Traumatic medical events such as a medical illness, diagnostic, or therapeutic procedure can have a myriad of emotional consequences which include, but are not limited to, PTSD, chronic anxiety, panic attacks, and an avoidance of having necessary medical procedures done. Medical crises can take on many forms, and the topic of medical trauma is not something that is frequently addressed despite the repercussions and negative mood states associated with the events. One example of a medical crisis that is not often brought to the forefront is the need to live with a colostomy or ileostomy, whether it be as a result of cancer or refractory intestinal disease. The stigma and embarrassment associated with having to wear a bag can greatly add to the challenges already being faced and can result in a negative body image, isolation, or even self-harm. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss some of the physical and psychological challenges associated with medical traumas in addition to therapeutic interventions which may help mitigate the emotional suffering associated with these profoundly distressing scenarios. The presenter, with willingness to be explicitly honest about her own personal ostomy experiences, will recast thought patterns and consequently allow for ostomies to be portrayed in a more positive, less stigmatized light.
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