Surviving Health Challenges: A Rollercoaster of Loss & Resilience

Little Lulu

Ritz, you are truly an inspiration to all of us! Your outlook on life is really something to share with everyone! I love your attitude about life. Enjoy those rollercoasters! After all you have been through in your life, the rest is just gravy. I'm in awe of you! Lucy


Hi Ritz

Thank you for sharing your vent of what you have had to put up with over the years. You are one tough cookie who has been to hell and back. Hopefully, you can see a brighter future and put the past behind you. Your time to live and be able to do anything you want to do without a care in the world. Enjoy the ride, Ritz XX

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Reply to Ritz

Thank you, Ritz.

I have a very positive mindset for my new life. I know there will be ups and downs, trials and tribulations, but I am in a better place from where I was before. So all we can do is go up from here. My mom always used to say "this too shall pass." And I hold onto those words as a strong foundation.


Reply to Dlynn

Deanna ... my mom of 94 tells me 'Forget about's a new day of brightness today."


Reply to Caz67

Can ... You got that right! Thanks, Ritz

How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Hi Ritz, it's Marsha, from NJ. I've often shared my "story" and history, and I marvel that I'm still here, a walking talking miracle. But then, I also read of other people like you who have walked/lived a similar path, and although I'm sad about what they've gone through, I feel like I'm not alone in this world. I remember thinking as a sick kid of all the things I wanted to do "if" I ever got well, and for the most part, I have. I married, had my miracle children, traveled the world (my own bucket list), walked the wall in China, swam in the Dead Sea, snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, but the last ten years have been a challenge. I now have more medical conditions than ever before, see 10 specialists, and seem to have one emergency after another. It's like reliving the worst years of my childhood all over again (this time with an ostomy). Thank you for sharing your story of hope and survival and the enduring will to go on. There's a prayer in Jewish service that begins (Modim Anachnu Lach) which is "Let us give thanks," and these days, every morning I open my eyes, and I find that I'm alive. Life is good. 8 long-time dear friends of mine died this year, from diseases, dementia, COVID, and one who just died in her sleep at 72. I met Tara when she and I were both ill with UC and had our surgeries the same year. She was in PA, and I was in Brooklyn, NY. Despite my ongoing medical issues, I'm still out there, trying to meet and date, and now that COVID restrictions have been lifted somewhat, I'm getting on with that social life and "modified" bucket list. To all the other ostomates out there, hang in and conquer whatever demons haunt you. However restricted, life is worth living, and that's something I need to remember every day. Thank you to all who have shared your stories. Best regards, Marsha


Hi Ritz. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a true warrior. Best wishes and good health to you.

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Reply to Ritz

Give your mom a hug for me.... She is a star. Sounds like my mom, we lost mom at 89, another star.

Reply to Mellie

Luckily, I am now in perfect health and happy with my life.

Past Member

People sometimes complain or freak out over the littlest of things. Some people melt down over spotty internet connections, long lines at grocery stores, stubbing their toes, or losing their car keys. Some people have actually jumped off bridges for getting fired from their job. And then I read stories like yours.

Instead of choosing to bury your head in the sand and give up on yourself, you've chosen to embrace your reality, chosen to make the best with what you've got, and chosen to move forward and evolve. I find it inspiring whenever people like yourself go through literal hell and still emerge from the fire strong, resilient, and determined. Thank you for sharing your story, Ritz.

Reply to Anonymous

Red ... thanks for reading my reality. I'm a strong believer in living. Stay well.


Just when you think that you've got a handle on the different aspects of life, one is thrown a "curve." Hi fellow ostomates....most of you have read my story..., more than 55 years with an ileostomy done when I was 15 for ulcerative colitis. I accepted it well, went on with my life, went to high school, to college for a few years, socialized, dated, got engaged, dropped out of school, got married, went to work, to earn enough money for us to buy a house.... which we did. Along came baby number one, and then baby number 2... when they were ready for school, I went back to complete my education.... However, with all the good, sadly my marriage started to deteriorate, and by the time I graduated, and my boys went off to college I was filing for divorce... But I was still okay, and started my career as a teacher... I also began to travel first around the US, Mexico, Canada.....cruised the Caribbean, and then toured Europe with friends. When the more exotic called I was off to China, Japan, Israel, South Africa, and even Australia, to visit my son and his family who live there.. Something in my mind said.." Use this time to do what you want, because good times don't last forever... Another way of saying seize the moment... How glad I did.. In the following years, I started developing medical issues stemming from all the treatments I had as a child... First came erratic liver enzymes.....and later found out that I had a diseased liver, and Hep C... (Treated 2x.....first year-long treatment didn't work)... Later came diabetes, orthopedic/arthritic issues, healing issues from steroids, circulation issues in my legs.... and the list goes on. I see 10 different specialists, and am on a myriad of medications. Two years ago, basic foods started to bother me..... after more than 50 years of eating what I wanted to....I was having IBS symptoms (without a large intestine) and had frequent bouts of "the runs".... My diet (FODMAP) became very restrictive....which was very depressing... One day a food would agree with me, another not.. It's difficult to be grateful when you feel like you're revisiting the worst (childhood) years of your life.. Last week, I was up early for a gynecologist appointment/procedure... came home, had lunch, and then took a nap. I woke up two hours later retching and losing fluid (about a pint an hour). Long story short....I ended up in the hospital....acute gastric issues.....intravenous, on a stretcher in the emergency room for two days. It was a madhouse, with overcrowding and the lack of staff and materials... I finally got a room also in the emergency room, but no real care or attention, until I got a room on an upstairs floor.. In the end, they never diagnosed what I had.. preliminary diagnosis was a urinary tract infection, but that doesn't cause pea green clear liquid poop... Sigh.. And somewhere along the way, I had lost my phone, so my family had no idea where I was. I finally realized that the hospital had contact info for my sister and they were called. But visitors were not allowed so I was still alone... The infectious disease doctor suggested that I'd be safer at home, so that's what I did. I've been home, alone, sleeping around the clock, eating soup or cereal, and drinking fluids to get hydrated... I know others are suffering more.....from COVID or other life-threatening conditions, but in my case, I felt like it was my childhood illness revisiting me......and there I was alone again in the hospital... Angst? Yes... Sadness? Yes, Fear? Yes.. Gratitude....definitely yes.. I'm still here, to do battle again, if I need to do it... Have faith and courage my fellow ostomates.. We're often stronger than we think we are.. Best of luck and a better start for a healthier 2022... Marsha

Reply to Immarsh

Hi Marsha, it really puts things into perspective for me to read what you have been going through, and continue to go through. You are truly amazing to have maintained your positive attitude, and remained hopeful and thankful for what you have. It's a good reminder to all of us to be grateful for what we have. You are so right about being stronger than we think we are. Most of us are never tested to see just how strong we are! You are inspiring, and I just wish the best for you going forward.


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