Coming home recently from a state hospital in South Africa after an operation in which they had removed my colon, I found myself with a very troublesome stoma and a large open wound. I was unable to work, had no income,no medical insurance and was in a dreadful state of mind.
My daughter Cyanne, who had taken my situation rather badly, had been trying to find ways to help, but as a single Mom trying to hold down three different jobs to make ends meet, her own financial situation was at best tenuous.
Cyanne was setting up and doing the final touches to a 4th Birthday cake at a client's and had been discussing my situation with her when a newcomer walked in. The client introduced her friend as Caroline and said to her, “Cyanne’s dad has just had his colon removed and is not dealing well with it”. Caroline looked at Cyanne bemused and said, “I run a wound and stoma clinic. Send your dad to me and I'll see if I can help.”
It took a lot of convincing for me to go, because I was severely depressed. The longest I had managed to keep a stoma bag on without a “blow-out” was 2-days but mostly they were lasting less than a day.
Sister Caroline was very quickly able to assess my stoma and determine that I was using the wrong type of products and bags. She not only treated me free of charge but provided a variety of stoma products from her own stock until we were able to settle on what worked best for me. I now use a profiled bag with an eakin ring, and my bags are lasting a full 7-days between changes.
Call it divine intervention or what you will but I am astounded by the series of events that led me to meet Sister Caroline. I cannot adequately express my gratitude for the difference she has made in my quality of life. She is truly the epitome of an angel.
If you are struggling, don’t do it alone. The Bigger Life community is here to help with moral support, clinical advice or help finding local stoma nurses. Please reach out and ask.