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Wichitans raise awareness about ostomies during October

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 10:09 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - October it “Ostomy Awareness Month.” It’s a topic that can be hard to talk about for some people, but one Wichita man is using his voice to help those living with ostomies.

Austin Powers hosts a weekly podcast called “O-G” or the ostomy guy. He said he knows the subject can be uncomfortable for some, but he’s gotten unbelievable feedback.

Powers go his ostomy in 2006 after years of health issues that started when he was a kid.

“It all started when I was fifth-grader sitting on a big doughnut at school, and creeping around the bathrooms stall with this wound on my backside,” Powers remembers.

An ostomy is an opening in the abdomen created by surgery where waste products exit. Some are temporary while others are permanent. The three most common types are colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy.

Powers says the subject can be awkward and talking about it can help.

“I didn’t know how many people I would learn from and they would also learn from the things that I’ve been through,” said Powers.

Those living with ostomies say support is key and gatherings like ostomy support meetings can make a big difference.

Janell Carr had an ileostomy in April after having chron’s disease for 20 years. She said she went in for a routine colonoscopy in January and found out she had colon cancer. She said the support group is her new family where she can share her experiences and even do yoga.

“It’s just good to connect and not feel alone,” said Carr. “You have someone to lean on or someone to answer your questions.”

Her message: having an ostomy is not the end of the world.

“You still have a great life ahead of you, you can swim, you can bike ride, anything you used to do,” said Carr.

The ostomy support group meets the second Tuesday of each month at the Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County. You can find more information about the meetings here: https://www.ostomy.org/support-group-finder/

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