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Ostomy support group
Griff Amos and Cindy Sparkman of Marshall Cancer Care Center discuss plans for the new ostomy support group Griff spearheaded.

Wed, Jan 30, 2019 at 05:08 PM

Cancer Care Center to offer ostomy support group

People of all ages live perfectly normal lives with ostomies - new support group will address misconceptions and provide helpful strategies.

Marshall Medical will begin an ostomy support group in February. The group is called “InsideOut – Ostomy Support Group”.  

An ostomy is an opening created surgically, at the abdomen, that allows for elimination of bodily waste.

An ostomy may be needed in instances such as inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, cancer, and severe injury to the abdomen.

InsideOut will meet monthly, and the first meeting is Sunday, February 10 at 2 p.m. at Marshall Cancer Care Center. 

The support group will focus on ostomy education, covering topics including skincare and supplies, as well as, provide the opportunity for attendants to share their experiences and learn from each other.

InsideOut is open to individuals who currently have an ostomy, have previously had an ostomy, are considering an ostomy procedure, or provide support to someone who has an ostomy.

Griff Amos, a lab assistant at the Cancer Care Center, has lived with an ostomy since 2012, and he is the driving force behind the start of the new support group. 

Personal experience led to group formation

Amos’ personal experience and discussions with the patients he sees at the Cancer Care Center, who have their own ostomies, led him to start a support group in the local community. 

Amos said he and patients relate to each other over the commonality. He stated that several patients expressed interest in a support group, and it is something the area has needed for some time, recalling his desire for one since he first received his own ostomy. 

Last December, after another patient mentioned interest, Amos knew an ostomy support group was something that could help many. He presented the idea to Cancer Care Center director Cindy Sparkman, which set the official planning for the group into motion.

In addition to increasing knowledge, Amos hopes InsideOut will help attendants become more comfortable and confident towards ostomies instead of viewing them as limitations.

Amos spoke about misconceptions among those who have or may need an ostomy

“People think they can’t do anything, and people think they’re going to be homebound,” Amos said, “I know patients who have had them and have been skydiving and scuba diving.”

Connie Warren, a Cancer Care Center patient who has an ostomy, is excited about InsideOut. She plans to attend group meetings and looks forward to learning from others.

“I’m excited about the group and to see where it takes us,” said Warren.

For more information about InsideOut call the Cancer Care Center at (256) 894-6750.

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NOTE: This is a “lay-led” support group designed with the goal of helping ostomy patients with the emotional and daily management of their ostomy.   It is designed to provide peer support and education. For medical advice, patients should seek guidance from a trained ostomy professional. 

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