Stoma Ostomy-A Personal Journey

TEDx is a global non-profit series of conferences designed around a central theme of Technology, Entertainment, and Design, with the “x” representing the location of the individual conference. These talks are instantly available for the sharing of ideas through a live stream. Individual speakers receive a short amount of time to give the “talk of his or her life”. This year’s theme was “Reinvent”. At TEDx Muskegon, Michigan 2013, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to share an idea about reinvention. My story was truly the “talk of my life” as I took the audience on a personal journey of metamorphosis, from confidant urologic oncologic surgeon to humbled cancer patient, and then back to surgeon, but most importantly, with a heightened sense of empathy for my patients. Only through the generous care offered by my family and community was this process possible.

Becoming an Ostomate

The underlying theme was my cancer treatment, that I had my urinary system re-plumbed, and now require a bag for my stoma ostomy… Wearing a stoma appliance is uncomfortable and leads to several insecurities resulting in disengagement from normal social and work routines, in addition to the individual’s personal relationships.

Solving Stoma Ostomy Problems

Due to these problems, we assembled a talented group of professionals. This group consists of medical personnel, manufacturer, and business minds called MED 5. With a friend’s coaching, this group designed a new stoma ostomy appliance cover called StomaCloak. As a result, the StomaCloak greatly assists a return to the mainstream for ostomates. In conclusion, TEDx Muskegon 2013 was a terrific success. Many people attended the event, and although they required significant preparation, all talks were inspirational. Never underestimate the power of the mind!

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