Ostomy friendships have been an unexpected blessing in my life. I owe so much to my fellow ostomates, and they have saved my life in ways they may never know. I’m so isolated in person, and ostomy friends are my lifeline. I can trust them and share life no matter how far away they are. They are irreplaceable and fabulous.
I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to know the great people I’ve met because of our ostomies. They pull me out of my darkest times, help me serve other ostomates better, and they help me feel free and relaxed. I do not deserve such patient, kind, wonderful friends, so I am deeply grateful. I even met some of the Stealth Belt team as friends first before I ended up as part of the squad! I love working with all sorts of people to promote ostomy awareness and education. Some of my brilliant friends speak to members of the medical field and legislature, and I will be sure to join in on the fun when I am less sick and tired.
Admiration and solidarity are great foundations for friendships because conversations flow so easily, so quickly after meeting people. I have kidnapped a lot of people at UOAA conferences by being aggressively friendly and making sure everyone can hang out and form relationships outside formal sessions. Ostomy friends make my life better every day. They remind me of the best of humanity when I’m frustrated with people. When I’m out of my mind in frustration or joy, I’m calling an ostomy friend. (You are welcome and I am sorry). Having a sense of community is vitally important to me, and I’ve found what I’m looking for among fellow ostomates.
The support network I have going for me is beautiful, rare and special. Long distance friendships require commitment to showing other people that they are worth care and time. I do this through hand written letters and handmade postcards, but everyone can find their own comfort zone. During the pandemic when we’ve all been even more stir-crazy, my ostomy friends have been the ones on long phone calls and video chats. Most of my virtual New Year’s Eve party were ostomy buddies across the country and one from across the pond. Working with ostomy friends has made professional life entertaining and less stressful.
Ostomy friends come with such an instant bond, and I hope I never squander that. I hope to hold my time with them close to my heart and use it to bring myself some comfort on my difficult days. They have led to jobs and one of the best vacations of my life, so there is truly no way to understand my good fortune in getting connected with my gutless friends. I can’t wait to see each and every one of you again. Thank you, dear ones.