CAROL BRINKMAN, San Juan Capistrano

I am a bag lady! I have an ostomy bag! That means I had life-saving surgery to remove my cancerous bladder and replace it with an external urine bag called an ostomy that I wear on my stomach. I wear my ostomy with pride because that is the small price I pay to be alive!

Oct. 5, 2019 is Ostomy Awareness Day. Approximately 725,000 to one million Americans have an ostomy. An ostomy is a type of surgery that creates an opening in the abdomen that causes a change in the way urine or stool exits the body. About 100,000 new ostomy procedures are performed each year.

It is important that ostomates speak out to increase public understanding of this life-saving surgery. Only through continued education and awareness can we erase the myths and stigma that are sometimes associated with having an ostomy. Only by speaking out can we save lives. Unfortunately, some people still delay the decision or choose death over life with an “ostomy bag” due to stigmas and misinformation.

Therefore, I have respectfully requested a proclamation by the City of San Juan Capistrano that declares Oct. 5, 2019 as “Ostomy Awareness Day.”

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