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2009 UOAA National conference Report

United Ostomy Associations of America’s leaders have led BOA’s mother organization down a truly praiseworthy path by providing the highest quality materials and resources available. I’m both grateful and proud of them, especially Ken and Linda Aukett, UOAA’s founders who in 2005 almost single-handedly transformed the UOA business organization into the UOAA family, in the best sense of that word. You can easily discern the deep commitment these leaders have for our welfare, attempting in every way imaginable to improve our lives. One of the themes for the conference was “Seize the Opportunity!” and they certainly did.

Six hundred and fifty-five attended including exhibitors and guests with over 200 first-time attendees. I saw many good friends whom I have known for years from previous conferences (my surgery was in 1972) which gave me the feeling of attending a warm family reunion.

There was a perfect balance between time given to social events; UOAA updates; educational seminars and displays; and ostomy product presentations at the Exhibitor’s Hall.

The fruits of some very challenging new projects debuted at the Conference. A new PSA (Public Service Announcement) has been created by a media firm in Florida and features Kristin Knipp, UOAA’s President elect. It will be sent to air on television networks including PBS, Fox News and internationally as part of Voice of America. If you’re online you can view it at: http://uoaa.org/uoaa_psa.shtml

The PSA tackles many of the myths about living with an ostomy and presents attractive, personable ostomates telling it like it is. It will help to educate the public and dispel so many misconceptions about living with our surgery. Contact information is prominently given so anyone interested in additional information knows where to find it at UOAA and in turn BOA if they live in our area.

Another Premier Event was the presentation of two new DVDs, both created with excellence and professionalism. The DVDs are: “Living with an Ostomy”, produced by Bob Baker which runs for 17 minutes; and, “Visitor Training”, produced by Dave Rudzin which runs about 25 minutes. Now we not only have a terrific resource to give to first time visitors to BOA meetings but we can also be instructed by the best professionals at our Visitor Training session. A workbook with exercises and program suggestions was also provided. Thank you UOAA!

The social events included an ice cream social given by Hollister; a gala dinner/dance sponsored by ConvaTec, a UOAA Recognition Luncheon with Abby Ryan, ostomate and beauty queen, as the featured speaker; a one mile “fun run” which you were allowed to walk; and a Masked Ball Closing Banquet where most everyone was decked out in masquerade. I even glued rhinestone eyelashes to my mask just for fun.

My absolute favorite time though was a fashion show by and for ostomates aptly named “Tricks of the Trade…You Have What Under That Outfit?”. I hope you were able to attend September’s meeting where we showed photos from this hilarious event. We even had a gorgeous ostomate body builder sporting a speedo. What fun! You can watch the video on our web site under the link, Newsletter Articles.

The Exhibit Hall had thirty-one stations and it took me two days to visit them all properly. The ostomy supplies manufacturers were Nu-Hope which has the best support belts for those with both ostomies and hernias. It’s a family run business and I know they really care. See my review of their new liquid adhesive later in this article; Coloplast which we’ll learn all about at our October meeting; ConvaTec and Hollister.

Hollister has come out with a wonderful new product that is only available in a few models of their appliance pouches but will be expanding into their full line. It’s a new pouching material that fuses all layers into one (comfort panels and inner pouch). The result is a marked new softness and rustling sound reduction (which was independently confirmed by scientific testing). I really liked this new pouch and think it’s a great improvement. You might want to call Hollister to see if it comes in your size and shape.

I purchased a new type of pouch cover for the shower that’s supposed to keep your appliance dry. I tried it twice and it was useless. I won’t even mention who it’s by. There went $20.

There were marvelous sexy underwear manufacturers that showed their wears both on tables and live in the fashion show. Vanilla Blush from Glasgow Scotland and Ostomy Secrets from Tampa FL 800-518-8515 www.ostomysecrets.com. Ladies, if you’re looking for underwear that is extremely stylish and supports and conceals your appliance, check these two websites out.

Calmoseptine Ointment samples were distributed which is a multi-purpose moisture barrier that protects and helps heal skin irritations. It temporarily relieve discomfort and itching but cannot be used under our skin barrier wafers. If you do, your wafer will not stick. However, a dear friend of mine who is incontinent was greatly helped by this product.

Those wonderful no alcohol, no rinse required, peristomal skin whips that you should keep in your car for emergencies by Safen’ simple have come out with a new product. Safen’ simple Skin Barrier No Sting wipes. They are for people who would otherwise use Skin Prep. Skin Prep is no longer recommended for use under modern skin barriers except when you need to cover and coat anti-fungal powders so that your barrier will in fact stick. Both products are great because they packaged for travel in resealable plastic bags, just perfect for an emergency kit in your car when you can’t find a bathroom. I remember having to change my appliance in an empty tollbooth once and I really could have used them there. The company can be contacted at www.snsmedicalwipes.com or by calling 248-214-4877.

My award for the most creative new product has to go to two winners. NeutralEZ Tabs are an extended wear, solid odor eliminator tablets which apply to the interior of a new, unused pouch. They are only 1 1/8” by 1/5” thick. If you’re visiting friends for over a weekend, this would be the perfect solution of maintaining an odor free time. Call 877-396-3887 for a free sample of visit them online at www.neutralez.com.

My second winner is The Anatomical Apron by Joy! Joy Hooper, BSN, RN, CWOCN invented this wonderful teaching tool which helps patients and others understand the physiologic and structural changes that take place when ostomy surgery happens. Call (229) 402-0782 for more information of view their web site at

Nu-Hope Laboratories has a very useful liquid adhesive for ostomates who have problem situations such as oily skin, scar lines, excess perspiration or skin wrinkles. It has the ability to repel effluent without having to remove adhesive or to start over and protects your skin from urine if opening in pouch is larger than actual stoma size. When applied thinly, it will dry to a durable and safe tacky surface in just a few minutes giving you a stronger bond and longer wear time. However, it must be used on healthy skin only. If you have a problem with your pouching system, Nu-Hope Labs are experts in creating custom ostomy appliance. Call them at 800 899 5017 or view their web site at .

Beside manufacturers, the Exhibit Hall had many information tables from various organizations. My favorites were the Teen Network and YODDA Network booths. Teen Network was founded to provide a support group for teens and with the new internet technology, they can and do keep close and in touch all year long. YODDA (the Young Ostomate & Diversion Alliance of America) provides education, information and support for young adults 18 to 35. Ren and I would see them in the Lobby all decked out and on their way to a nightclub. These young ostomates don’t need to be encouraged to have lots of fun.

Other information booths included UOAA Advocacy which is pro-active in public policy initiatives, so important in this time of potential political health care changes.
FOW is a volunteer run, non-profit organization which provides donated ostomy and educational materials to those in need around the world. Likewise, OstoGroup provides free ostomy supplies to the uninsured for the cost of shipping and handling redistributing donated ostomy supplies. If you have some you’d like to donate, call them at 877-678-6690 or visit their web site at www.ostogroup.org.

GLO provides support for gay, lesbian, trans and bisexual ostomates, their caregivers, friends and family. Call 773 286 4005 for more information of view their web site at: www.glo-uoaa.org. CCFA (The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America) is dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Chapters around the country support IBD patients. Call 800 932 2323 for more information of view their web site at: www.ccfa.org.