Despite her family’s history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), when Aimee Frisch turned 26 she figured she was in the clear, hoping never to receive the Crohn’s diagnosis that had burdened her father. Then, within eight months Aimee went from perfectly healthy to nearly dying. In October of 2002, she was diagnosed with indeterminate colitis — a term used when it's not clear if a person has Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
“My father’s experience with his stoma was very bad. So, when the doctors told me I needed to have surgery or I might die tomorrow, I still wasn’t convinced I should do it.”
Aimee, unfortunately, has had many surgeries. First for a temporary stoma, then in 2004, she received a permanent ileostomy. In 2007, Aimee went back to school to become a Registered Nurse with the specific goal of becoming a Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurse. She became a certified WOC Nurse in 2010 and since then has worked for Froedtert Health Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
Below Aimee shares inspiration from her own WOC Nurse and talks about her personal experience trying the CeraPlus™ skin barrier.
Q: Why did you decide to become a WOC Nurse?
AF: My diagnosis and surgeries were all happening while trying to plan my wedding, and that was really stressful. My WOC Nurse was amazing. The work and care she put in to try and make sure my wedding would not be remembered for the pouch I was wearing under my dress was inspiring. She’s the reason I decided to go back to school and become a WOC Nurse.
Q: How did you feel about participating in the CeraPlus skin barrier product evaluation?
AF: I am always trying new and different products so I was interested in the CeraPlus skin barrier when I heard about it. I know that in the end, every patient is different and not every product is right for everyone, but I do feel I can give better and maybe more useful feedback and descriptions since I speak the language.
Q: What was your first impression of the product?
AF: When I first saw it, I had some concerns. It looked thin and I tend to push boundaries when it comes to wear times. I tend to only change my skin barrier every six or seven days. I didn’t think the CeraPlus barrier could handle that.
Q: How was your experience after using the skin barrier?
AF: I wore it as I would normally wear any pouching system. I used a no-sting prep wipe* and didn’t alter my regular daily routine because of it. I wore it when I went swimming with my daughter and was concerned about it in the pool and with the extra showering afterward. I also used it with a barrier ring and admittedly was skeptical of how it would hold up. I was happily surprised to not get that “need-to-change” feeling, even at the end of the week.
*CeraPlus™ skin barrier is not recommended for use with extended wear products as it may decrease wear time.
Q: Can you describe your “need-to-change” feeling?
AF: For me, it’s the itchy, dry skin. Just before and just after I change the itching can get so bad, I can think of nothing else. While using the CeraPlus skin barrier, I felt the difference was immediately noticeable. And it lasted. Even on day seven of wearing it, I didn’t have that, “I have to itch” sensation.
Q: Did your skin feel any different?
AF: Yes. The surface felt really soft, like it was moisturized.
Q: Would you use the CeraPlus skin barrier with your patients?
AF: I would and right from the start. I think we tend to focus on problem-solving — we look to try new things on patients with problems. I’d use it with patients before there is a problem with the peristomal skin.
Q: As a WOC Nurse, is there anything else you’d tell your colleagues about the CeraPlus skin barrier?
AF: I would certainly encourage them to consider putting it in their “tool box.” We all have our go-to products for certain situations and this certainly fits that criteria. As a simple solution, it makes the routine of stoma management easier.
Aimee’s experience may not be representative of what any other user of the CeraPlus skin barrier should expect. Each user’s experience will depend on a number of factors such as proper size and fit of the barrier, wear time, environmental factors, etc. It is important to get appropriate guidance from a health care professional when choosing a skin barrier.
The CeraPlus skin barrier is infused with ceramide (the skin’s naturally occurring protection against dryness) and comes in a range of fit options including one-piece, two-piece, flat, firm convex, soft convex, tape border and tapeless. To request a sample of the CeraPlus skin barrier, click here.
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