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Do you know what Saturday, October 1st 2016 is?


It’s a time of changing leaves, burgeoning pumpkin patches, and reflection.  Almost two years ago I was honored to be part of the Great Comebacks Ceremony, which honored inspiring ostomates and the amazing nurses that made our lives possible.

You can watch my story in the Great Comebacks documentary:

Well, this Saturday is a very special day.  It’s actually…world-ostomy-day-is-october-3rd-2015-2

Wait – what’s an ostomy?

For ostomates and non-ostomates alike, I’d like to share my post, “10 Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself  Before My Ostomy.”  Read this post first, then come back here!

Ostomies are something very dear to my heart…and near to my belly.  Yes, I have one.  I don’t always like it, but then I remember why I need to.  And then…I love it!

Did you know it’s World Ostomy Day?  Here’s why all of us should celebrate! [click to tweet!]

Creativity is a mindset... (2)

In honor of World Ostomy Day, I want to brag about three amazing ostomates that I’m honored to know. They inspire me with their unbelievable strength and spirit, and I’m so thankful they’ve contributed to my #LoveMyDetour Weekly Feature.

Don’t know what an ostomy is?  Celebrate the power of the human body! [click to tweet!]

Meet Three Amazing Ostomates

  1. Amber the Colitis Ninja

“The ninja’s look has changed since that fateful night, but she’s still the same little ninja who stared back at me all those many months ago. She helped me find myself that day. She gave me joy. She helped me find the strength to keep fighting. Colitis Ninja is not only my purpose… she is my destiny.

That is why…I #LoveMyDetour!”  


Check out the #LoveMyDetour Gallery and meet Detourists all over the world..just like you! (Send me a picture and I’ll add you into our travels!)

Amber Elder is a patient-advocate blogger. She has been drawing and designing professionally since 2008. Read her Detour story here.

Wow, Amber, you are not only an excellent cartoonist colitis ninja – you are a Ninja of Life!  You go girl!

2. Jearlean the Osto-Beauty

“I am helping cancer survivors, ostomy patients, fashion models, and those suffering with low self-esteem. I am NOT my “bags”. I am beautiful from inside out. I am changing lives though my story. My story does not just belong to me. It will help someone else know his or her “detours” in life will lead to greater!”


This is why I #LoveMyDetour!

Jearlean Taylor is a Baltimore native with a powerful story to tell. Read more in her detour post.

I had the honor of getting to know Jearlean Taylor, the National Recipient through the Great Comeback Awards, and she is simply amazing – thanks Jearlean!.  You can watch her video for Great Comebacks here, learn about her book Pretty Girl Blues, and gawk at her gorgeous modeling photos on her Facebook page.

3. Cancer Owl – Cartooning with Grace

people you encounter_ostomy_2

#LoveMyDetour has already reached so many, and I’m inspired more and more every week by these amazing Why Not Wednesday weekly stories!  Meet Cancer Owl – an amazing, funny cartoonist who made art from illness.  Read his story here.

Share your own detour!

So, you’re not an ostomate, but still want to share another life “Detour?” You can contribute to the movement with my writer’s guidelines.  Or just tag a picture with #LoveMyDetour on  Twitter Instagram, and Facebook!

Did you know it’s World Ostomy Day?  Here’s why all of us should celebrate! [click to tweet]

Three Awesome Ostomate Resources

Being an ostomate can be a lot to manage. Thankfully, there are great resources.

Fearless Ostomates

This is an online Facebook community where you can vent, share, ask and be fearless.  Don’t be afraid to say or ask anything here!

Ostomy Connection is a wonderful resource of articles and helpful tips by Christine Kim.  One of my favorite articles: 7 Quotes from Ostomates on Acceptance

Phoenix Magazine

A print publication with great articles, products and features.  I was thrilled to be able to write two articles for them.

Ostomy Support – We’re Stronger Together!

There are a ton of people who make ostomates’ lives much easier.  And we have amazing nurses to thank!  One of the greatest experiences I’ve had was speaking to over 500 nurses at the WOCN National Convention in Tennessee, where we got to thank the people that truly made the difference in our lives. You can read about my experience at the Great Comebacks Ceremony here.

Every ostomate deserves a WOCN nurse, and we wouldn’t be able to have the quality of life we serve without them!

Ostomates Are Worldwide!

I’m supporting ostomy awareness worldwide. because I know how it feels to feel the undeserved shame and stigma that comes from holding things in.

When I first got my ostomy, I felt very alone. I felt self-conscious, and sometimes I longed for my old body.

Surgery #27

Some art therapy I did years ago to come to term with my ostomy.

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.
Now, I’ve realized how proud I am to be an ostomate – no more secrets!

A wonderful woman,Anisha Vijayan, reached out to me this month, started a #NoMoreSecrets Ostomy Campaign in India.  There are more than 3 Lakh registered ostomates in India, yet nobody seems to know anything about it and those who do have it, refuse to talk about it.

Today is a day not just for those with ostomies, but for EVERYONE to love who they are.
That’s what I try to do through sharing my story and the stories of others – and also why I’ve been nominated as  Health Activist Hero!  You can endorse my nomination through October 21st by going to!
Happy World Ostomy Day!


Well, ya can’t say you don’t know anything about ostomies now!

Have a great day, celebrate, love your body, and love the life your body is in, right here, right now!

“The human body is the best picture of the human soul.”  -Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Oh, and if you need extra body-love inspiration, check out my post: “Do You Have to Love Your Body?”

Check out my speaking for patients, nurses and healthcare professionals at, hear me singing and dancing about all of this in my one-woman musical, Gutless & Grateful, and watch my TEDx Talk on ten years of beautiful “detours” at


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