“I'd Like To Buy A Bowel Please! Ostomy A to Z” isn’t Brenda Elsagher’s first book on the topic of ostomies. In “If The Battle Is Over, Why Am I Still In Uniform,” Brenda told her own story of adjusting to life with a colostomy after being diagnosed with rectal cancer. In her second book, she moves the focus of attention away from herself and asks others to speak.
This book is a collection of humorous anecdotes from people living with an ostomy, sorted alphabetically. “I wanted to show that people could reach a place in their lives where they could laugh about dealing with their ostomy instead of crying or totally falling apart,” she writes in the foreword. The over eighty contributors are a diverse group of people. To Brenda, it was important to show that there are ostomates who climb mountains, ride in rodeos, play football, have babies, run marathons, and make jokes. “Everything from A to Z,” she says.
Brenda travels the country as a motivational speaker to educate people about colorectal cancer and ostomies, and met most of her contributors on tour at events from l different parts of the country. Some had their surgery fairly recently, while others for over twenty years.
Her book covers a wide array of topics from how to change a bag while camping, memories of naming their stoma, sex and pregnancy, nurse appreciation, or what to do if a puppy steals your pouch clip. The anecdotes, comments, and poems are united in their optimism, humorous outlook on life, and the deep conviction that life will go on, or in Brenda’s words “Bad things can happen – that’s the risk of living – but at least we’re alive.”
The anecdotes are preceded by an introduction from a Wound and Ostomy Care (WOC) nurse and educator Joy Boarini. She presents us with yet another perspective of ostomy life: The perspective of nurses. Joy shares how a very personal experience, her uncle’s cancer, propelled her to specialize in Wound and Ostomy Care. Her passion for nurse and patient education, as well as her call to include family members in education, is both moving and timely.
In the appendix, provided by Hollister Incorporated, is a general overview of the different types of ostomies and the surgeries that create them.
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