Before starting this beautiful adventure with you, I need to make a confession. The first time I heard about this blog, I didn't really pay attention to it. As an ET nurse, I don't encourage people to look for information on the internet for fear that they'll find erroneous information or meet people that scare them more than they guide them. I don't want my patients to be worried. But when I heard about the ANA underwear line and met NAN's terrific team of young and dynamic people I finally understood. The website is simple and easy to browse. It's a pleasure to read the articles on the blog. My hat goes off to all the collaborators and everyone who'll dare to join the team. I am delighted to join it! And I'll encourage my patients to look at the website and let themselves be inspired.

You need to be passionnate to work in the health field. I'm lucky to be one of those people who love their job. I'm always suprised when my patients ask how I am not disgusted to change their ostomy devices, because to me the answer is obvious! My work is much more than the techniques I learned and the education I got. I really care about my patients' well-being and their personnal journey. I am sure this technique is now second nature to you, or it will be soon, just like it is for me.

I also believe in fate. Every day, I try to be grateful for all the incredible encouters I have. It's not true that only professionals can teach you things, or give you hope or courage. Two people discussing and sharing is a miraculous exchange. In a congress I attended recently, an ET nurse drew an analogy between her patients and teenagers, and it made me laugh. At a certain point in their stage of development, teenagers (or ostomates) need their friends (or fellow ostomates) more than their parents (or ET nurses). But professionals will always be there if you need them. Stand on your own and go meet people. Don't be afraid to do it!

With this article, I want to get you hooked on sharing and helping others. We underestimate the power others can have on us, and the power we can have on others. Just think about someone who inpires you. Maybe you didn't notice and you are this person for someone, or you can become that person by learning to live with your ostomy. Never forget that you have the strength to overcome life's challenges. You just got to take up the challenge! The best has yet to come.

I am priviliged to have been able to attend the Association des Personnes Stomisées de l'Estrie (APSE)'s last meeting in May. I was really happy to see the relationship between a new ostomate and a resource person. Resource people are useful for us when one of our patients wants to talk to an ostomate before deciding to undergo surgery or not. A strong bond was formed from such a simple opportunity! I was happy to see people sympathise and talked about their lifestyle. Sharing with others can be great, because you feel like others understand you without having to explain anything. I was also happy to see that age wasn't an issue, and that people still value the experience of our elders. It was great to see a young woman plan for the future after seeing an older person go through the same things as her.

Go see other people, give back to others, and dare! Everyone has a story that deserves to be shared. You just need to find what drives you. Find what motivates you to make a difference in your life and the life of others.

ET nurse

Brought to you by : Centre de stomie de la Mauricie