosed in an odor-proof OPSAK bag in a stuff sack as you might do with food. I almost always use a bear canister for my food even when it isn’t required as I find it so much easier and more secure (especially against rodents!) However, If I am already carrying a bear canister full of food, it is impossible to also fit used ostomy pouches in there (plus I would prefer not to store them with my food!) Unfortunately, carrying two bear canisters in my pack would not be practical. That is why I hang the ostomy waste.

      If I am in an area where bears are not frequent, I will put my full pouches in an odor-proof OPSAK bag and just sit it in on the ground a long distance away from my tent. I figure it isn’t a whole lot different than packing out used toilet paper or poop in areas that require people to pack out human waste in WAG bags or RESTOP bags. I don’t think most people put those things in their bear canister with their food. They just keep them as odor-proof as possible and either hang them or keep them a far distance from camp.

      Here is a link for the OPSAK bags. I don’t think they are completely odor-proof to animals, but I think they help.

      Before putting my pouches into an OPSAK, I put them in another regular Ziplock. This allows me to save the OPSAK bags after the trip to reuse as they are pricey and will last a whole season if treated gently. The OPSAK bag does a great job of holding in the odors. One great product that would help contain odors even more are OstoSolution seals. Capping the used pouches with these seals before putting them in the OPSAK bag really holds the waste odor in. The downside of this is that if you are going on a long trip, you would have to bring a lot of OstoSolution seals which adds weight and bulk to your pack. I tend to bring them on shorter trips, but not long ones as my pack is already too full.

      I had an interesting bear encounter a few summers ago that showed one bear’s interest (or I should say disinterest) in used ostomy supplies. My husband and I returned to camp one afternoon after climbing a peak only to find that our tent had been slashed apart by a black bear. There was nothing odoriferous in there… just two sleeping bags and Thermarests and a few socks. We hadn’t eaten or had any food in the tent at any time. We were using a bear-proof canister to store our food and toiletries and had stashed it a good distance away from camp. This bear had found the canister and had rolled it about 500 feet away. It took us a while to find it, but I wasn’t about to give up as my spare eyeglasses were in it! The container had huge teeth and claw marks in it but the bear was unable to get into it and had obviously given up and wandered off (or returned to our tent to chew it up out of spite ha ha.) Not far from where we had stored our bear-barrel, I had sat an OPSAK odor-proof bag full of used ostomy pouches next to a tree (I had decided not to hang them that day.) The bear did not touch it. I don’t know if it was because he couldn’t smell the contents or he just wasn’t interested… either way– it appeared that used ostomy supplies were low on this bear’s radar. Anyway, when we reported the incident to local wildlife officials, they told us that it was probably a habituated bear that had found tasty morsels in tents before and was now tearing into any unoccupied tents it found by sight even if they ended up being free of food or odors.

      Anyway, knock on wood, I have never had a black bear (or any critter for that matter) show any interest in used ostomy pouches when I have had them either hanging or stored on the ground in an OPSAK. Other than a short overnight in the Tetons, I haven’t backpacked in Grizz country since my ostomy though.

      Again, I am no expert on bears and human waste. You might run it by the rangers at a backcountry office to get their take. My guess is they probably don’t know as there isn’t a lot of info on ostomates in the wilderness out there. Maybe compare it to packing out human waste by the non-ostomy population if they don’t have experience with ostomies.

      I hope this helps. Have a great trip!


  8. Heidi,
    Thank you so much for talking about something that so many people don’t want to talk about. The course of my Ulcerative Colitis followed a path very similar to yours. After 15 years of managing an ileostomy there really isn’t anything I haven’t been able to do. At age 57 I’ve decided to section hike the Appalachian Trail with my sister starting this August. In preparing, my biggest concern has been managing my ileostomy on the trail. Your videos and comments have answered so many questions and have given me more confidence that I can do this with an ileostomy. Now all I have to worry about is my age…lol. Thanks again Heidi, keep loving life!


    1. Hi Sharon,

      Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing your story! I am glad the blog has been helpful for you! I have been soooo slow on blog correspondence lately as life has been wonderfully full. I too am planning for a longish backpacking trip soon. Due to the remoteness of our route in the Wind River Range of WY, we are planning on carrying 12-14 days of food with no resupply. That should be interesting!

      Have fun on the Appalachian Trail! I would love to do one of the major trails someday and would probably have to section-hike it as well due to work. I have my eye on the PCT or maybe the shorter John Muir Trail.

      Take Care,

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