The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS -

Len John­ston has been an os­to­m­ate for the last 11 years. It’s the rea­son he is still alive. An os­tomy is a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure that has been per­formed at least since the 17th cen­tury. It cre­ates an open­ing in the ab­dom­i­nal wall so waste prod­ucts can move out of the body as a re­sult of typ­i­cally blad­der, bowel or rec­tal can­cer.

Di­ag­nosed with bowel can­cer, the ra­di­a­tion treat­ment re­sulted in Len los­ing mus­cle tone in his lower pelvis.

‘‘I couldn’t hold any­thing in. Go­ing to the toi­let, I’d sit for three quar­ters of an hour.’’

Pres­i­dent of the Manawatu Os­tomy So­ci­ety, Len wants to make its re­sources more widely known to those who have un­der­gone the pro­ce­dure.

‘‘We’re there to help new os­to­m­ates. When peo­ple come out of hos­pi­tal they go through a lot of changes. There are a lot of things to get used to.

The so­ci­ety is mark­ing world Os­tomy Day on Oc­to­ber 3 with a gath­er­ing at the Es­planade Cafe from 10am.

There are be­tween 5500 and 6000 peo­ple who have os­tomies in New Zealand, and any­one who wants to find out more about the life­sav­ing pro­ce­dure is welcome along, or can give Len a call on 021 101 6346 or 357 5799.

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