Guest writer Jessica Grossman is the founder of Uncover Ostomy, an online campaign focused on raising awareness towards the ostomy and defeating the negative stigma surrounding the surgery.
What do you think of when you hear the word “ostomy”?
Have you ever even heard that word before?
Don’t worry, neither have they.
An ostomy is a surgically created opening from an internal organ such as the intestines or ureters to an external point in the abdomen where waste exits the body into a special bag is worn on top.
Ok – so an ostomy has never been the most glamorous of things. In fact, it is often stigmatized in the media and by the public. Those is need of ostomy surgery often refuse to have it, fearing how others may think of them knowing that the stigma exists. As someone who was facing death head-on at only 13 years-old due to severe Crohn’s disease, however, I have quite the different opinion. My ostomy saved my life and I couldn’t be happier.
I created the online awareness campaign called Uncover Ostomy to show how grateful I am to be alive after ostomy surgery. I’ve used different social channels to bring up discussions on the topic and use my about.me page as a hub to bring them all together. The campaign features a blog where I write about living life like everyone else; trying to build a career, having crazy romances, and even losing loved ones. It also highlights some pretty racy pictures that show that the ostomy can still be sexy.
Uncover Ostomy also wants to show that the idea of ostomy surgery doesn’t have to be so serious. We actually launched a pretty funny new video where you can see first hand how few people actually understand the surgery and it’s necessity. And, there’s an iguana. Watch, laugh, enjoy, and please share it with everyone you know.
I’ve met some amazing people and have had some incredible experiences related to ostomy surgery all because of my about.me page. I was even flown to Italy to be a keynote speaker at a conference from an organization who found me through it! Check out a few more pages raising Ostomy awareness.