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Karen & Stella
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About
I have an ileostomy and short-gut syndrome following surgery in 2010 for bowel cancer. The cancer developed after 13+ years struggling with ulcerative colitis and treatment with Remicade. Since my ileostomy (I call her Sally the stoma), I have been very ill with complications like bowel obstructions, adhesions, and fistula in a surgical wound. The latest setback involves severe cervical discitis (an infection in my neck spine discs), that ended up nearly paralyzingly my left arm. I just had 2 surgeries to take pressure off of my spinal cord (12/9/13 & 12/12/13) that were successful in restoring some function to my left arm. It will take 6 weeks-4 months for my neck to heal and provide protection to my spinal cord.
I volunteer at my local library and the Immigrant and Refugee Center in Portland Oregon teaching knitting classes whenever my health allows. I spending time with my husband, traveling by motorcycle when I can. I like reading fiction, especially speculative fiction, knitting complex sweaters and hats, and was learning how to spin my own yarn when my arm stopped working. I like watching the Daily Show on Comedy Central and discussing progressive politics. I tend to try to look at the positives in situations. I especially enjoy spending time with my pets, Charlie The Dog and Maeve my cat. Charlie and I walk every day and love to explore our local park and enjoy neighbors gardens.

I am looking for mutually supportive friendships, but not a dating or intimate relationship. I am happily married to a pretty supportive guy, who tries really hard to understand what I have to deal with. I am particularly enjoying learning about new products and treatments from others on-line. This website has been a huge help to me. I love my new stoma cap and showering with both hands again. The help and advice I've gotten by participating in MeetAnOstomate.com has definitely improved my quality of life. The support has been really helpful in getting me through a tough time coping with a high-output fistula, multiple infections, and adjusting to a permanent ileostomy. I was a professor of gerontological nursing prior to my health problems. I loved working with older adults with dementia, doing research to improve care of theses people, and teaching young nurses how to provide exceptional care and advance knowledge for people living with dementia and their carers.

I'm looking for information and support on coping with chronic bowel disease and ostomy care. I've had an ileostomy for about 3 years. Travel in the US and internationally has been a love of mine that I can't wait to experience again. I've been able to travel to the East Coast of USA, and a fabulous trip to Hawaii. I really want to travel to Belize and Europe, but worry about managing my ileostomy in third world countries. This past year I've been volunteering with Refugees from Africa, enjoying learning about their cultures and experiences. I'm committed to creating as normal a life as possible, filled with those things that I enjoy.