It feels like time is moving more slowly for many people right now, and although it may feel like longer, the instructions to #stayhome have been in place for just over two weeks. On a recent podcast from Preet Bharara, his guest Andy Slavitt mentioned that it is normal to feel restless and like you just want to give up and go out at the two week point.

It’s useful to know what’s normal and common because it can give us a sense that although we have this feeling, it doesn’t mean we have to listen to it. It’s helpful to acknowledge the feeling, and give yourself time to feel it and any of the other feelings that are coming with this strange and challenging time. And then after those feelings have moved through, you can remind yourself that the hard work of staying put is working. BC’s numbers are increasing more slowly. Which means the staying home is working. So keep up the good work. It’s not easy, but you are helping!

Managing other stresses

Besides the concern about becoming sick, or having someone close to you become sick, there are lots of other stresses right now. Financial, housing, and childcare concerns, and decreased access to the usual resources right now, adds up.

The BC Government has created a website to help you access some of the programs they have put in place to assist in this uncertain time. The website includes a link to the symptom screening tool you can do online, and information about assistance with rent and bills, as well as other resources.

Ostomy specific

Immune compromise

For many people with an ostomy, there is no additional concern about contracting COVID-19. However, if you are on biologics or steroids for treatment of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease like Crohn’s or Colitis) or you are going through, or recently completed chemotherapy and/or radiation, your immune system is not as strong as others’. While everyone should be making sure they’re:

  • washing  hands regularly,
  • minimizing outings,
  • avoiding touching their face, and
  • avoiding groups

you need to be extra diligent and careful. Is there someone else who can go to the store for you? Can you have supplies and prescriptions delivered? Be creative in finding ways to avoid leaving home as much as possible. Clean door handles, taps and light switches regularly to avoid picking up anything that may have come in with someone else.

Some people might wonder if, because their treatment reduces their immunity, they should stop their treatments. For people with IBD, your treatment helps you be healthier than you would be without it. Starting April 2 Crohn’s & Colitis Canada will be hosting webinars every 2 weeks where you can ask questions related to COVID-19 with IBD. You can also discuss your concerns and questions with your specialists.

Leakage and supplies

If you’re having issues with your ostomy, the nurses are still happy to talk with you on the phone or by email. You don’t need to suffer leakage or skin breakdown without support – we are here to help!

So far we haven’t received any information that ostomy supplies will be subject to shortages. There have been some delays due to the higher volume of deliveries being made (groceries, prescriptions, ordering from Amazon, etc!), but that doesn’t mean products aren’t available. Please give us 7 days if your order requires us to cut your flanges. And please call ahead if you plan to pick up – we will have your order ready for you when you arrive!

A perfect time for abdominal strengthening!

With some extra time on your hands, and fewer options for physical activity, now is the perfect time to start to work on your abdominal strength. These exercises are great for people with an ostomy who want to reduce their risk of a peristomal hernia, and also for people with urinary incontinence.

Go slowly, be gentle and if it feels like almost nothing is happening, that’s a good sign! These are subtle exercises that take time to work. Over time, you build up strength and connection between your brain and muscles, and they work together automatically.

Ostomy Group Meetings

Although support groups are not meeting face to face at the moment, some are trying online versions of meetings to maintain community and connection, and make sure people have the support they need when they need it. Find out more at the UOA Vancouver’s website. 

And now, as a reward for making it to the bottom: