Ostomies are lifesavers

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Ostomy surgery is a life-saving procedure that allows bodily waste to pass through a surgically created stoma on the abdomen into an odor proof prosthetic known as a “pouch” on the outside of the body or an internal surgically created pouch for continent diversion surgeries. An ostomy may be necessary due to birth defects, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, incontinence, and many other medical conditions. They are also necessary in cases of severe abdominal or pelvic trauma resulting from accidents or from injuries sustained during military service.

Ostomy or continent diversion surgery may be performed at any age and does not lower life expectancy but extends life and improves the quality of life of those needing the procedure. You may think you don’t know anyone with an ostomy, but you do – they live next door, teach, preach, fight for their country, and swim in the Olympics. Some are not famous; some are and include Napoleon Bonaparte, Dwight Eisenhower, NFL star Rolf Benirschke, and actor Fred Astair to name a few.

There is a local support group in Bellows Falls. Although meetings are currently on hold due to Covid-19, support is still available from the ostomy nurse who runs the group. Margaret Heale has facilitated the Connecticut Valley Ostomy Support Group, COG, for 15 years and offers personal consults through Heale Wound Care. For more information, go to www.healewoundcare.com or email healewoc@gmail.com.

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