About Us
Newsletters 2016
Newsletters 2015
 If you have any feedback on how we can make our new website better please do contact us. We would like to hear from you. 






DATE: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2017 6:30PM Gather, 7:00PM Dinner


Holiday Potluck and Silent Auction

Chicken, Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Bread, Beverages and Dinnerware supplied by the OAS. Please bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert. Also, we will be collecting non-perishable and canned goods for F.I.S.H. – our local foodbank. If you have an item for the silent auction, we’ll add it to the fun. All proceeds will be added to our grant for the 2018 Youth Rally. Cash & Checks accepted for the Silent Auction.





The documents contained within this newsletter are presented expressly for informational purposes only. In no way are any of the materials presented here meant to be a substitute for professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. ALWAYS check with your doctor.

To discontinue receiving a paper newsletter, contact Pat Walling at trainpatch@gmail.com




Our first Vacaville Holiday Potluck was a success. Despite room changes, gully washing rain and dark of night – our intrepid group found their way thru the maze of where are we going. From a delish potluck dinner to, too, too many desserts - we still found the time to catch up on everyone’s holiday plans and to help a new ostomate getting answers about the various appliances that will work when he gets his ostomy.


We delayed the auction to be incorporated into the one this month in Vallejo. Thank you all for coming and enjoying. The company was even way better than the food. We are all so thankful that our members all seem to be ok after the fire despite temporary evacuations. Our hearts go out to all who were affected.


DECEMBER HOLIDAY POTLUCK - Knowing the 21st is so close to Christmas and many of you may be traveling to spend the holiday with family, we are hoping for a good turnout for a fun evening.


Roasted chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, coffee, cold beverages and bread provided. Cutlery, plates and napkins also provided by the Ostomy Assn. of Solano.

  1. Bring side dish, appetizer or dessert (please bring your serving utensil).

  2. We will collect non-perishable and canned goods for F.I.S.H.

  3. Silent Auction – if you have an item to contribute, we will be thrilled to have it.

  4. Silent Auction – Cash and Checks accepted – all proceeds go to sponsor a camper(s) for the 2018 Youth Rally in July.

  5. Bring your significant other or family to enjoy. For the potluck and our meetings we have almost as many family members as ostomates. They are our loves and our support system.


January 17th is our next meeting. We hope that the Convatec representative will be our speaker. More to come in the January newsletter.


And speaking of the newsletter, I couldn’t have survived this past year without our wonderful Newsletter Editor, Pat. Her words and articles reach so many ostomates and are so greatly appreciated by all of us who receive her labor of love. And the other active members and family who help – Our two great Kaiser nurses Julie and Kathy who get us our meetings rooms and give wonderful support and consul to those who attend the meetings. And Julie who also is our Treasurer and gives countless hours and service to the OAS. Al, thank you for always being there to help get newsletter printed and mailed. And a BIG thank you to Brandy at the Solano American Cancer Society who provides the printing and postage. You make it so easy for us to process this each time. And last but not least, our spouses who help – Brenda who sends those lovely cards out to members who are under the weather and to the families who lose an ostomate. And my hubby Jim who brews that great Kona coffee, provides packing, loading and chauffeur services with donations to

V.I.D.A. in Emeryville. And thanks when he gets roped into doing even more.


My thanks and love to you one and all. And my hope to all who read this for a joyous holiday and health and happiness for all of 2018.


10 Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself Before My Ostomy

By Amy Oestreicher, featured on ostomyconnection.com

When I first got my ostomy, I felt very alone. I felt self-conscious of the smell and sound, and sometimes I longed for my old body. When I couldn't take self-loathing anymore, I decided to make friends with it. I reached out. I inquired about support groups in my area and realized there are many people like me. I realized my ostomy is a beautiful thing and has enabled me to do all the things I've been able to accomplish over the years. It is my uniqueness.

These are 10 things I would have liked to tell myself when I first had an ostomy - 10 things I didn't know but eventually learned, which I am so grateful for today:

1. What it was: I had no idea what an ostomy was before I had one. But I have a confession: I didn't realize exactly what it was until a year later! Coming out of multiple surgeries, I had so many bags and new anatomical surprises to think about that a little pink bulge on my belly seemed to be the least of my problems!

I've learned things in the past 10 years that have shocked, scared and relieved me, such as: you can't actually feel your stoma - no nerve endings! I've had three ostomies and four ileostomies over the years. I didn't realize how different they were. Once I learned about the differences and functions of each, I was better able to take care of them.

2. What my limits were: When I saw that I'd have to live life with a bag stuck to my side, I assumed I'd be "fragile" for the rest of my life. But believe it or not, there are so many active ostomates out there! Swimming, karate, ballet, yoga - I've done everything I did before my ostomy and more.

3. There are so many strong ostomates: I was privileged to be the Eastern regional recipient of the Great Comebacks® award and meet five other amazing ostomates doing incredible things. There is a huge, supportive ostomy community. Did you know Great Comebacks® was founded by former NFL linebacker Rolf Benirschke?

4. Ostomates excel at innovation and inventiveness: It turned out I was able to do all those things I thought I couldn't - but that didn't mean it was easy. Some of the best things in life take work, and that makes you appreciate it even more. Let's just say that ostomy wraps, stoma guards and pouch covers have become good friends of mine, all products that were created by ostomates.

I've also created a workshop for ostomy patients and healthcare professionals!

5. How Amazing My Body Is: I have a new respect for my body and the way it can function now.

6. Judgment Hurts, But Fear Hurts More: Stay informed and know the facts. The more I actually understood how an ostomy worked, the more I realized how wonderful it was. After that, I took it as my responsibility to educate others. Instead of wondering if I was being "judged" by others, I took it as a privilege to inform them.

7. Everything Is Connected: Take care of your full self, emotional, spiritual, mental and physical. If you're stressed, you might be bloated or feel pain or discomfort. Remember to take deep breaths in difficult times.

8. The People Who Love You, Love You: If you're just getting comfortable with your ostomy, remember that your support system loves you for who you are. You are more than your ostomy. Reach out when you feel alone and never forget how loved you are.

9. Eat Fresh: You are what you eat, so eat whole and nourishing foods. Your ostomy will thank you, and so will you!

10. Life Can Go On: Throughout the years, I've been strong, determined and willing to do whatever it took to stay alive. I've dealt with tubes, bags, poles, you name it. And if this ostomy is all that I'm left with after everything, then I am truly grateful. More than that, I thank my ostomy for enabling me to live life to the fullest, to my fullest. I call it my Harry Potter thunderbolt scar: a symbol of strength, courage, individuality and life.

There are a few things I didn't know before my ostomy. But what I look forward to most is everything left to learn. Thank you, ostomy, for making the world a wide open door once again.


My Story, A Stoma’s Perspective
by Patti and Junior Suler Ostomy Association of the Houston Area

My story is full of twists and turns (intestinal humor). All good stories begin at a point of great sadness or elation, wonderful enrichment, classy humor or somewhere in between. My story has it all, so where do I begin? This is an ostomy story, so it seems fitting to hear it from Junior, my stoma.—PS
Mom was very sick, so much so, she didn’t know how sick she really was. Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2004 at the age of 44, she was actually excited to hear that the disease had a name. She believed that now that she knew what was wrong, that it could be fixed. Sadly as the case is with most Inflammatory Bowel Disease stories, it was not so simple.
She struggled with medications, diets, tests and diarrhea for the next two years. Her personal health log
reflected bathroom trips between 15 to 30 times daily. Losing approximately 40 pounds due to malabsorption, she underwent numerous diagnostic colonoscopies. She even began providing her own custom music CDs to staff as she entered the procedure room. Although she could not hear the music, she wanted everyone to be relaxed so that only their best work was done.
It was Friday, the 13th in January 2006. Her colon perforated during the fourth colonoscopy procedure. Her large intestines were so diseased and damaged that they just shredded. It was her luckiest day as she realized later she could have experienced the perforation any time, anywhere, yet here she was—surrounded by trained medical personnel.
My name is Junior and I was created that day. Mom went in on Friday and went home with me, her new stoma, on the following Tuesday. We felt so much better after being sick for so long. We could eat!!
The surgery was dirty from the perforation and her belly looked like a lobster tail split open. It took six months for the wound to close completely healing from the inside out. Also, I was a tiny flush mounted guy and required a lot of finesse to pouch. Convexity became my best friend and Eakin rings my brother, but pouching had its problems. I could spring a leak during, bending, sitting, laying—well you get the idea.
We also learned that the original diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis was muddled a bit as the colon autopsy leaned towards Crohn’s. The options for a J-pouch were now off the table and the ten inches of rectum left behind as a place holder were no longer needed and would pose problems later on.
Mom returned to work after six weeks and began educating everyone about stomas. She shared the good newswith everyone just like a newly-born stoma evangelist. Waitress, guy waiting at the elevator, pre-meeting warm up and parking attendant—no one was safe from hearing the news of what happened. Over the top!! Her family gently let her know that not everyone needed to know about me right away, that maybe she needed to save some information for later or never.
She participated in monthly support groups and really enjoyed having others like her around. She launched and maintained a personal support web site and newsletter named after me “Junior’s Corner” for about five years.
She had a few more surgeries. A life-changing one was my revision to improve pouching and wear time. Now I could go out and play just like all the other stomas. Mom says I went from being a cocktail wiener to a big beef eater size!

Another surgery was done to remove my cousin “Left Behind” (rectum). A final surgery addressed a leakage problem in my old exit strategy (anus) left by cousin Left Behind.
Comparing herself to other mates, Mom felt like a slow learner and the journey seemed long and difficult.
Secretly, she wondered when she would feel like her ostomy was not driving her life. When would all this new stuff become second-hand? Patience, she heard that a lot. Everyone was different, everyone had a different path.
Mom feels that her transition was finally successful in 2011. Five years after her initial surgery, she took a vacation all by herself—to Hawaii from Texas. Planes, transfers, security, luggage, taxis, hotel, swimming, hiking, snorkeling, shopping—all kinds of new adventure rolled into one trip. She even took me up to the top of Diamond Head—hours away (she is a slow walker) from the restroom at the bottom.
She came back with a self-confidence that will never be taken away. Mom was infused with a new life
perspective. She became a Master Gardener, joined a community organic garden, volunteered to be the newsletter editor for her local support group, volunteered for landscaping projects, upped her church volunteer role, functions as a trained ostomy visitor, and continues her photography passion.
One of the most rewarding things she does is helping other ostomates and their families adjust to the new challenges. She smiled broadly when told a husband was advising his wife with her new ostomy—”don’t fret, look what all Patti does!”
Thanks to Ostomy Canada magazine via Ostomy Association of the Houston Area


Reality ET: Dietary Considerations After Ostomy
By Mary Lou Boyer, BSEd, RN, CWOCN Originally presented at Cleveland Clinic Florida

The Big Questions: What can I eat? What should I eat? Food is an important part of our lives and because of that one of the first questions patients ask, whether I am seeing them before surgery or after surgery is, “What will I be able to eat?”
Well, the good news is that there is no particular diet for a person with an ostomy. There are no specific “do’s” and “don’ts,” but at the same time I can’t just give a straightforward answer such as “EVERYTHING.” In most cases this is true, for most people with an ostomy there are few, if any, restrictions. However, everyone is unique and can tolerate different things. Some can tolerate everything and others need to be more careful. You might have even found out that you can actually tolerate more now that you could before surgery. Points to Consider: What surgery did you have?
What was the reason for your surgery? What other problems affect what you eat? What pre-existing conditions/restrictions are present such as diabetes, cardiac disease, allergies, or other medical problems?
However, it is important to always consider what the actual surgery is, what it is for, (in other words what was the diagnosis and reason for your surgery) and what other factors are involved—what other problems do you have that can affect what you eat. Each individual patient needs individual counseling and information, however, there are general guidelines that may be used for all patients.
First of all, I ask is there a particular diet that you have been on. If your diet has been restricted because of diabetes or cardiac disease, allergies or some other medical problem, that you need to stick to those restrictions regardless of whether you have had ostomy surgery or not.

Right After Surgery: Immediately you’ll be given NPO or nothing by mouth. Pain will be noted; where, when, how much? You may have an altered taste, decreased appetite and be put on a low residue diet.
After we have that part out of the way, we can then get down to the important discussion of what to do after surgery.
It takes a long time for your digestive system to fully recover after surgery so you may have noticed at first that you were not very hungry and felt full almost as soon as you started to eat. It takes awhile for you to feel hungry, but it is important to eat a well-balanced diet to maintain good nutrition and to keep bowel activity normal. Years ago the belief was that a patient with an ostomy must restrict fiber intake. When research demonstrated how important fiber and good overall nutrition is, modifications were made in the post-op instructions. Now we ask our patients to avoid foods high in fiber (such as raw vegetable, nuts, corn, or any foods with skin or seeds) only for the first two weeks. Low residue or soft
foods pass more easily through your intestines while they are healing. Keep Informed: Find out what part of your bowel was removed and how it affects your diet and absorption.




A Visit from St. Ostomy
by Marjorie Kaufman, Los Angeles (CA) Los Ostomy News; via Austin (TX) Austi-Mate [St. Louis Editor’s Note: Marjorie
Kaufman was poet laureate of the United Ostomy Association (the predecessor to UOAA) at least as far back as the 1960s.]Via
Ostomy Outlook, Ostomy Association of North Central Oklahoma, Nov-Dec 2015.

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the flat, There was general confusion including the cat.
The bathroom was strewn with the ostomy ware, That I had abandoned in utter despair.
The courage I’d had in the hospital bed, To follow instructions, had suddenly fled.
It all looked so strange, and uncommonly new; I swore I would never know quite what to do.
Now which goes to which, and what sticks to what? I fumbled each step, with my nerves overwrought.
And then in my anguish, I went to my room, To settle my brains for a night full of gloom.
With a household a-flutter in holiday matter, I shut out the sounds of excitement and chatter.
When out in the hallway I heard from below, The sound of a voice with a jolly “Hello.”
As I peeked through the door, up the stairway she came, And she smiled when she saw me, and called me by name.
And I, in my wonder, just couldn’t believe, That ostomy visits were made Christmas Eve.
And then in a twinkling she put me at ease, And said she could lessen my anxieties.
She was dressed all in white, in a form-fitting sheath, With nary a sign of what lay underneath.
So trim and well-groomed, a delight to behold, No one would suspect, unless they’d been told.
That standing before me so calm and serene, Was the very first ostomate I’d ever seen.
Her manner so friendly, with faith and good cheer, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to fear.
My questions, like leaves in a hurricane flew; And with each knowing answer, my confidence grew.
Then under her guidance each part fell in place, As I conquered the problem I’d just failed to face.
And all of a sudden I knew I was free, To live just as normal and happy as she.
For only an ostomate is really akin, To the fears and frustrations that lie deep within.
Her time and her friendship so willing to give, Will keep me remembering as long as I live.
And my family was grateful for what she had done, For once more the evening was festive and fun.
Now each time I meet her, more clearly I see, The “Saint” who came calling with blessings for me



Thanks again Pat for including this great poem again this year. I see it being wonderful tradition.




DATE: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2017 6:30PM Gather 7PM Dinner

HOLIDAY POTLUCK OAS will provide the Roasted Chicken, some sides, Drinks, plates and utensils. Please bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert.

If you have an item that can be included in our silent auction, all contributions are welcome and will raise funds for the Youth Rally. We will be collecting non-perishable goods for the Solano foodbank F.I.S.H.

PLEASE CALL ROCHELLE WITH HOW MANY WILL BE COMING so we can order the proper amount of chicken. Family, Significant Others and Care Givers are welcome. If you know what dish you will bring, that information will be helpful too, but not required.


WHERE: KAISER VACAVILLE, 1 Quality Drive, Bldg. B, Conference Rooms 3 & 4 First Floor. Coming from the main entrance - on the left past pharmacy.


The documents contained within this newsletter are presented expressly for informational purposes only. In no way are any of the materials presented here meant to be a substitute for professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. ALWAYS check with your doctor.

To discontinue receiving a paper newsletter, contact Pat Walling at trainpatch@gmail.com



As in the past we will be celebrating the holidays with a potluck at our Kaiser, Vallejo meeting this year – Wednesday, December 20. Please save the date. NEW THIS YEAR – HOLIDAY POTLUCK AT KAISER, VACAVILLE on Wednesday, November 15th. Both – we gather and set up at 6:30 and start dinner at 7. And yes you are welcome to attend both if that’s convenient for you. Your spouse, family, significant others and care givers are also invited.


VACAVILLE – Since this is our first potluck at this location, could you please do me a favor and call Rochelle (707-447-0384) by November 12th as to the number in your group. We need to make sure that we have a total to base our chicken order. If you know at that time what appetizer/side dish/dessert you will bring, please let me know – so far we have a fruit salad and I will adjust the sides we buy with the chicken as your information arrives.


We will try all the fun stuff we’ve done in the past at the potlucks with the Vallejo group in the past like the silent auction and foodbank donations. And yes I will try to get my white chocolate fudge done for the auction. In the past we have had items go for as little as $1 and up to $50 (proudly that was a bidding war for my fudge). So, don’t forget your checkbook (we accept cash too!). All monies go to the fund for sending a camper(s) to the July 2018 Youth Rally, the only grant we award each year.


Regretfully, our speaker from Convatec couldn’t make the October meeting, however we are working on January in Vallejo and possibly February in Vacaville. Also at the November potluck, we will discuss possibly moving the future Feb Vacaville dates to March.


Again we thank Lynda Scheibel for the donation of the darling Halloween aprons. The auction monies went to the Youth Rally Fund.


PLEASE CONSIDER volunteering for positions we have open within our officers and board members. Again, you would normally only spend an hour or two each month to help. Please call Rochelle to discuss.


As always, we hope this letter finds you and yours in good health and able to enjoy the cheer of the holiday season. Hope to see you at one or two potlucks!



An Ostomate’s Thanksgiving
I am Thankful:
For medical technology which has given me renewed life, free from pain and restrictions.
For new developments in appliances which allow me to live life normally.
For family, who without complaint, endured months of worry, expense and interruptions in
their lives during the course of my illness.
For friends whose acceptance made the road to recovery easier.
For that little “rose bud” that sputters and spurts, gurgles and growls, and is my lifeline.
For my ability to accept and adapt to this new life, and a wish to live that life to its fullest meaning.
For my ostomy group which provides the latest in information and supplies, an opportunity for new friends and a way
to help others.
Thanks to The Town Karaya, Southern Nevada via Contra Costomy News,



Do It Yourself Therapy
Forwarded by the Solano Ostomy News, via The New Outlook, UOA of Chicago, Dec,13 [Note a similar article by this
name was printed in our April, 2011 newsletter; this version is a bit expanded and its message bears repeating.]

For most people, the mental affliction any handicap causes can be much harder to overcome that the
physical disability itself. Some strong willed people adjust readily. However, even they had to exercise selfcontrol and positive thinking to achieve their good attitude. If you meet someone who is apparently carefree, you can be sure it is not because his problem is lesser. Chances are she has won. She will continue to win her mental battles with depression and pessimism.
The world often sees us as we see ourselves. If someone with a problem feels embarrassed, the problem
may not show, but the embarrassment will show. Others will feel embarrassed for him. If you are happy, cheerful and respect yourself, the people you meet will respond to your moods. But of course, you knew this after your first three weeks in first grade. Your stoma does not define who you are; it does not make you; nobody sees your stoma, it does not show. An attitude of withdrawal turns people off. The solution is forgetting about oneself. Be completely interested in other people. You may find a person that has greater problems than you do, virtually everyone else. You will be so intent on the feelings of the other person that you will forget your own problems.
Dale Carnegie wrote books entitled,
How to Stop Worrying, and How to Make Friends and Influence
People. These were written in the early 20th century but have enormous applications today with us. We were manufactured to serve other people. We can only fulfill our true destiny when we do. It is easier to be critical than correct.

Caring for Excoriated Skin

by Diane Duran, CWOCN, Edited by B. Brewer,

UOAA Update Oct 2011


If, after removing your wafer, you find your skin to be red, denuded of skin, painful or sensitive, you have excoriated skin. Excoriated skin is often caused by pulling off

your wafer too vigorously.

The correct way to remove your barrier is to simply hold down your skin and gently pull the wafer down and away from your skin. If needed, you may use an adhesive

remover pad and, going from side to side, carefully take

off the old barrier.

After gently washing the stoma and surrounding skin with warm water, dry the skin thoroughly. You may use a hair dryer set to cool. Don’t rub the skin when drying...just pat it. Then, sprinkle the skin with a quality ostomy powder (like

Hollister Adapt or ConvaTec Stomahesive powder)...dust off the excess and then you have the option to seal the powder in with a non-alcohol containing skin prep.

Wipe the skin with the skin prep until you can’t see any more powder. But be careful; the new extended wear barriers do not adhere well when applied to skin prepared with a skin prep. In this case, the powder on the skin alone will work just fine.

Then, if you wear a two-piece system with a square barrier: Instead of placing your wafer squarely on your skin, rotate it 45° to a diamond shape. With the next wafer

change, put it on squarely, and rotate every other change.

This gives at least part of your excoriated skin a good chance to heal. Putting a barrier on your skin actually enhances healing. Covered skin heals

faster than bare skin, so, don’t feel that you have to air it out for skin to

heal properly. And remember, be gentle with your skin and it will be good to you.



Hints for Men
From Broward Beacon, Fall Quarter, 2016, from Mayo Clinic Letter and the Space Center Shuttle Blast , via The New Outlook,
Ostomy Association of Greater Chicago, September, 2016.

A common problem for male ostomates is the location of their belts. One man who had trouble with his belt catching on the top edge of the appliance offered these helpful hints: When applying your wafer/flange, instead of placing it with the top edge square with your beltline, rotate it 45 degrees, so the edges point up and down like a diamond, that way the belt goes across the top corner of the appliance and holds the wafer/flange in place. Also, try cutting the hole in your appliance closer to the top of the skin barrier, causing the appliance to adhere lower on your abdomen and be farther away from the beltline; or try rounding off the square edges of the flange with scissors, decreasing the chance of the belt catching on the corners.



Pillow Talk

by E. McConnell, CWOCN, Snohomish WA; via Middle GA

Ostomy Rumble; and North Central OK Ostomy Outlook


Did you ever try to snuggle into a comfortable position in bed only to find that your tummy flab or pouching system seems to pull when you are on your side? Do not let it cramp your style. Happiness could just turn out to be a pillow. Try tucking one across your front and lean into it for firm support. If the pillow is too soft, first roll it like a bolster. A flat pillow placed between the legs in such a way that one end is brought up high enough to support the lower abdomen also helps to relieve or

prevent any strain.

If you lie on your back, try a pillow under your knees for added comfort. If your feet get cold during the night, remember that pillows are not just for heads anymore. A

soft pillow on the foot of the bed is perfect for tootsies to snuggle under.

Try placing a pillow on top of you, under the sheet if you are stuck in a motel where bed clothing is inadequate for lowered temperatures it will warm you up in a hurry.

Even placing a pillow alongside your body helps. You know there are soft pillows, firm pillows, goose downs, satin jobs, king size, crib size, wedges, rings, triangles

anything your little heart desires.

Movie queens surround themselves with heaps of pillows.

Turks perch atop them with their legs crossed, tough guys slam their fists into them, kids have pillow fights and dogs and cats curl up and sleep on them. As people with

ostomies, we started out as pillow people, one pressed firmly into our back to keep us on our sides, one under the arm with the IV in it, one clenched

tightly in our arms across the incision when we were made to cough and even

one under our bottoms when we painfully tried to sit up. If you have forgotten about pillows, just remember they are a natural for people with ostomies. Try them you might just like them.


Word of the day...CHANGE
CHANGE does double duty as a verb and a noun and even an
adjective. Change money, your clothes, your mind, or observe change.
Truly an all-purpose word. Ostomates encounter this word a lot. We
undergo a change in our bodies, we have to change how we eat, how
we eliminate just for starters. We have to face daunting changes and
learn so much about how to look after the basics. Many undergo a
significant change in outlook and cope with new change of outlook, a
change in spirit.
These day to day changes evolve a whole new set of norms. The
word is pivotal to our everyday lives. Change is invasive, it’s
pervasive, it’s intrusive, it’s good, it’s bad, it’s temporary, it’s
permanent, it’s welcome, it’s avoidable, we like it, we hate it, but we
cannot ever seem to control it. Some of us accept it, many of us try to
deny it. But as the old saying goes— “Nothing is more certain than
change.” It’s the one constant. Becoming an ostomate is life
changing. Accepting change is key to coping.
Thanks to
Ottawa Ostomy Newsletter, via
Inside/Out, Winnipeg Ostomy Associatio


Kidney Stones and the Ileostomate

By Jill Conwell, RNET, Corpus Christi, TX.

Kidney stones are fairly common medical problems. They occur in about 5 percent of the population. They are more common in men with a sedentary lifestyle and in families with a history of kidney stones. The average age of first occurrence is about 40, but they can occur at any age. For ulcerative colitis patients, the incidence of developing kidney stones is about double that of the rest of the population. For ileostomates, the incidence is 20 times greater.

There are two basic types of kidney stones; uric acid and calcium. Both may occur in ileostomates since the underlying cause is dehydration. Uric acid stones are more frequent. One reason for this is the chronic loss of electrolytes, producing acid urine. The stones may vary in size and shape, some being as small as grains of sand, while others entirely fill the renal pelvis. They also vary in color, texture and composition.

Symptoms during the passage of a kidney stone include bleeding due to irritation, cramping, abdominal pain, vomiting and frequent cessation of ileostomy flow. When ileostomy flow stops, distinguishing between an obstruction versus a kidney stone may be difficult since the symptoms are similar. Treatment of most kidney stones is symptomatic and in most cases the stone passes spontaneously through the urinary tract. Medication for the spasms is usually administered. The urine should be strained in order to collect the stone for analysis. Once the composition of the stone is deter-mined, steps should be taken to prevent recurrence of an attack. The physician will prescribe medication or dietary modifications depending on the type of stone. The best preventative measure is to drink plenty of fluids (8 glasses) every day. If the urine appears to be concentrated, increase fluids and use a sport drink that is rich in electrolytes to replaces losses.

Improvising...or Fixing a Leak in a Hurry

If you do “spring a leak,” especially when away from home, it can be a cause of panic. Being prepared can help you keep your cool. Wearing a pouch cover provides extra protection. One person noted that when he had a leak near the seal, he was able to stuff several folded tissues between the pouch and cover. This absorbed the leakage and kept him going for 90 minutes until he was able to get back home and change.
A pouch cover has the advantage of soaking up perspiration on a hot day., Perspiration can quickly undermine the best adhesives. A good ostomy powder can help soak up moisture too. Lacking this, corn starch or baby powder is equally effective. Some people always carry Band-Aids with them. One woman said she used the tape to mend a small tear in the pouch. If worked so well that she forgot about the makeshift repair until her regular time to change pouches.
One ileostomate told about his pouch filling with gas while he was hurrying to catch a plane, and he didn’t have time to stop in the restroom. He used a pin to poke a hole in the top of his pouch. By pressing his arm against his body, he was able to avoid an emergency until he could safely use the restroom on the plane.
Another ileostomate told about using a disposable diaper to wrap around her appliance. It kept her safe until she could get home and change. Individually packaged alcohol wipes or towelettes are easily carried and are great helpers in cleaning up an emergency. Best of all though, take precautions to try to avoid having an emergency.
Thanks to
The Ostomy Rumble, Ostomy Support Group of Middle Georgia


Maintaining Health and Wellness:

“Diet Talk” is
everywhere. Be careful with fad diets and fad foods. Eat a
well-rounded diet. Moderation is the key. Natural vitamins
are more beneficial than are artificial. Make sure
supplements are readily absorbed. Be careful with herbal
preparations. Take only medications prescribed for you.
Tell your pharmacist, dentist and any physician that you
have had bowel resections so they can prescribe or
dispense the right kind of medication for you.
Thanks to
UOAA Update, Fall 2016





 What did our parents do to kill boredom before the internet? I asked my 26 brothers and sisters and they didn’t know either.
 Laughter is good exercise. It’s like jogging on the inside.
 Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.







700 MAIN ST. SUITE 102, SUISUN CITY, CA 94585-2493


MARCH 2017





SPEAKER: Margaret McCarthy, CWCMS


PROGRAM: Shield HealthCare


REFRESHMENTS: Debbie Antonio






The documents contained within this newsletter are presented expressly for informational purposes only. In no way are any of the materials presented here meant to be a substitute for professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. ALWAYS check with your doctor.

To discontinue receiving a paper newsletter, contact Pat Walling at trainpatch@gmail.com





A BIG thank you goes out to our speaker last month in Vacaville – Margaret McCarthy, Territory Representative for Shield HealthCare. Margaret had wonderful informational handouts about Shield (so helpful for those of us who may not currently order our ostomy supplies from Shield). The questions raised by our small group were answered and expanded with more information each time. Although Shield is the medical supplies fulfillment organization for Kaiser & Sutter, anyone can order from Shield and use their services. And they have a new ostomy resource, Laura Cox. Shield found Laura on her popular blog and can now be reached at asklaura@shieldhealthcare.com and at www.shieldhealthcare.com/osotmylife .


And what a wonderful supporter of the Solano area we found Margaret to be. When she showed us the terrific Emergency Ostomy Kit given to patients by Shield, I remarked of how hard it is to get our support info out to patients as it is the rarity these past years (HIPAA, short hospital stays, patients overwhelmed, etc.). I inquired if our brochure could be added to the kit. It was an enthusiastic YES. What a great contact Margaret has turned out to be! And she is so kind to come to our group twice in one month’s time by being our speaker this month in Vallejo. Thank you again Margaret.


We missed our two favorite Vacaville nurses at the meeting. Kathy was at the WOCN conference and regretfully, Michelle has been ill. Hope you get better Michelle and we look forward to seeing you both in June. We had an ostomate, Jimmy K show up at the meeting from a suggestion made by one of our newsletter recipients. Welcome to Jimmy – you were a delight and we hope you choose to join us again. And to the lady who rode with Jimmy and gave him our information, please call me let me know who to thank.


More thanks to Sharon R for the massive, delish goodies at the meeting. We are all so thrilled to see you getting out on that knee and being accompanied by that dashing guy. And it was again so wonderful to get to visit with Frank and Jean. We all owe them so very much for their time and contributions in making the Ostomy Assoc of Solano a viable and continuing source of support and information to our local ostomates. Al & Brenda will skip the Vallejo meeting – a rarity and a deserved break for them as they have been so great in coming and supporting both meeting locations for the past year.


Another Thank You goes to Pat Walling. Not only is she just super in getting the newsletter emailed to me with terrific content, Pat included in this newsletter a


poignant and unsolicited article below – Note from the Editor. She said it all so much better than I could ever hope to. Thank you, Pat and our wishes to you and Rich for better health.



Note from the Editor


As Rochelle noted last month in her letter to the membership, it is really a very rewarding experience to volunteer to a position for the Ostomy Association of Solano. When I first joined OAS I pledged NOT to get involved. With a husband with Alzheimer's disease I just knew it would be too much work. Let me tell you the truth, I am enjoying the work I do for this wonderful group of people as your newsletter editor and I plan to continue for a while.

I do encourage the members that think they can't devote the time to an office to look at what you are doing now and you will probably find things you never thought you'd have time to do before you started. Our board needs your help and Rochelle has been the best president for us, that goes without saying, but she's right. Some new blood flowing through the board’s veins is just what the Doctor ordered. Please step up to the plate and help.




Reprinted from Ostomy Outlook, Ostomy Association of North Central Oklahoma and Contra Costomy News, August 2015


This story happened a while ago in Dublin and, even though it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcok tale, it is true, OR IS IT?

John Bradford, a Dublin University student, was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a very dark night and in the midst of a big storm.

The night was rolling on and no car went by. The storm was so strong and he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him. Suddenly, he saw a car slowly coming towards him and then stop.

John, desperate for shelter, and without thinking about it, got into the car and closed the door...Only to realize there was nobody behind the wheel and the engine wasn't on.

The car started moving slowly. John looked at the road ahead and saw a curve approaching. Scared, he started to pray, begging for his life. Then, just before the car hit the curve, a hand appeared out of nowhere through the window and turned the wheel. John, paralyzed with terror, watched as the hand came through the window, but never touched or harmed him.

Shortly thereafter, John saw the lights of a pub appear down the road. So, gathering strength, he jumped out of the car and ran to it. Wet and out of breath, he rushed inside and started telling everybody about the horrible experience he had just had. A silence enveloped the pub when everybody realized he was crying...and wasn't drunk.

Suddenly, the door opened and two other people walked in from the dark and stormy night. They like John, were also soaked and out of breath. Looking around and seeing John Bradford at the bar, one said to the other ...”Look, Paddy...there's that idiot that got in the car while we were pushing it!”


Vitamin B12 Replacement Therapy

by Bob Baumel, Ostomy Association of North Central


Vitamin B12 is, under normal conditions, absorbed in only a small section of the terminal small intestine (ileum), raising the possibility of B12 deficiency if that

section of ileum has been removed surgically or damaged by disease. People who may have lost that portion of ileum include some ileostomates, people who had a failed J-pouch or Kock pouch, and some people with urinary diversions (especially continent urinary diversions) made using the terminal ileum. A condition such as Crohn’s disease may have damaged the terminal ileum, even if it hasn’t been removed surgically.

Vitamin B12 is necessary for many metabolic processes including development

of red blood cells, and also maintains normal functioning of the nervous system.

Deficiency causes anemia (reduced oxygen carrying capacity of the blood resulting in fatigue) and can also cause nervous system damage. It’s worth noting that folic

acid (another B vitamin) can correct the anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency but will not correct the nerve damage caused by B12 deficiency. So it’s important to

get enough vitamin B12.

If you think you are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, you can ask your doctor to check your serum (blood) B12 level. This test can be added easily to routine blood

testing. If your ability to absorb vitamin B12 by the normal pathway involving the terminal ileum has been impaired, you can supplement the vitamin by three basic methods:

By injection:

This method bypasses the normal gastro-intestinal process of B12 absorption by inserting it into the body by intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. In cases of serious B12 deficiency, this method should be used first in order to build up the B12 level as rapidly as possible; then, the patient may switch to one of the other methods if desired. B12 injections may be self administered in the same way that diabetic patients can give themselves insulin shots. Maintenance therapy may

require only one B12 injection per month.


This method also bypasses the normal gastro-intestinal absorption process, as vitamin B12 can be absorbed through nasal mucous membranes. The nasal

form of B12 was developed first as a nasally applied gel and later a true nasal spray (brand name Nascobal®). This product is marketed by the company

Par Specialty Pharmaceuticals, who promotes it as the only FDA approved form of vitamin B12 besides the injectable form (Note: FDA approval isn’t relevant to oral B12, discussed below, because the FDA doesn’t regulate oral vitamin sales). Nasal B12 can be effective but, because one company has sole rights to distribute it in the U.S., it can be an expensive way to get your vitamin B12.


Until recently, doctors believed that B12 taken orally was useless to people who lack the normal absorption mechanism involving the terminal ileum. That opinion has changed, however, as research has revealed that even in such people, when a large dose of vitamin B12 is taken orally, a small fraction (typically around 1%) gets absorbed by passive diffusion through the gut.

Therefore, you may absorb an adequate amount of B12 by taking a big enough oral dose—a typical recommended dosage is 1000 micrograms per day. Vitamin B12 tablets in large sizes of 1000 micrograms or more are available inexpensively without a prescription and are also quite safe (there is no known toxicity to vitamin B12, even in considerably larger dosages, and even in people with normal ability to absorb the vitamin). Oral B12 can thus be a safe, easy and effective way to get the vitamin. It may not work, however, in people with a severely shortened intestine (short bowel syndrome), who may therefore have to use one of the first two methods listed above. 4

Notes on Oral Forms of Vitamin B12

Many of the available oral preparations of vitamin

B12 in sizes of 1000 micrograms or more are marked as either “sublingual” or “time release.”

The time release versions should definitely be avoided. Considering the small

fraction of vitamin B12 that gets absorbed (in people who lack the normal pathway for B12 absorption), delaying that absorption further makes no sense. The sublingual versions do “work,” although there’s no evidence that this vitamin can be absorbed through membranes under the tongue, so the “sublingual” form is basically a gimmick.

Effectiveness of oral B12 depends only on the dosage. So you can just buy the lowest cost version available at the desired dosage (whether a “sublingual” form or regular tablets),as long as it isn’t a time release preparation.




How Fiber Affects an Ileostomy
by Kay L. Peck, Registered Dietitian, Napa Valley, CA


Whether or not to include fiber, and to what extent, should be based on the person’s tolerance of foods. The small intestine has a remarkable capacity to adapt. Matter/digested food in the small intestine is quite watery, and after it moves into the large intestine, a good portion of the water is reabsorbed into the body. Most fiber is indigestible material from plants that acts like sponge, soaking up water and increasing the bulk of the intestinal contents—making matter move through the system more quickly.
In a person with a colon, fiber is essential to preventing constipation and keeping a person “regular.” This is the main function of fiber. Another theory about fiber is that it promotes mucosal growth, thus keeping intestines healthier,
promoting gut function. Usually, a person without a colon; i.e., with an ileostomy, doesn’t have a problem with constipation—in fact it is virtually impossible, and may have mostly watery stools or diarrhea.
Again, over time, a person may adapt, especially if the last section of the small bowel—the ileum—is still intact.
Consuming too much fiber or insoluble fiber may aggravate a person’s diarrhea or watery stools. If this is the case for you, limiting insoluble fiber, such as bran, popcorn hulls, seeds, nuts, skin, stringy membrane parts of fruits and vegetables may be helpful. However, another type of fiber—soluble—may be beneficial to someone with an ileostomy.
The function of soluble fiber is to make intestinal contents thicker and can actually prevent diarrhea. This fiber is found in oatmeal, barley, dried beans, peas, Metamucil and in the pulp of fruits and vegetables.
Just a side note—I worked with a woman years ago who had short bowel syndrome. All of her colon and a significant part of the small bowel had been removed. She found that adding pectin—Certo, which is used to make jam and jelly—to her daily diet helped her to minimize diarrhea. She also added a little applesauce every day.

Thanks to The New Outlook, Ostomy Association of Greater Chicago






Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand Names?
MedicineNet.com—November 2015
Medical Author: Melissa Stoppler, M.D. — Medical Editor: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D

Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs that have exactly the same dosage, intended use, effects, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug. In other words, their

pharmacological effects are exactly the same as those of their brand-name counterparts.

An example of a generic drug, one used for diabetes, is metformin. A brand name for metformin is Glucophage. (Brand names are usually capitalized while generic names are not). A generic drug, one used for hypertension, is metoprolol, whereas a brand name for the same drug is Lopressor.

Many people become concerned because generic drugs are often substantially cheaper than the brand

name version. They wonder if the quality and effectiveness have been compromised to make the less expensive products. The FDA (U. S. Food and Drug Administration) requires that generic drugs be as safe and effective as brand-name drugs.

Actually, generic drugs are only cheaper because the manufacturers have not had the expenses of developing and marketing a new drug. When a company brings a new drug onto the market, the firm has already spent substantial money on research, development, marketing and promotion of the drug. A patent is granted that gives the company that developed the drug an exclusive right to sell the drug as long as the patent is in effect.

As the patent nears expiration, manufacturers can apply to the FDA for permission to make and sell generic versions of the drug; and without the startup cost for development of the drug, other companies can afford to make and sell it more cheaply. When multiple companies begin producing and selling a drug, the competition among them can also drive the price down even further.

So there’s no truth in the myths that generic drugs are manufactured in poorer-quality facilities or are inferior in quality to brand-name drugs. The FDA applies the same standards for all drug manufacturing facilities, and many companies manufacture both brand-name and generic drugs. In fact, the FDA estimates that 50% of generic drug production is by brand-name companies.

Another common misbelief is that generic drugs take longer to work. The FDA requires that generic drugs work as fast and as effectively as the original brand-name products.


Sometimes generic versions of a drug have different colors, flavors, or combinations of inactive ingredients that the original medications do not have. Trademark laws in the United States do not allow the generic drugs to look exactly like the brand-name preparation, but the active ingredients must be the same in both preparations, ensuring that both have the same medicinal effects.

Thanks to Vancouver (CAN) Ostomy HighLife and The Pouch, April 2016






Urostomy Questions and Answers
By Juliane Eldridge, RN, CETN via Tri-State Ostomate, Keokuk, IA, and The Pacesetter,St. Paul Ostomy Association ,
St. Paul, MN, November/December 2015

Q: Why do urostomates occasionally notice blue discoloration in a urostomy pouch or overnight drainage bag?
A: Be assured there is nothing wrong with the appliance. In recent laboratory tests conducted by
ConvaTec, the blue color was found to be the result of normal bacterial decomposition of an essential amino acid called tryptophan. There is no clinical evidence, according to the article in the American Journal of Nursing, to indicate that the production of indigo blue is harmful or that dietary tryptophan should be limited. If you are concerned, please talk with your doctor. Tryptophan is part of the regular intake of dietary protein. As it passes through your system, it changes to a blue color when it finally oxidizes in the urostomy pouch.

Green Bay Area Ostomy Support Group Page 7 of 12 March-April 2016
Q: Why are fluids so important for the urostomates?
A: People with urinary diversion no longer have a storage area (bladder) for urine. Therefore, urine should flow from the stoma as fast as the kidneys can make it. In fact, if your urinary stoma has no drainage for even an hour during the day, it is time for concern. The distance from the stoma to the kidney is markedly reduced after urinary diversion surgery. Any external bacteria have a short route to the kidney. As kidney infections can occur rapidly, and be devastating, prevention is essential.
Wearing clean appliances and frequent pouch emptying are vital. Equally important is adequate fluid
intake, particularly fluids that acidify the urine and decrease problems of odor. In warm weather, with increased activity or with a fever, fluids should be increased even more to make up for body losses due to perspiration and increased metabolism.
It is important that you be aware of the symptoms of a kidney infection: elevated temperature; chills; low back pain; decreased urine output; and cloudy, bloody urine. Ileal conduits normally produce mucous threads in urine, which give a cloudy appearance, but bloody urine is a danger sign.
Thirst is a great index of fluid needs. If you are thirsty, drink up! Also, develop the habit of sampling every time you see a water fountain



Running Out of Brain Space
Reuters; via UOAA Update, September 2015 via Ostomy Outlook,

Ostomy Association of North Central Oklahoma, OK, 11-12, 2015

There could be a simple reason that people tend to forget things as they grow older. They run out of
mental storage space. An article published in the
Journal of Developmental Psychology says age-related memory loss may not be due to a decline in information- processing abilities, as a commonly held theory goes, but rather to limited information-storing space in our brains.
Researchers from the University of California at Riverside examined 778 healthy subjects aged 6 to 76.
They were given tests to assess their working memory, verbal recall and visual/spatial tasks. In these tests, they were asked to recall information learned recently or to process information by categorizing it.
They found that memory-processing ability was not linked to age, but their simple recall abilities were.
Based on the subjects’ test scores, the study suggests that our ability to store and retrieve information from memory improves throughout childhood, but peaks at about age 45 and goes downhill from there on. In other words, we have a limited amount of space for storing memories and at a certain point we just run out of room.
However, the researchers point out that memory storage capacity varies from person to person, so declines in recall ability may occur later for some people than others.



From Contra Costomy News December 2016


Electrolytes come from the food and liquids we consume. Our body cells, particularly our muscles, use the minerals: sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Together with water, these form electrolyes which transmit electrical impulses along nerves and for muscle contraction. Leg cramps area a common signal that your electrolytes are out of balance.

Maintaining the correct concentrations of electrolytes in the cells is essential for functions such as moving, regulating your heart and breathing, thinking and seeing.

While exercising, sweating, vomiting or having diarrhea dehydrate you, drinking too much water can cause you to over-water your system and dilute your electrolyte balance.

Sports drinks are the popular choice for rehydrating but contain many chemicals and sugars. Making your own rehydrating drinks using natural food choices is easy, tasty and more beneficial. Here's a recipe you can build on:

  • 3 cups coconut water (or 3 cups filtered water + 1 cup orange)

  • 1 cup filtered water

  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup (or to taste)

  • ¼ tsp sea salt or real salt (no table salt)

Citrus fruits are rich in electrolytes and lemons have the most. Raw honey and real maple syrup do not have the added fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors. Sea salt (especially Pink Himalayan Salt) is rich in several trace minerals that our bodies need to survive (specifically sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium). Coconut water is high in potassium, 13 times higher than Gatorade and has less sugar.








700 MAIN ST. SUITE 102, SUISUN CITY, CA 94585-2493






PROGRAM: Margaret McCarthy, Shield Health Care

REFRESHMENTS: Sharon & David Rico



Bldg. B, Conference Rooms 3 & 4, 1st Floor, On your Left - Past the Pharmacy.


Lot C 4 or 5 on the East Ackerly Drive has the most Handicap Parking. If you park there, enter at the West Medical Bldg. B. Turn left at the elevator and the Conference rooms are on your right past the restrooms and before the Pharmacy.



To discontinue receiving a paper newsletter, contact Pat Walling at trainpatch@gmail.com


The documents contained within this newsletter are presented expressly for informational

purposes only. In no way are any of the materials presented here meant to be a substitute for professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. ALWAYS check with your doctor.





We need the Rain. We love having the Rain. However, all at once with wind gusts up to 55mph is just too much. Wisely our January speaker, Jill Lowden of Coloplast cancelled as her drive from Folsom would have been crazy bad. And as I called our members to inform them of the cancellation of the meeting, many of you were relieved not to be driving in that ugly weather also. We have tentatively rescheduled Jill’s presentation for April 19th. I know all of you will be looking forward to seeing what exciting product items Coloplast will have to tempt us at that time.


As announced last year, (isn’t that fun to say?) our speaker, Margaret McCarthy, Shield HealthCare, for Feb 15th in Vacaville is also our speaker on March 15th in Vallejo. This will be a first for us to have same speaker at back to back meetings since having established our Vacaville venue last year. And such a good one, as so many of our group are Kaiser members who use Shield services. Not only will Margaret be able to answer your questions on coverage & reimbursement, she will also give us information about Laura Cox, Sheild’s ostomate author of their blog.


We need more attendees at the Vacaville meetings. You asked to have a meeting closer to those of you in East Solano, so let’s show a larger response. If you need a ride, call me. If you have a suggestion to make the Kaiser Vacaville location better for your situation, call me.


Our annual dues letters are in process and may even beat this newsletter to your mailbox. Save yourself a stamp. Come to the Vacaville meeting on the 15th with your check and enjoy the information about Shield. If not attending in February, please get your check in the mail. And we will hope to see you at Margaret’s second presentation to our group at Kaiser Vallejo.


Please let us know what speakers/subjects you would like to have in 2017. And better yet, let us know if you can volunteer as a board member or officer. The selection of our guiding lights will start in March. And as I have hoped in the past and really need for the future is newer members to volunteer. My health has significantly slowed me down these past few months, and I may need to back off my commitments. President of this wonderful group has been fabulous this past 16 years, but we need some new blood, new ideas and energy. Please call me if you are interested giving us time with any of the board or officer slots.. And trust me, you get SO much more back than you give when you volunteer.


SAVE THE DATES: NEXT MEETINGS - March 15, Kaiser Vallejo, Margaret McCarthy, Shield HealthCare; April 19, Kaiser Vallejo, Jill Lowden, Coloplast;

May 17, Kaiser Vallejo, OAS Birthday/Officer Installation POTLUCK; June 21, Kaiser Vacaville, program to be determined.


Call me - Rochelle


UTI Prevention & Care

Used With Permission From: Shield Healthcare e-news January 2017

URL shieldhealthcare.com/ostomylife

Common UTI Symptoms Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are responsible for more than 8.1 million visits to the doctor and hundreds of millions in costs per year. On average, 50% of women and 12% of men will experience a UTI.

Urinary tract infections usually appear with a fever. However, 30%-40% of the elderly do not display a fever with this common infection, making a UTI difficult to recognize. Listed below are other common symptoms of a UTI:

  • Increased frequency of urination

  • Painful urination

  • Lower abdominal tenderness

  • Grimacing or painful facial gestures when urinating

  • Milky, cloudy or red/pink urine

  • Sudden onset of confusion that is not normal for the person

The risk of urinary tract infections increases as incontinence worsens. The body’s natural way of preventing urinary tract infections is through voiding. As urine travels through the urinary system it washes bacteria out. The elderly are at greater risk for urinary tract infections because as we age, our bladders lose elasticity and our kidneys’ ability to filter waste decreases. Urinary retention can occur where small amounts of urine are left in the bladder after voiding, increasing the possibility of a UTI. Other medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer increase the risk for UTIs.

It is very important to try to reduce the risk. Here are some recommendations:

  • Consume adequate amounts of fluid (6-8 8oz glasses per day).

  • While cranberry juice has been recommended for years, research suggests that its cranberry capsules that can help keep UTIs at bay or help reduce the duration of the infection.

  • Avoid consuming bladder irritants like alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods and citrus fruits.

  • Whether you’re using an adult diaper (brief), disposable underwear (pullup), or bladder control pad, changing the absorbent products immediately after becoming soiled or wet will not only reduce the risk of UTI but will also reduce skin breakdown or damage.

  • Use the toilet following an incontinence episode in a pad, diaper, or pullup to void all remaining urine from the bladder to make sure it is empty. Leftover urine in the bladder can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

  • Proper cleaning, or pericare, after each incontinence episode or restroom use.

  • Clean from front to back using warm water or hypoallergenic and unscented cleansing cloths. No rubbing! This should be done all the time, but especially during a UTI.

  • Wash hands before and after each incontinent episode or use of the restroom.

  • Create a toileting plan to allow several visits per day to the toilet to minimize the number of incontinent episodes.

This article is intended for educational use only and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. If you have any questions or concerns regarding urinary tract infection symptoms in yourself or a loved one, please contact your primary care physician.



Ten Things I’ve Done After Ostomy Surgery

Used With Permission From: Shield HealthCare e news January 2017

URL shieldhealthcare.com/ostomylife

When I had my surgery in December of 2011, I didn’t know what to expect life to be like with an ostomy. Ten days before surgery I went online to look for information about “lifestyle with an ostomy” and I really couldn’t find anything. This is why, just ten days before surgery, I founded a YouTube channel called Ostomystory. I documented my life frequently for two years post-operatively and shared life experiences, thoughts and tips. In the few years after ostomy surgery, I have accomplished and experienced so much. I wanted to share my short-list with you so you know that you really can do anything with an ostomy!


  1. Traveled to seven different countries and over a dozen different states
    Travel has always been one of the things that make me feel most alive. I was so fearful of flying after ostomy surgery, but my parents were so smart and scheduled a short trip from Chicago to Sedona, Arizona only three months after my surgery. This acted like exposure therapy for me. I was immediately exposed to my fear and realized there was nothing to be scared of! I packed twice as many supplies as I would typically need, brought all my medications and a heating pad in my carry-on, and repeated to myself that everything would be fine! The flight went smoothly, and the trip re-instilled my love for exploring new places.

  2. Ran a half-marathon and three different obstacle course races
    Another activity I loved was running, but I gave it up after being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC). After surgery I decided I would try to pick it back up again. I ran a half-marathon with Team Challenge, which was a great reintroduction to running. The coach had UC and helped me find solutions for staying hydrated and changing my running posture so that running wouldn’t bother my adhesions. During the training process I realized that I was in the best shape of my life, even with an ostomy!

  3. Graduated college
    My biggest fear after being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis was being unable to finish school. School has always been something I’ve enjoyed, and I knew that being a psychologist was my end goal. It has been such an important part of my identity for my whole life. There were many hospitalizations during my semesters, a few medical withdrawals from classes, and countless tears. I remember my college boyfriend pulling me on his longboard to class for two months because it hurt so much to walk (later we discovered I had a pelvic/peritoneal inclusion cyst). With a lot of help from friends, family, caring professors, the disabilities office and personal tenacity (or stubbornness) I graduated Cum Laude in nine semesters.

  4. Moved cross-country… twice
    Three years after ostomy surgery, I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles for a job – this job. A job that allowed me to educate others about life after surgery and advocate for a happy, healthy and full life with an ostomy. Starting over, being away from my amazing support network, making new friends and finding new doctors and specialists was so intimidating – but after the fact, I had so much confidence that I could handle taking care of myself and everything that life could throw my way. I found my “script” for telling new people about my ostomy and loved being a Californian for two years. I then headed back to Chicago to start graduate school. Once again, I’m having to readjust to a new lifestyle, but it has been such a positive experience.

  5. Backpacked the Canadian Rockies and hiked the Colorado Rockies
    I had backpacked a few times before my diagnosis, and had really loved being so far out in nature – far enough that I couldn’t see any signs of civilization. It is so incredibly refreshing and calming to me. I thought it would be difficult with all my ostomy supplies and pills, but it turned out it was much easier than having to go to the bathroom in the woods the “normal” way. Since my first backpacking trip with my ostomy, I’ve considered it an advantage!

  6. Enjoyed relationships and had no issues with being intimate
    I’ve had a few wonderful and accepting relationships. I’ve never had any issues with discussing my surgery and ostomy with a potential love interest, nor have I had issues with intimacy. I’ve always approached discussing my ostomy with honesty, openness, and confidence, putting out the vibe that it’s not a big deal and my partner has picked up on that cue. The more positive and confident you can be about your ostomy, the better!

  7. Formed a wonderful, amazing support system
    Similar to explaining your ostomy to a potential love interest, if you choose to tell your friends and family about it, the more positive (but still realistic) you can be about your situation and the more open your friends and family will be. I’ve been so lucky to have my friends and family be supportive. I always start by talking about how dangerously sick I was and then move on by saying “in order to save my life, I had to get my colon taken out.” I then explain more about the surgery and how it affects me.

  8. Carried out a normal life/work/exercise/social schedule
    This sounds like a small accomplishment, but compared to my life before getting ostomy surgery, this is a huge deal to me! I was unable to work part time, stay in classes, see friends or even leave the house on my “bad” days. My ostomy has allowed me to live the life I’ve always wanted to live.

  9. Spent hours in the Pacific Ocean while boogie boarding
    While I lived in California I picked up boogie boarding as a hobby. I spent hours in the ocean, on my belly.

  10. Gone to professional sports games and concerts
    This also may seem small, but before ostomy surgery this was such a source of anxiety. Going anywhere where bathrooms weren’t immediately accessible was such a scary idea. Now I go anywhere, whenever I want!




From The Bud, Chippewa Valley Ostomy Assoc. Eau Claire WI March & April 2016


Pillows often play a bigger role in sleep comfort than mattresses. People can sleep peacefully on pillows of varying thicknesses and materials. Be skeptical about claims regarding “contour pillows”, “memory foam”, layers of water or gel and herbal fillers. The evidence is limited at best. Again, your comfort is what counts.

Still, if you have neck pain, your pillow may be part of the problem Your pillow should help keep your neck aligned with the rest of your spine. Don't sleep on too fat a pillow or too many pillows, or without a pillow, since that can co\cause our neck to flex or extend.

If you sleep on your back or side, as generally recommended, a pillow should just fill the contour of your neck. A softer pillow is usually better for sleeping on our back or stomach, a firmer one if you sleep on your side. If your mattress is soft, choose a fatter pillow. If your mattress is firm, a thinner one. Pillows wear or faster than you think, If yours feels thin, lumpy or lifeless, replace it.


Tap Water vs. Bottled Water:
Depends on the Source
via Metro Maryland; and North Central OK Ostomy Outlook (July, 2015)


Many ostomy newsletters are sharing an article entitled “Water” by Prometheus T. Peabody, NNBH. In it he states “Tap water should be used in moderation. It contains toxic chemicals that in large quantities are poisonous to our bodies. Bottled water should not contain these toxins.”
Despite marketing claims by the bottled water industry, bottled water is not safer than tap water. In fact,
tap water is subject to more stringent regulation than bottled water. In 2009, almost 50 percent of all bottled water came from municipal tap water supplies. According to a 2010 survey, only 3 of the companies that sell bottled water provide the public with the same level of information available for tap water, including where the water came from, how it was treated and what the results of the water quality tests were.
Independent testing of bottled water by the Environmental Working Group in 2008 found that 10 popular brands of bottled water, from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia, contained 38 chemical pollutants, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand.
Bottled water has negative environmental impacts, often ending up in landfills, littering our streets and
our streams. It takes 17 million barrels of oil per year to make the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. Alone, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year.





Reprinted from Mayo Clinic Health Letter, and The Bud, Chippewa Valley Ostomy Assoc. Eau Claire WI


Experts agree that whole grains are much healthier than refined grains. Refined grains go through a process that strips out the bran and germ and many nutrients. Whole grains are unrefined grains that retain the bran and germ and benefits such as fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidents.

Substantial evidence shows that eating whole grains can help you live longer and better. Here are some tips to help you shift your diet toward whole grains:

  • Eat breakfasts that include whole grain cereals, such as whole wheat bran flakes (some bran flakes may have just the bran, not the whole grain), shredded wheat or oatmeal.

  • Substitute whole wheat bread, bagels, muffins, tortillas and pasta for the refined variety. Remember, just because it's brown doesn't mean it's whole wheat. Look for the word “ whole” among the first few ingredients on the label. White whole wheat is made from whole grains and can be an option.

  • Experiment with grains other than wheat. Try making porridge out of amaranth and pancakes with buckwheat flour. Sprinkle ground flax seed on yogurt and add cooked quinoa to your salad.

  • Replace white rice with kasha, brown rice or bulgar. Use wild rice or barley in soup, stews casseroles and salads. Add whole grains such as cooked brown rice or whole grain bread crumbs to ground meat or poultry.

  • Snack on popcorn and whole grain crackers.

Editors note from the Bud: Ostomates beware! Depending on your type of ostomy and your personal constitution, some or the whole grains recommended in the above article may be too harsh or indigestible for you to tolerate. Add new foods gradually to you rdielt in moderation. If in doubt, consult with your doctor Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse.














Next meetings - Save these dates: Margaret McCarthy, Shield HealthCare will present February 15 Vacaville Kaiser and March 15 Vallejo Kaiser



The documents contained within this newsletter are presented expressly for informational purposes only. In no way are any of the materials presented here meant to be a substitute for professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. ALWAYS check with your doctor.

To discontinue receiving a paper newsletter, contact Pat Walling at trainpatch@gmail.com




Thank you all who attended the holiday party. We truly do have the best cooks ever! And as usual, the chicken was delish. Those of you who were unable to make it missed a fun one! Julie overdid on all her prep, so the table décor, plates, napkins and silent auction gift cards and offerings were fabulous. Take home cartons were full and appreciated. Thank you Julie and everyone else who contributed. We raised a few hundred more for our Kids for Kamp fund.


Again our thanks to Al Gorzenski for his efforts with the British American Club in getting the huge donation last month. Everyone at the party was most appreciative and excited that we have a terrific financial buffer that will allow us to give more support to the Youth Rally. What a WONDERFUL way to start 2017!


Major note – did anyone get home with an unexpected surprise? I’m missing my meat serving fork (silver over-grown salad fork). It is part of my everyday stainless and I do hope it didn’t meet its fate in the trash can. Please call me and let me know if you rescued it.


Our January meeting speaker will be Jill Lowden Coloplast representative. Hope you can attend as this will be a terrific product presentation and I bet you’ll find great goodies to be had.


I won the gift card drawing at the potluck and would like everyone to know that it’s going to a great gal – our wonderful newsletter editor, Pat. Regretfully, Pat and Rich have a Wednesday conflict and have been unable to attend the meetings for the past couple of years. We want to let Pat know how much we appreciate her and miss the two of them each month and all the days between. Thank you Pat for the hard work on getting the newsletter designed each month. It’s a lot of work and lot of you who get this mailing each month have let me know how much you appreciate the content – that’s more thank you’s to you Pat.


We don’t have a volunteer for break goodies for the meeting on the 18th. If you can help, please call Rochelle.


Hope your new year has been a wonderful one so far and that the rest of the year is even better. Wishing you good health and extreme happiness. See ya on the 18th.


Hernia and the Ostomy Patient

By Glenda Hamburg, CWOCN, via The New Outlook, Aug/Sept, 2013, UOA of Greater Chicago

Hernias are a common occurrence following any abdominal surgery. The surgical incision causes
weakness of the muscles and tissues, which increases the risk of hernia. A hernia is the protrusion of the
intestine through the muscle layers and is seen as a bump near the incision. Some data show that about 10%–15% of patients with any type of abdominal surgery will experience a hernia as a postoperative complication.
People with ostomies are at risk for a hernia, not only at the incision site, but also at the stoma itself. The stoma area is vulnerable where the surgeon pulls the intestine through the abdominal wall. These are called peristomal hernias. Peristomal hernias appear as a large bulge around the stoma, most noticeable when standing. The stoma looks like it is on top of a hill.
Generally, hernias do not cause a medical emergency. However, they can cause problems with daily living.
A peristomal hernia can cause poor stoma functioning, such as delayed output from colostomy irrigations or abdominal cramping. Of course, if you experience severe abdominal pain, cramping and no stoma output, a call to your doctor is in order.
Peristomal hernias can also cause problems with pouching, including increased leakage and skin
irritation because of the irregular abdominal surface. To compensate for this abdominal muscle weakness, wearing a support belt can be helpful. Some people wear a support belt for physical activities such as gardening, working out at the gym and performing physical labor on the job. Wide support belts can reduce some of the symptoms of a peristomal hernia, as well as reduce the risk of further herniation. A certified WOC nurse can assist in choosing a support belt for you.
The best way to avoid surgical complications is to exercise. Begin by walking three to five times per day.
Start with short distances at first, and then try to work up to 5 to 7 miles a day if you have no other physicallylimiting challenges. It is important to build up the distance you walk gradually. Under the advice of your doctor begin adding arm, leg, and body muscle-building exercises. Never strain yourself. Let me repeat, never strain yourself! You will gain strength and look and feel healthier.

By Adrian March, MA, PhD; via the Greater Seattle Ostomy Association “The Ostomist” ,May/June 2015

DO remember that your protection from a hernia depends on the integrity of your principal abdominal muscle, the rectus abdominis (properly known as the “abs”), which runs down your front from the lower part of the rib cage to the pelvis.
DO ask your surgeon whether there is any medical or surgical reason why you should not exercise strengthen your rectus abdominis. If you are given the all-clear undertake a proper exercise program
Gentle smooth progressive stretching will do you no harm, but don’t bounce into a stretch; this is known as ballistic stretching, and should be avoided. Work through the easier exercises first, and always “Stop if it hurts!”
DO wear a support when undertaking heavy work if you have been advised to do so.
DO keep your body weight under control: being over-weight is an invitation to a hernia. Work out your Body Mass Index (BMI), which equals (Weight is KG) divided by (Height in meters). If your BMI is over 25, take steps to reduce it.
DO be aware of activity which causes you to hold your breath. This increases the pressure in the abdomen and therefore places increased demands on the abdominal muscles. If you can carry on talking—or even singing if the neighbors don’t mind—then there should be no problem.
DO be careful about lifting: consider whether what you are proposing to lift is reasonable, and think about the best way to lift it. Keep the weight as close to the body as possible, at all times, and make sure that you can keep your balance.
DO think carefully about moving furniture. If you can slide it, preferably with your knee, that’s fine, but think twice before you bend over and heave it. If you have a problem reaching the top cupboards in the kitchen, invest in a step stool, which you can push around with your foot, and step up onto it comfortably.
DON’T kneel for too long when weeding the garden—try to keep moving. If you find it difficult to stand up from a kneeling position, consider using a kneeler, with support boards which you can hold to push yourself up.
 If your favorite exercise is running,
DO make sure that you run on a good surface. The consequences of a stumble, on a bad surface could be serious.
 If you enjoy riding, gentle hacking or basic dressage could pose no problems, but leave jumping until you can be more confident about your abdominal muscles.
DO think carefully about how you will mount the horse—better to use a milk crate, or even two, to start with.



Ten Tips for Living Well with an Ostomy
by Ann Sloane, LCSW-C, Psychotherapist; via Metro Maryland; Tulsa (OK) Newsletter; and North Central OK Ostomy Outlook(June, 2015)


  1. Learn the basics of your own ostomy care. Practice your skills. Build your confidence. Don’t depend on others to do for you what you can do for yourself.

  2. Anticipate solutions to potential problems. Practice them too. Keep an Emergency Ostomy Supplies Kit in your car in case you have a leak while far away from home.

  3. Live life. Hold onto your goals. Problem solve as necessary. Many limitations on an ostomate’s life are self-imposed and not necessary. There are ostomates who are professional athletes, one has sailed around the world on a small boat, and most still enjoy romantic encounters.

  4. Have compassion for yourself as you discover and embrace your “new normal.” Give yourself a break.

  5. If you have an intimate partner, communicate honestly with one another – you may both have new feelings and needs.

  6. Know you are not alone. Use your ostomy support system for seeking and sharing help with special issues; e.g., insurance, intimacy, airport scanners, skin breakdown, scuba diving, paid caregivers, self acceptance.

  7. Take advantage of professional sources of support for further help with medical, emotional, relational or spiritual issues.

  8. Acknowledge that having an ostomy has contributed to your life – the positive and the negative. For many of us it has been the difference between life and death.

  9. Use your experience to help yourself and others.

  10. Consider becoming a systems advocate for issues important to many living with an ostomy.








PROGRAM: POTLUCK OAS will provide roasted chicken, potato salad,

coleslaw and beverages. Please bring a side dish, appetizer or dessert.


SILENT AUCTION & FOOD DRIVE: Please bring gift items for auction and money to bid (proceeds benefit sending a kid to Youth Rally). Also, we will make donation to VACA F.I.S.H of nonperishable & canned food items.





Save the date for these upcoming meeting programs:

January 18, 2017, Vallejo – Coloplast

February 15, Vacaville – Shield and March 15, Vallejo – Shield


The documents contained within this newsletter are presented expressly for informational purposes only. In no way are any of the materials presented here meant to be a substitute for professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. ALWAYS check with your doctor.

To discontinue receiving a paper newsletter, contact Pat Walling at trainpatch@gmail.com



We are all looking forward to sharing the joy of the holidays with all of you on the 21st. Please make note of the time – we start earlier for potlucks - 6:30. Hopefully, you can make it as we realize that the 3rd Wednesday of December makes a late date for many of you and may have conflicts with travel and family arrivals.


We will have a delish dinner (already have commitments for the added items of baked beans, cookies and a dessert), but there’s the fun of the silent auction, too. Bring something to add to the bidding; better yet, bring cash to make a bid or two….and yes we will have the popular area gift cards to bid on. And if you can – bring the cans. We will as usual collect for F.I.SH. .


We have HUGE financial news for the Ostomy Association of Solano. We have friends in high places, namely Al & Brenda Gorzenski. Brenda, British born and her sweet husband Al have been members of the British American Club of Northern California like forever and Al is currently a board member. That group is currently in process of disbanding. How is this news to us? They are disbursing their funds to nonprofits in northern Cal and Al got us on the list. We just received a generous check for $5,000. This is the largest donation the AOS has ever received and we cannot thank Al & Brenda enough to get our group on the British American Club radar. We will discuss what this jump in our bank account means in 2017. I’m sure our support of Youth Rally will be assured in future years. We will keep you informed. Again, thank you so very much to the British American Club of Northern California and our cherished members Al & Brenda.


Speaking of Youth Rally- We just received a letter from the Youth Rally Committee thanking us for our contribution. Attached were two other thank you notes – the first from Camper Harris thanking us for sending him to Rally with a picture included. The second note, a thank-you from Counselor Vincent who had been a camper and returned this year as a first time counselor. Each year our only grant is to Youth Rally and the words in the thank you notes show why. Words like “positive outlooks, learn, people like me, relate to me on a level that most people cannot, confidence, independence, love and HOPE”. It’s pure joy that we can make such a difference in a young person’s life. Thank you all for your Koins for Kids contributions, auction bids and for your support of the OAS so that we can make this grant a reality each year.




A Visit from St. Ostomy
by Marjorie Kaufman, Los Angeles (CA) Los Ostomy News; via Austin (TX) Austi-Mate [St. Louis Editor’s Note: MarjorieKaufman was poet laureate of the United Ostomy Association (the predecessor to UOAA) at least as far back as the 1960s.]ViaOstomy Outlook, Ostomy Association of North Central Oklahoma, Nov-Dec 2015.

’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the flat,

There was general confusion including the cat.
The bathroom was strewn with the ostomy ware,

That I had abandoned in utter despair.
The courage I’d had in the hospital bed,

To follow instructions, had suddenly fled.
It all looked so strange, and uncommonly new;

I swore I would never know quite what to do.
Now which goes to which, and what sticks to what?

I fumbled each step, with my nerves overwrought.

And then in my anguish, I went to my room,

To settle my brains for a night full of gloom.
With a household a-flutter in holiday matter,

I shut out the sounds of excitement and chatter.
When out in the hallway I heard from below,

The sound of a voice with a jolly “Hello.”
As I peeked through the door, up the stairway she came,

And she smiled when she saw me, and called me by name.

And I, in my wonder, just couldn’t believe,

That ostomy visits were made Christmas Eve.
And then in a twinkling she put me at ease,

And said she could lessen my anxieties.
She was dressed all in white, in a form-fitting sheath,

With nary a sign of what lay underneath.
So trim and well-groomed, a delight to behold,

No one would suspect, unless they’d been told.
That standing before me so calm and serene,

Was the very first ostomate I’d ever seen.
Her manner so friendly, with faith and good cheer,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to fear.
My questions, like leaves in a hurricane flew;

And with each knowing answer, my confidence grew.
Then under her guidance each part fell in place,

As I conquered the problem I’d just failed to face.

And all of a sudden I knew I was free,

To live just as normal and happy as she.
For only an ostomate is really akin,

To the fears and frustrations that lie deep within.
Her time and her friendship so willing to give,

Will keep me remembering as long as I live.
And my family was grateful for what she had done,

For once more the evening was festive and fun.
Now each time I meet her, more clearly I see,

The “Saint” who came calling with blessings for me


In these days where extra precautions for security are being taken worldwide, it would be wise for traveling ostomates to do advance planning in order to avoid possible problems. Some suggestions are:
1. Pre-cut all pouches at home, as you may wish to avoid having scissors in your carry-on luggage (see
additional comments below).
2. Pack ostomy supplies in at least 2 places – carry-on and checked luggage.
3. Take extra supplies in case you are stranded where supplies may not be available.
4. A statement from your physician stating your need for ostomy supplies might be helpful. Also a statement advocating a private area be used in case of an extended search.
5. If traveling to a foreign country it is a good idea to have critical ostomy information written in their language. One of the 70 member associations of the International Ostomy Association (IOA) may be of help with this translation as well as with locating supplies while visiting their country.
6. A copy of the book
“Yes We Can” (no longer in print but copies may be available) has many helpful hints and advice for traveling and also has a dictionary of ostomy terms translated to several different languages. There is important contact information for resources worldwide as well as a wallet-sized statement written in 11 languages that asks for privacy if a search is to be conducted.
7. One ostomate reported a very positive result from carrying photocopies of the catalog pages displaying and explaining his equipment. When a searcher asked about the items found on a hand search, he was able to explain their function without a long conversation that would hold up others in line. Our experience has been that over time the TSA agents are much more knowledgeable and sensitive to these personal care products.



How do I Know if Irrigation is Right for Me?

Via Kitnap County Ostomy Association; Dallas (TX) Ostomatic News; and North Central OK Ostomy Outlook

Irrigation is a procedure that some colostomates can use to cleanse their colon, making it unnecessary to wear a pouching system (they may wear only a stoma cap or other light stoma covering between irrigations). Only a select group of people are able to irrigate.

To find out if you are a possible candidate, answer the following questions:

What type of colostomy do you have?

You must have either a sigmoid or other left sided colostomy so that your stools are less frequent and more firm.

Irrigation is not for ileostomates. And, although I have seen a very motivated person with a transverse colostomy irrigate successfully, this is usually not practical.

Do you have a normal bowel pattern through your colostomy? If you are a person who has a large bowel movement once or twice daily through your stoma on a regular basis, you may be an excellent candidate to irrigate.

Are you determined to learn to irrigate? Irrigation takes a lot of motivation and patience to work. You will need to spend approximately an hour every day at the same time training your bowels to irrigate. It may take days to weeks before you finally see results and are able to wear a stoma cap instead of your pouch.

What is the reason that you have a colostomy? Some disease processes can cause weakness or fistulas in the bowel, making irrigation dangerous. These conditions include Crohn’s disease, Diverticulitis, and recurrent cancer.

If you answered the above questions and feel that you may be able to irrigate, contact your doctor or WOC (ET) nurse and they will be able to help teach you how to irrigate successfully.



Supply and Demand

by Joni Schneider. RN CWOCN; via Philadelphia (PA)

The Journal

Ostomy clients often have questions regarding pouching supplies. Here are a few of the more common inquires, with advice relating to each of you.

Where do I obtain supplies?

Ostomy pouching supplies are considered Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and

need to be obtained from a supplier that is licensed to dispense them. Additionally, most insurance companies have a “preferred network provider” where they recommend you obtain supplies.

Start with an inquiry of your insurance provider call the 1-800 number on the back of your insurance card and ask them this question. Your local ostomy nurse is also a good resource to help you find a supplier.

Prescriptions for ostomy supplies need to be submitted by a physician, but your ostomy nurse can provide the order information. Different ostomies require different pouching supplies, and your nurse can guide you toward appropriate options.

When Should I Reorder my supplies?

It could take about a week to obtain supplies after placing an order with your Supplier. Plan ahead and have a backup plan for unexpected situations. Reorder supplies when you have no fewer than three pouches on hand.

I need more supplies than my Insurance gives me. What do I do?

Medicare and Medicaid determine the quantity of ostomy supplies allowed based on

the type of ostomy. They determine the amount “usually” medically necessary. Individual patient needs may vary and change over time. Your provider can clearly document why you require excess quantities and submit a “Letter of Necessity” to your insurance for consideration. Purchasing supplies with “out

of pocket” payment may be necessary.

You could also contact ostomy supply manufacturers. Many of them provide support in the form of trial samples and have programs to assist if you do not have insurance coverage.

Frequently Ostomy clients tell me they change pouches more often than recommended “just because.” While the practice of changing pouches routinely before they leak is

preferred, there is no advantage to changing more often than advised. It is expensive and can frequently cause adhesive injuries to your peristomal skin.

Should I always carry extra pouches?

Pouch wear time can be unpredictable with the best stomas, and failures never happen at a convenient time. Always carry an emergency kit stocked with supplies needed for a pouch change. Bring this along to any clinic or hospital you visit. Hospitals generally stock a “generic” pouch but might not have your specific supply.

When can I visit my ostomy nurse for help?

Some insurance providers require an annual ostomy nurse visit in order to renew supply prescriptions. Most ostomy nurses require a referral from a medical provider to see an ostomy client.





We are in need of Volunteers to fill current and future officer vacancies.


Currently open: Vice President & Secretary

Possible 2017 Vacancy – President

Need Help – Visitation


President – Prepares contents and conducts meetings. Responsible for outreach in the medical community to keep the OAS viable. Receives and responds to correspondence and calls from UOAA, the medical community and patients. Computer skills and internet access required.


Vice President – Schedule speakers and conduct meetings in absence of President. Succeed current President – training by current president provided. Computer skills and internet access would be required at that point.


Secretary – Take notes at meetings & conduct meetings in absence of both President and Vice President.


Treasurer – Responsible for all deposits, checks to vendors, grants & supplies. Accountable to board & members of monthly balances. Provides to President or personally reports to the IRS the OAS status via the 990-EZ (determined by the President & Treasurer each year).


Newsletter Editor – Computer skills required. Most articles provided by UOAA and other associations. Internet access required. Training provided by current editor.


Visitation – Prepares visitation packets for new ostomates and distributes them to OAS members as needed. Conducts new visitor training when needed. Contacts area medical facilities to provide informational packets for admission/discharge patients. Conducts in-service training to area medical community staff personnel. Needs to be able to be available to meet with medical personnel during normal business hours (Mon – Friday 8 to 5).


Possible financial assistance for you and your significant other for future UOAA Conferences (regisitration, stipend for food & lodging). 2017 – Tues-Sat, Aug 22 – 26 Irvine CA – Hotel Irvine.


Please contact Rochelle for more information and questions. Thank you.








700 MAIN ST. SUITE 102, SUISUN CITY, CA 94585-2493















See you in December -

Save the dates: January 18, Vallejo February 15, Vacaville



The documents contained within this newsletter are presented expressly for informational purposes only. In no way are any of the materials presented here meant to be a substitute for professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. ALWAYS check with your doctor.

To discontinue receiving a paper newsletter, contact Pat Walling at trainpatch@gmail.com





Brian T. Douglas. Health Coach and Clinical Health Educator, Kaiser was our speaker for October. Brian and his handouts were excellent! Charts and info included How Fats Compare, What is a Healthy Plate & the Plate Method, What’s in Your Drink and Your Snack- all eye-opening and stomach crunchin’ words. Brian gave us many plant based options. Instead the worst thing on the fast food menu – the SHAKE at 800 calories – you can substitute multiple bowls & bowls of blueberries. The quantity was a real jolt as was the fact that the milkshakes were a so much worse than the burgers or fries!


Kaiser is offering a webnar for Preventing Holiday Weight Gain. You do not have to be a Kaiser member to join in! All workshops are from 7 – 9PM. To participate you need a computer, internet connection, and a phone (landline or cell phone). There is no fee. No preregistration. On the day of the workshop, please visit kpdoc.org/holidayweight . The dates are: Mon 11/7, Tues 11/17, Tues 11/22, Wed 11/30, Tues 12/6 & Mon 12/12. If the workshops are half as informative as Brian’s presentation last month, you will have invested the best 2 hours of the holidays!


We will skip this November’s meeting and will look forward to seeing you on December 21st at our Potluck – we promise Brian to be good the rest of the week.


Be Thankful


Those of you who belong to Kaiser and reside in Solano and Napa Counties are very lucky. Ostomy certified nurses are a rare commodity nowadays and with Kaiser Solano we have four – with expected new hires projected soon to add to our bounty. Julie, Naomi, Kathy and Michelle – thank you for your membership support, the gift of your expert knowledge and most of all - the generous gift of your time.


And although our meetings are held at Kaiser facilities, you do not have to be a Kaiser member nor an Ostomy Association of Solano member to attend.


Those of you who are members – we are thankful – as you are our lifeblood. And although we are 100% volunteer, memberships help us greatly in our yearly expenses and our only grant each year to send one or two teenagers to the Youth Rally support camp each July. And those of you who volunteer your time – that precious commodity that keeps us going – thank you. Monthly Al helps on the newsletter, tons of time is given monthly by Pat getting this newsletter together and again to our nurses who help us getting the meetings set, speakers and their attendance.


Our biggest thank you goes to the Solano office of the American Cancer Society. Without Brandy and her team’s support, this newsletter wouldn’t be reaching you now.


We must extend our thanks to all you who support us during the year.


Thank you from Rochelle and the rest of the Ostomy Association of Solano .



Urostomy Types
By Victor Alterescu, CWOCN, via The New Outlook, UOAChicago, July, 2014

Urostomy is the general word for any type of urinary ostomy. There are, however, several types of
Some people have ileal conduits. In those cases, a piece of ileum—the third and longest portion of the
small intestine—is removed from the intestinal tract and the two ureters—tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder—are attached to the portion of the ileum. One end of the ileum is stitched closed and the other end is brought out into the abdomen as a stoma.
Very often, people who have ileal conduits think that they have an “ileostomy” because health-care
personnel often incorrectly call this surgery an ileostomy. Remember that if the urine is coming through your stoma, you do not have an ileostomy.
Sometimes the ileum is not used, and instead, a piece of the large intestine is used, usually from the
sigmoid colon. In this case, the surgery is called a colon conduit.
Urostomys are formed for many reasons. In adults, the surgery is most often done to remove a
cancerous bladder. For people with spinal cord problems, a urostomy of one sort or another may save
someone from irreparable kidney damage. Sometimes after urostomy surgery, a bladder may be left in place, but if the bladder is diseased, it is usually removed.
Drinking fluids is essential for urostomates. Kidneys are happy when they have lots of work to do. Show me someone who does not produce much urine and I’ll show you two unhappy kidneys! Drinking water may be the single most important thing that a person with a urostomy can do.
Urostomy is the general word for any type of urinary ostomy. There are, however, several types of
Urostomys are the most complex of the three major types of ostomys—colostomys, ileostomys and
urostomys. They can be found in all age groups. They are performed for more varied reasons than the other two categories, and they can present incredibly complex problems, but when they work right, they are winners!
Remember, an ostomy is a cure, not a disease!


Cranberries: The Science Behind Urinary Tract Protection


Vancouver (BC) Ostomy Highlife;

Hamilton (ON) Osto-Info; and North Central OK Ostomy Outlook

Scientists used to believe that cranberries protected against Urinary Tract Infections by making the urine more acidic and, therefore, inhospitable to bacteria like Escher-ichia coli (E. coli) that cause urinary tract infections. Now the

thinking has shifted. Researchers now believe that cranberries contain substances that prevent infection causing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls.

There are a couple of different theories about how exactly cranberries do this. Some studies show that certain antioxidants in cranberries change the bacteria so that they can’t stick to the urinary tract. Another idea is that cranberries create a Teflon like slippery coating on the urinary tract walls that prevents E. coli from getting a good grip.

Do Cranberries Really Prevent UTIs?

The Evidence:

Studies that have analyzed the effects of cranberry products on urinary tract infections have gotten mixed results. Here’s an overview of the evidence:

The Pros

A few studies have found that drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills can prevent UTIs, especially in women who are at risk for these infections:

• One study looked at women who had a history of urinary

tract infections caused by E. coli bacteria. Women who drank 50 mL (1.7 ounces) of cranberry

lingonberry juice concentrate every day for six months lowered their risk of getting a UTI by 20% compared to women who didn’t use any intervention.

• In another study, cranberry juice and cranberry tablets were linked to fewer patients who experienced at least one symptomatic UTI. In the study, sexually active women took one tablet of concentrated cranberry twice a day, drank about 8 ounces of pure unsweetened cranberry juice three times a day for 12 months, or were given a placebo.

• In a third study, older adults who ate cranberry products were about half as likely to have bacteria and white blood cells in their urine a sign of a UTI without symptoms of a UTI. But other studies in older people showed no difference in symptomatic UTI in people using cranberry and those who didn’t.

The Cons

Before you rush out and buy cartons of cranberry juice, there are a few caveats you should know about.

• First, cranberries don’t seem to work for everyone. Although they may appear to help prevent symptomatic urinary tract infections in some women who are at risk for them, there’s no real evidence that cranberries offer any benefit to other groups of people, such as children or seniors.

• Cranberries don’t prevent bacteria from growing in the urinary tract they just make it harder for the bacteria to take hold. Cranberry juice also doesn’t treat urinary tract

infections once they’ve started.

• Because of their acidity, cranberries can be hard for some peopleto take. Up to half of people in studies dropped out because of unpleasant side effects like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea. Many people in the studies also balked at the tart-sweet taste day after day. People who don’t like cranberry juice might find cranberry tablets easier to swallow.

• In addition to its positive effects, cranberry juice can also have a negative effect on the urinary tract. Cranberry juice is high in salts called oxalates. When people drink a lot of

cranberry juice, these salts can crystallize into hard urinary oxalate stones, especially in people who already tend to get these types of stones.

• People who take blood thinning medications such as warfarin should avoid cranberry products, because cranberries can interact with warfarin and cause excess


• Drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills isn’t cheap. The cost can add up to $1,400 a year for cranberry juice and $624 a year for pills.



Those Abdominal Noises

via Metro Maryland; Dallas (TX) Ostomatic News;

and North Central OK Ostomy Outlook

Rumbles and grumbles, growls and howls, such noises that come from the abdomen.

Everyone seems to get messages from inside that are broadcast to anyone within hearing distance. Since it happens to everyone you’d think we could just laugh them off or ignore them but, instead, we are embarrassed and, as ostomates, wonder if something is wrong since it seems to happen more often since our surgery. At least we notice it more.

Those abdominal growls are officially called borborygmi (bore-bore-rig-my). If pain accompanies the noise it could be a sign of bowel obstruction, an ulcer, or gall bladder

problems. See your doctor. Usually, however, it is all sound and fury signifying noth

ing important.


Any of the following may be the cause:

  • You are hungry. Peristalsis goes on whether there is anything to move on or not.

  • You are nervous so peristalsis is increased.

  • You have been drinking coffee, tea, cola or beer, which stimulate peristalsis. Since these are often drunk on an empty stomach, they produce gurgles as peristalsis

redoubles its movement.

  • You have been reading about lowering cholesterol by eating a high fiber diet, so you have added high fiber foods. Digesting fiber foods produces gas, so rumbles increase.

  • You may notice that your pouch fills quickly with gas and you are wearing a balloon.

  • You have been eating too many carbohydrates. Culprits are often lactose (a sugar in milk), sorbitol (a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener), and raffinose and stachyose (sugars found in beans). The result is more gas gurgling about.

  • You have been eating too fast, with your mouth open, or trying to talk while you eat. Your mother always told you it was rude, but she didn’t mention that you would swallow air which grumbles and growls as it is moved along the digestive tract.


Prevention :

Eat a snack of fruit or vegetables between meals if you are hungry. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Eat slowly and don’t gulp



Children Say the Darnedest Things

A first grade school teacher had 26 students in her class. She presented each child with the first half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. Their insight may surprise you. The last one is a classic.

 Don’t change horses until they stop running.
 Strike while the bug is close.
 It’s always darkest before Daylight Saving Time
 Never underestimate the power of termites
 You can lead a horse to water but how?
 Don’t bite the hand that looks dirty
 No news is impossible
 A miss is as good as a Mr.
 You can’t teach an old dog new math
 If you lie down with dogs, you’ll stink in the morning
 Love all, trust me
 The pen is mightier than the pigs
 An idle mind is the best way to relax.
 Where there’s smoke, there’s pollution.
 Happy is the bride who gets all the presents.
 A penny save is not much
 Two’s company, three’s the Musketeers
 Don’t put off till tomorrow what you put on to go to bed
 Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you have to blow your nose.




From ”Inside-Out”, Winnepeg Ostomy Association, Summer 2015; Reprinted from Ostomy Association of the Houston (TX) Area by Greater
Seattle (WA) “The Ostomist”

We often hear people asking, “What is a revision?” The term applies to a surgical correction of the
stoma. This may be a small procedure done in out-patient surgery, or it may be a procedure requiring
hospitalization. Four common reasons for revisions are listed below. But before we begin, please bear in mind that one of these conditions may be present without causing much trouble - in which case a revision is not needed.
Revisions are most frequently done to correct:
 A tight stoma;
 A prolapsed - when the stoma becomes very long and large;
 A retraction - when the stoma becomes so short that it is below the skin level;
 A hernia that is so near the ostomy that it interferes with management.



Ask the

Ostomy Nurse

My Two Cents Worth…
With warm, sunny days on the horizon, many of you may be thinking about traveling. Regardless of where your destination might be, your ostomy should not interfere with your travel plans. Here is my two cents worth on traveling…

If you are flying, take your supplies in your carry-on
and in your checked luggage.
Pre-cut your wafers so you will not need to carry
scissors in your carry-on.
Pack twice as many supplies as you think you will
need. You may be in a location were supplies are
limited or not available.
Keep your supplies where you can get them.
Store your supplies in a cool, dry place.
Keep an extra pair of light-weight clothing just in
case you experience leakage.
Take an aisle seat for easier access to the toilet.
Fasten the seat belt above or below your stoma.

These tips work for any type of travel, driving, taking a plane or bus. Just remember the key to a great
travel experience is good preparation.”
Patricia McCray, RN, CWOCN Holy Cross Hospital














The documents contained within this newsletter are presented expressly for informational purposes only. In no way are any of the materials presented here meant to be a substitute for professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. ALWAYS check with your doctor.

To discontinue receiving a paper newsletter, contact Pat Walling at trainpatch@gmail.com


Our thanks go to Trisha Keibel, Kaiser Dietician for her time and input. We all shared and learned. Trisha works with patients at Kaiser Vacaville. Trisha gives the new ostomate our favorite newbie tool – The Ostomates Food Reference Chart. If you do not have one, go to our national website, www.ostomy.org . Click on Ostomy Information. Click on Diet and Nutrition. The Ostomy Diet and Nutrition Guide has a wealth of information for both the new and established ostomates. Please read it if you haven’t already and keep in mind that it covers all types of ostomies, so make sure you only use the information indicated as applicable to all ostomy types or specifically your type (usually broken down for Colostomy, Ileostomy or Urostomy). Trisha is a delight and I’m sure she would love to help you when needed. And it’s not “just eat your veggies mentality” for Trisha. She is versed in the special needs of an ostomate and can be of great help. And continuing on the same path at our Vallejo meeting, we will have Brian T. Douglas, Health Coach and Clinical Health Educator as our speaker on the 19th. His subject is “Nutrition and the Ostomate”.


It was great to have a first-time visit from Paula G. from Vacaville. I had the privilege of meeting Paula 2 years ago when I did her ostomy visitation. You’re doing great and it was wonderful to get to see you again. I hope that Paula and other Vacaville, Fairfield and Suisun City ostomates come to our 2017 meetings. There is so much to learn and so much fun socialization we get to have at these meetings. And the more that attend, the more information and support that we share.


In the past years, we have cancelled the November Vallejo meeting, as it falls so close to the holiday. However, Kathy Musgraves – who again has been so great in getting our meeting room and the speakers for Vacaville this year – suggested that we might have a Holiday Potluck in Vacaville like we have each December in Vallejo. We need to see more attendees in Vacaville to get this set, but would you like that? Our organization would provide roasted chicken, beverages and the attendees the potluck. We have a great time at the Vallejo one and manage to raise funds to send a “camper” to the Youth Rally (our only grant each year) and collect non-perishables for the Solano food bank, F.I.S.H. We will discuss this in the upcoming months, but please let me know what you think AND COME TO THE VACAVILLE MEETINGS!!!! I can promise you that you will smile and come away with a bit more knowledge to help you in maintaining a healthy ostomy and ENJOY LIFE!!!


Hope to see you VERY SOON. Flu Shots are available – GET YOURS! Rochelle


A Flu-Proof You
Via Dallas (TX) Ostomatic News


To stay healthy and flu free, prevention is the key. Follow these tips to stay well:

Get your yearly flu vaccine

Wash your hands.The flu virus is spread from person to person, so stop the spread of terms by soaping up often. Carry antibacterial gel.

Practice healthy habits. Exercise often, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and get plenty of sleep.

Don’t share germs. If you start to feel sick, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading illness to others.



The Doctor/Patient Partnership

By Carol Larson,


When support groups of people who have survived a serious illness gather, it's a good bet that eventually their doctors become the topic of conversation. Because of the life and death issues involved, strong feelings emerge. Good experiences tend to breed hero worship, while unpleasant encounters can leave everyone bitter. The impressions that make these relationships work the best are based mostly on the gifts of a good diagnostician and the ability of doctors to connect with their patients while dispensing care. Stories about insensitive physicians top the list.


We have our good stories too, praising the doctors who have what is known as "a good bedside manner." The realities of modern medicine make it hard to establish much of a personal exchange. Time allocated for most appointments is short, and patients are usually scheduled in tightly. Instant judgments abound. Some hasty comment, look of boredom, or impatience on the part of the doctor can influence the effectiveness of care more than it should. But rudeness works both ways. Patients need to do their part to pay attention and make the best use of this time.


"Look in the bandaged place. There you will see the light" Rumi


How to get the best care possible:


Be Selective

  • If you have insurance, call the number on your card and find out which doctor is in your network.

  • Call another doctor you admire and ask for a referral.

  • Find a doctor who is convenient for you to see and who works in a hospital you would prefer. 

Be Efficient

  • Be on time for your appointments.

  • Bring in a list of your medications and insurance information.

  • Deliver your information concisely. If you are experiencing pain, grade the pain from 1-10. Be specific about your concerns.

  • Don't expect a doctor to want to listen to unrelated facts.

  • Don't underwhelm the doctor with a diagnosis you pulled off of the Internet or from well-meaning friends.

Listen Carefully

  • Take notes. Bring a list of questions you had beforehand.

  • Write down treatments or words you don't understand.

  • Be reasonable and respectful. Understand that both of you will not always be at your best, especially when an illness is hard to treat.

  • It is primary to your care to be able to accept honesty and not try to persuade your doctor to give you glib promises.

  • Repeat the doctor's message out loud so that you truly understand what is being said.


Colostomy Irrigation

By Mary Lou Boyer, BSEd, RN, CWOCN Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Cleveland Clinic

You may have seen or heard the term "irrigation" used in conjunction with ostomy care. There are several different ways this word is used and it can have very different meanings. 

Some people with ostomies say that they "irrigate" their pouch or appliance each time they empty. In these cases, it is a matter of adding water to help loosen thick or formed stool to assist in emptying the thick stool from the pouch. Or it can mean rinsing out the pouch with water until the pouch appears clean. In other cases the term "irrigation" is used when referring to a procedure that some people with descending or sigmoid colostomies may use to cleanse or regulate the bowel by instilling water into the large intestine through the stoma. This is called "colostomy irrigation". 

Over the many years that colostomy irrigation has been an option in colostomy care, there has been some debate about whether or not an individual should irrigate. In making that decision the following are questions that should be considered: what is colostomy irrigation? Who is an appropriate candidate? Why is it done? When is it done? And how is it done? This article is an attempt to answer these questions. 

Colostomy irrigation is a method of assisting the bowels to move at a certain time. The procedure itself is similar to an enema, however it is done with specialized equipment to instill warm water through the colostomy stoma. A large water bag with tubing that has a cone-shaped tip is inserted into the opening of the stoma. The cone-shaped catheter tip allows the water to flow into the colon while preventing the water from leaking back out. As the colon fills with water, it distends. This distention stimulates colon peristalsis and mass contractions that lead to stool evacuation. 

Colostomy irrigation is an option only for people who have a descending or sigmoid colostomy. In the normal bowel, the function of the colon is to absorb water from the waste material and to store it for a normal bowel movement. In most cases this can be as often as once or twice a day, or less frequent, such as every other day. There must be enough of the large intestine to absorb and store. The anal sphincter muscle is used to control the bowel movement until a convenient time. When most of the colon is still in place, the bowel can generally return to the usual pattern the person had prior to surgery. With a colostomy there is no longer a sphincter muscle to hold the stool in until a convenient time to go to the bathroom. Stool will flow into the pouch with no control over the timing. This loss of control that comes along with having a stoma can result in stool flow into the pouch at inconvenient or embarrassing times. Gas can also be an issue. 

Colostomy Irrigation is used to empty the colon for any of the following reasons. 

* To regulate the bowel 
* Clean out the bowel for testing procedures, including colonoscopy 
* To stimulate bowel function for constipation or if the colon is very slow to wake up after the colostomy surgery 

When colostomy irrigation is used to help stimulate bowel function after intestinal surgery, only a small amount of warm water is instilled. This is done after the normal waiting time for stool flow has passed. Anesthesia, pain medications and inactivity after surgery all contribute to slowing the bowel down and delaying return of normal peristalsis needed to have bowel function. Colostomy irrigation can be used as a possible method for cleansing the bowel in preparation for colonoscopy, laboratory testing, x-rays, barium enema and CT scans, as well as any other testing that requires the bowel to be empty for clear visualization by the physician. Cleaning out the bowel for testing has shifted more toward oral preparations with the advancements of laxative-type bowel cleansing medications. However, irrigation is still an option, especially for those patients with certain health issues or who cannot tolerate oral preparations. 

When colostomy irrigation is used to regulate the bowel, the procedure is done daily. If the normal pre-surgery bowel pattern was less frequent than daily, the procedure can be done every other day. It may take a couple of weeks to "train" the bowel to completely empty at the time of irrigation. The desired result is to move all of the stool out with irrigation and have no spillage of stool into the pouch between irrigations. The best results are obtained by doing the procedure at the same time every day in order to "train" the bowel for evacuating on a regular basis at a convenient time. For some people it is most convenient to perform irrigation in the morning and for others the best time is in the evening when they are not rushing off to work or other daily activities. It is up to the patient's personal preference. 

If the procedure works well, the person with a descending or sigmoid colostomy can count on regular evacuations and the need for a pouch is minimized. The patient who irrigates successfully may wear only a small stoma cap or gauze square over the stoma between irrigations. Some wear a small pouch just for security. 

Colostomy irrigation is not always appropriate or even desirable for every person who has a sigmoid or descending colostomy. The person's age, physical and mental ability to learn and perform the procedure, the disease process, and whether or not the ostomy is temporary or permanent are all factors that need to be considered. 

Irrigation is NOT recommended for people with any of the following conditions: 
* Stomal prolapse - Irrigating can increase the risk for further prolapse 
* Parastomal hernia - Hernias change the contour and angle of the intestine so there is increased risk for bowel perforation and poor evacuation results 
* Children or young adults - In younger people, routine irrigation may create bowel dependency. In other words the bowel may not be able to function normally without irrigation if the routine is started at an early age. 
* Pelvic or abdominal radiation - Radiation can cause damage to the tissue of the intestine. Anyone with abdominal radiation has an extreme risk of bowel perforation, so it is important not to add any extra pressure to the fragile tissue. 
* Diverticulitis - Because the bowel tissue is already compromised from this disease process, there is a much higher risk of bowel perforation. 
* Patients with limited manual dexterity * Patients with poor learning ability 
* Persons who had poor bowel regularity before surgery will likely have poor results from irrigation 
* Extremely ill or terminally ill patients - Routine irrigation is usually not recommended for these patients because of the time and energy required for the procedure 

When colostomy irrigation is being considered, it is important to first determine if the individual is a good candidate. In other words, are there are any of the above risk factors? If not, then consider the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure, keeping in mind that the procedure, from start to finish, can take up to 45 minutes or even an hour. 

The chief advantage is regaining control over fecal elimination. If irrigation is successful, it can reduce the number of pouches used. It may even be possible to choose not to wear a pouch and only use a small protective covering. Successful management of the colostomy with irrigation may assist in the psychosocial adjustment to the colostomy. Disadvantages include the time required for the procedure and not all patients can achieve complete control with irrigation. If elimination patterns change or become unpredictable, the patient may not be free of bowel movements between irrigations. 

Research shows that colostomy irrigation was first used in the 1920s and through the years it was taught routinely to patients with a descending colon or sigmoid colostomy. Among the chief reasons for teaching this routinely was the lack of quality pouches to contain thick or formed stool as they were bulky and did not adhere well to the skin. As pouching systems improved with more advanced technology, Colostomy irrigation as a widely used "routine" procedure lessened and began to be used more for personal preference, or on a need to know basis. 

Regulation of the colostomy using irrigation is a personal matter. Life style and occupation often lead in making the choice. The final decision of whether to use this method or not should be made by the patient with proper guidance from health care professionals. Only those patients who meet the established criteria for irrigation should proceed with using this method of bowel management. 


Irrigation Procedure: 

1. Gather equipment 
2. Fill irrigation container with 1 liter warm water. Run some water through the tubing to remove air 
3. Hang container at shoulder height with patient sitting on toilet or chair near toilet. 
4. Remove old pouch or covering from stoma 
5. Attach irrigation sleeve over stoma 
6. Lubricate cone irrigator and gently insert into stoma. Hold cone gently but firmly against stoma to prevent backflow of water.
7. Open clamp and allow water to flow. If cramping occurs, shut off water flow, keeping cone in place until cramp subsides, then continue. 
8. After water has been instilled, gently withdraw cone and close top of irrigation sleeve. 
9. Allow 15-20 minutes for most of return, dry and clamp bottom of sleeve. Patient may proceed with other activities. 
10. Leave sleeve in place for approximately 20 minutes 


11. When evacuation is complete, remove sleeve, clean peristomal skin and apply pouch or protective covering. 
12. Wash equipment.


Germs are Everywhere
Sources: BCBSIL, FDA, Mayo Clinic

Now is the time of year when germs are at their peak. Germs spread person to person through coughing, sneezing or simply talking. That’s because droplets from an infected person get into the air and are inhaled by people nearby. And they can land on anyone or anything within three feet. Illness-causing germs are often spread when a person touches a surface or object that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth. Germs can live for hours on surfaces such as handrails, doorknobs, telephones, desks and tables.
Frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Although it’s
impossible to keep your hands germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes. Hand-washing requires only soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer—a cleanser that doesn’t require water. Is one better than the other?
Soap and Water — The idea of washing hands to prevent the spread of germs in hospitals didn’t “germinate” until about 1846, when a doctor made the connection between the spread of germs and the number of women dying of “childbed fever.” Despite the evidence of the connection, the idea didn’t take off right away. Although washing hands gradually became a more regular practice, it took until the 1980s to get national hand-washing guidelines in place.
What’s the best way to wash your hands? Wet your hands with warm or cold running water. Then apply
liquid, bar or powder soap and lather it up by rubbing your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. A common way to get the time right is to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while you wash your hands.
Remember to scrub all surfaces of your hands and wrists, including the backs of your hands and wrists,
between your fingers, and under your fingernails. Be sure to rinse well and dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or an air dryer. Use a towel or your elbow to turn off the faucet when you can.
Hand Sanitizer — Hand sanitizers can be spotted in purses, backpacks and desktops everywhere. It’s a portable way to wash when soap and water aren’t available.
Choose hand sanitizers that are 60% alcohol. Alcoholbased hand sanitizers can kill bacterial pathogens and some viruses. But they do not work against norovirus, a common virus that can cause serious illness.
While alcohol-based hand sanitizers are considered a safe, effective alternative when you can’t
wash with soap and water, there are concerns about hand sanitizers that contain triclosan. Triclosan is the main antibacterial ingredient in nonalcoholic hand sanitizers. Triclosan does not protect against viruses or fungi. (Colds are caused by viruses, not bacteria.)
According to the Food and Drug Administration, hand sanitizers that contain triclosan or triclocarbon may be aiding the growth of antibiotic-resistant germs.
And remember that even alcohol-based hand sanitizers can’t work where you can see dirt. It cannot
clean past the dirt. Although old-fashioned soap and water is your best choice for really getting clean, if you can’t get to a sink quickly, an alcohol-based sanitizer is a good alternative.
When Should You Wash? — No matter how you wash your hands, here are a few good times to clean up:
 Before preparing food and eating
 Before inserting or removing contact lenses
 Before and after treating wounds, giving medicine, or
caring for a sick or injured person
 After using the bathroom or changing a diaper
 After touching an animal or animal toys, leashes or

 After handling garbage, household or garden
chemicals or potentially contaminated clothes
 After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into
your hands
 Shaking hands
 Whenever your hands look or feel dirty
Thanks to
The New Outlook, Ostomy Assoc. of Greater Chicago
(Pouch Editor’s Note — It has been strongly recommended that everyone change from outside shoes to inside shoes upon returning home. If one thinks about it, how do we know what kinds of germs are lurking on the many places where we have been walking and then we bring them into the house, play on the rug with the children and animals, etc. etc. [Vacuum cleaners don’t kill germs.] Food droppings are on the kitchen floor and then transferred to other rooms, etc. Its frightening to think about. Many, many cultures have the excellent habit of changing from outside shoes to inside shoes or slippers and I think we can all learn something from them.)



Successful Aging
By Grace Lynch, UOAA Update July 2015

Images of older people pumping iron, teaching kids to read, building homes for the homeless, surfing the net and tap dancing abound in the media today. Whether they’re selling vitamins or vacations, today’s images of older people are a welcome substitute for stereotypes of the past. The images have changed because the realities have changed.
Today’s older people are, in fact, nothing like their parents and grandparents. For one thing, they are living a lot longer. The life expectancy for people age 65 and over is 77.4 years. Compare this with the beginning of the century when the average life span was only 47.
While policy experts once worried that this gift of time would be marred by illness and disability, recent research reveals a gradual decline in chronic disease and disability. The number of people with high blood pressure, arthritis and emphysema has shown an unexpected and steady decline since 1982 and overall, according to the national Long-Term Care Survey, there has been a 15% drop in disability. Never before in history have so many older people had the opportunity to live so long and so well.








700 MAIN ST. SUITE 102, SUISUN CITY, CA 94585-2493













Conference Rooms 3 & 4, 1st Floor, On your Left - Past the Pharmacy.


Lot C 4 or 5 on the East Ackerly Drive has the most Handicap Parking. If you park there, enter at the West Medical Bldg. B turn left at the elevator and the Conference rooms are on your right past the restrooms and before the Pharmacy.



To discontinue receiving a paper newsletter, contact Pat Walling at trainpatch@gmail.com


The documents contained within this newsletter are presented expressly for informational

purposes only. In no way are any of the materials presented here meant to be a substitute for professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. ALWAYS check with your doctor.





Reminder – our next meeting is at Kaiser, Vacaville at 7PM. Let’s get a better turnout than the past two Vacaville meetings as we want to continue to offer our second location again in 2017. Our thanks go out to our favorite Vacaville nurses - Kathy and Michelle for getting us the rooms February, June & September. Their support and discussion at each meeting is invaluable. As is Kathy’s time in getting our June & September speakers. Our speaker this month, Kaiser Dietician Patricia Keibel should be one not to miss. I bet you’ll get a tip that you hadn’t used previously that will be beneficial to a better life. Again, you asked for a Vacaville/Fairfield meeting – please join us. Need a ride? Call Rochelle.


Thanks to those of you who helped our guest – new ostomate, Francisco. We look forward to seeing you again and your lovely family.


BIG THANKS TO OUR TWO FAVORITE Vallejo NURSES – Julie & Naomi for their wonderful presentations last month. Julie addressed a new handout she has developed for new ileostomates. Asking for the input of the group, we all reviewed – “Dehydration with an Ileostomy”. Julie’s handout was quite detailed including much information that would help any ileostomate, but directed mainly to new ileostomy patients as dehydration is the most common reason for readmission amount new ileostomy patients. Key points – Keep hydrated – drink 10 – 12 glasses of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages every day. Know the signs of dehydration – such as fatigue, dry mouth, muscle cramps, light headedness, decreased or dark urine, increased stoma output or increased thirst. Best check – the Pinch Test. Pinch the skin on your forearm. If it remains a tent, you’re probably hydrated. However if the skin goes flat immediately, review the signs listed above. If you have a high liquid output all the time, discuss with your doctor or ostomy nurse possible solutions in diet or medication that can slow it down. High output can drain your body of potassium & sodium. Confirm that all your medications will absorb with an ileostomy (refer to page 5). Be your own advocate. Be aware of what your body is telling you and utilize the medical professionals when needed.


Diarrhea, the flu or not drinking enough fluids – all are possible ways to get dehydrated and receive an invitation to your local ER. Stay informed and healthy.


Naomi – covered the other end of the situation – the colon. Colostomates – stay on a diet rich in soluble fiber. Whether a temporary or permanent colostomy, you need to be aware of tips to staying healthy. Know the extent of your disease and if polyps need be monitored or if chemo/radiation is advised. If so, again be your own advocate and read all materials provided by your medical professionals and ask questions. Stay on the diet and medication routine suggested. Listen to what your body tells you and again, utilize the medical professionals when needed (again page 5).


An ostomy, whether it be temporary or permanent is a wonderful tool for your body to use to get you back to a healthy lifestyle so you can get back in the thick of it. Work with it and return to having fun. It’s an accomplishment – be proud of the fact you made it. Get over the speed bumps and enjoy life! We did it – You can do it!



Reuters: UOAA Update September 2015


There could be a simple reason that people tend to forget things as they grow older. They run out of mental storage space. An article published in the Journal of Developmental Psychology says age-related memory loss may not be due to a decline in information-processing abilities, as a commonly held theory goes, but rather to limited information-storing space in our brains.


Researchers from the University of California at Riverside examined 778 healthy subjects aged 6 to 76. They were given tests to assess their working memory, verbal recall and visual/spatial tasks. In these tests, they were asked to recall information learned recently or to process information by categorizing it.


They found that memory-processing ability was not linked to age, but their simple recall abilities were. Based on the subjects' test scores, the study suggests that our ability to store and retrieve information from memory improves throughout childhood, but peaks at about age 45 and goes downhill from here on.  In other words, we have a limited amount of space for storing memories and at a certain point we just run out of room. However, the researchers point out that memory storage capacity varies from person to person, and so declines in recall ability May occur later for some people than others. 






Adapted from the Mayo clinic Health Letter: UOAA Update September 2015


Arthritis is almost inevitable. By age 40, your joints begin to show wear and tear. At 60, you probably are aware of some symptoms. And if you are 80, you probably are all too aware of what arthritis feels like.


There's still no cure for arthritis, although promising new therapies are being developed from safer, more effective pain treatments to replacement of whole joints. And if you actively manage your arthritis, you may be able to gain control over your pain.


Arthritis, a disease that causes joint inflammation, can also affect muscles, tendons and ligaments, or your skin or internal organs. Causes aren't always clear, although genetic factors probably play a role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Other possible causes being studied include environmental factors, certain foods, infectious organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and an imbalance of certain enzymes.


Of more than 100 forms of arthritis, these are the main types:

Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type. It is a chronic condition that usually begins in midlife or later. While causes are not entirely clear, a previous injury, such as a knee injury, can increase the risk of developing the disease in that joint Lack of exercise, excessive weight, and certain genetic diseases can also lead to the condition, which can affect any joint, but most often affects the hands, knees and hips.


Because it involves the wearing away of cartilage3 that caps the bones in your joints, osteoarthritis is often called "wear-and-tear arthritis". Cartilage is a tough, smooth, slippery material that prevents the grinding of bone against bone as you move. As cartilage wears down over time, it roughens; eventually bone ends touch and rub.


Osteoarthritis may be caused by an imbalance of enzymes in cartilage that allows it to break down faster than it is rebuilt, resulting in irritation of adjacent bone. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the affected joints during or after use; occasional swelling; or joint pain occurring with weather changes.


Rheumatoid and Related Types of Arthritis: This is an inflammatory disease which is often more severe than other forms of arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease, a condition in which the immune system attacks parts of the body. Pain and swelling result when the synovial membrane that protects and lubricates joints becomes inflamed. Chemicals released into the joints begin to digest cartilage, bone, tendons and ligaments. Eventually the joint may be destroyed.


Because the immune system is involved, rheumatoid arthritis can affect the whole body, including the heart, blood vessels, lungs, and eyes, causing fatigue, aching muscles, anemia and even a low-grade fever.


The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, although some researchers suspect it may be triggered by an infection, either a virus or bacteria, in people with inherited susceptibility. The infection causes immune cells, including white blood cells, to fight the invading organism. In the process, the cells also attack the lining of the joints.


Several related forms of arthritis are also thought to involve an autoimmune problem. They are systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which can affect all joints, plus lungs, kidneys and blood vessels; scleroderma, in which fibrous deposits form in the skin; polymyositis, a condition causing inflammation and weakness in all muscles of the body; giant cell arteritis, inflammation of the arteries located near the eyes and temples; and polyalgia rheumatic, inflammation that causes pain and stiffness in muscles and joints in the neck, shoulders, upper arms, lower back, thighs and hips.


Other types of arthritis include ankylosing spondylitis, in inherited susceptibility that causes a stiff, rigid spine; gout and pseudo gout, in which crystals form in joint cavities; and acute joint infections caused by germs (staph infections, gonorrhea, Lyme disease, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and German measles, for example).


There is presently no cure for arthritis, although a number of new drugs have been developed that relieve pain. For example, rheumatoid arthritis patients benefit from Remicade. In a recent research study, Crohn's patients achieved a state of remission from Remicade given as infusions every two months. (WebMD Medical News, May 2002). This may suggest a connection between Crohn's and the arthritis that many Crohn's patients develop early in their disease.


Another pain relieving techniques are:

  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). Electrodes taped to the skin deliver a tiny, painless current that blocks transmission of pain messages to the brain.

  • Hyaluronic Acid Injections. Hyaluronic acid is produced naturally in the body to lubricate joint cartilage. In osteoarthritis this substance is broken down in joints and lubrication is lost. In a process called visco-supplementation, doctors give a series of hyaluronic acid (Hyalgan, Synvisic) injections into the affected joint over three to five weeks. The treatment is approved for osteoarthritis of the knee; for many people it seems to help increase lubrication and reduce pain.

  • Surgical Treatments. In the pasts 20 years, joint replacement surgery has become the most important surgical treatment for arthritis. In this surgery, part of the damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial device called prosthesis. These are generally made from metal, plastic, ceramic or a combination of materials. Although the hip joint is the most commonly replaced joint, today implants can replace shoulder, knee, finger, ankle and even elbow joints. It is most successful in large joints like hips and knees.

Other surgical techniques are designed to remove loose fragments of bone, cartilage or synovial tissue causing pain; reposition bones to help correct deformities; and fuse joint bones to increase stability and reduce pain. Talk with your doctor about risk versus benefits in your individual case.




UOAA Diet and Nutrition Care Guide, Edited by Bobbie Brewer, UOAA Update 11/12


Due to the absence of the colon and often altered trasit time through the small intestine, the type of medication taken must be carefully considered when prescribing for the person with an ileostomy. Medications in the form of coated tablets or time release capsules may not be absorbed and therefor, o benefit received. A large number of medications are prepared this way. Before the prescription is written, the patient with an ileostomy should inform the physician of his concern.

If the medication required is available only in a certain form and the coating would not be destroyed by the stomach juices, then the tablet may be crushed between two spoons and taken with water. (Note: check with your pharmacist to determine if the pill should be crushed).

The best type of medication for the person with an ileostomy if either in the form of uncoated tablets or in liquid form. Although these are not the most palatable treatments, these dosage forms ensure that the medication prescribed will be absorbed.

After ileostomy surgery, never take laxative. For a person who has an ileostomy, taking laxatives can cause a severe fluid and electrolyte imbalance.

Transit time varies with individuals. If food passes through undigested, be aware that this may be a sign that the nutrients are not being absorbed properly. Prolonged incidences of decreased absorption may lea to various subclinical or clinical nutritional deficiencies.


When to Contact a WOC Nurse

By Julie Powell, WOCN


Living with an ostomy can be a bit challenging at times. One of the most important things to remember is that everyone's ostomy is different. The following are reasons to contact a WOC nurse for advice:


  • A change in the size or appearance of the stoma.

  • Skin problems around the stoma including a rash, open sores, redness or weeping.

  • Ongoing leakage of the pouching system.

  • Weight gain or loss that may cause difficulty with pouching system.

  • A cut in the stoma.

  • Difficulty in getting an appliance to secure to the skin around the stoma.

  • General questions regarding ostomy care and management. Issues may revolve around diet, bathing, activity, odor, diet and travel.

  • Contemplating a change in pouching system. 


H: Handicapped Bathroom 

Used with permission from Brenda Elsagher from:

I'd Like to buy a Bowel Please: Ostomy A to Zwww.livingandlaughing.com


An usher at the theater downtown would guard the handicapped bathroom and only let "handicapped" people in to use it before or during the plays. When I walked toward the door, she said, "This bathroom is for handicapped people only." Am I handicapped I thought? No, but I knew the bathroom upstairs had no sinks in the stalls, and I had not brought things with me that I would need. Instead, I said, "Some handicaps cannot be seen. Although I am not handicapped like some people, I would prefer to use a stall with a sink in the same room." She seemed perplexed, but I would have done a show-and-tell and embarrassed her if I needed to get my point across. Luckily, she stepped aside.



 Most of the time, I coped with my ostomy and colon cancer with humor. It seemed to relax me as well as those around me. It gave them permission to tease me when they saw I could laugh about it. Conversations were less strained because we didn't pretend; we just dealt with it head on using a well-placed laugh. 


Vitamin D Helps Elderly Avoid Fractures

UOAA Update July 2015

Preventing broken bones as you age could be as easy as popping a vitamin D pill just three times a year. It’s
especially important to prevent bone thinning and fractures in the elderly. In fact, breaking the hip can even cause death
in many elderly people, due to an increase in pneumonia or blood clots from being immobilized in bed. Prior studies
have shown that combination of vitamin D and calcium can reduce fractures. But researchers in a study wanted to see if
vitamin D alone would have the same effect.
The study is published in the March 2009 issue of the
British Medical Journal. Researchers studied more than
2,500 people ages 65 to 85. Each took 100,000 IU of vitamin D, a high dose compared with the normal dose of 400 IU,
or a placebo every four months. People who took vitamin D were 22% less likely to have a fracture during the five-year
study. They were also 33% less likely to have a fracture in areas of the body that are commonly affected by
osteoporosis (hip, wrist, forearm, and vertebrae). There were no side effects of vitamin D and the cost is minimal.

Site Map