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In addition to photography, hiking, climbing and long distance backpacking have been the loves of my life, but have become almost nonexistent in the last few years. It seems that the little pouch we carry has affected most every aspect of my life, including travel, diet,and even sleep, and I am hoping that by sharing experiences maybe we can help each other lead more productive lives. I am looking forward to meeting others here on meetanostomate.

In October of 2005 I was diagnosed by a local surgeon with having terminal colorectal cancer, given 2 months to live if I did nothing, (mostly because I was refusing to have a stoma), and a 10% chance of survival of 5 years even should I undergo treatments and surgeries. Refusing at the time to accept such a negative prognosis, I began treatments by other doctors locally but began interviewing surgeons elsewhere around the state where I eventually chose a particular surgeon in the Portland area.

To shorten an otherwise very long story, as time passed I received 17 months of chemotherapy, 16 weeks of radiation, 8 surgeries and finally told in June of 2007 that I was in remission. Feeling blessed to this day to even be alive, I must admit to being frustrated with the healing process from the side effects of everything my body was subjected to and the fact that I did eventually end up with an ileostomy after all. Which leaves me to the main point that we are probably all on this site for in the first place, the tough job of adjusting our lives to living with a stoma and the fact that professional help in this area seems to be somewhere between difficult to impossible to find.

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