I Want to Go Back Already - Uncover Ostomy
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I Want to Go Back Already

I’ve spent the past 2 days catching up on much needed sleep. Last night I literally passed out from 6pm-9pm in front of the tv… hence why this is so late!

Saturday night, after a longgg day of kicking campers out of bed at 4am, making sure they arrived at the airport, and then organizing flights for those kids who had missed their flight… I finally got home from an amazing week at ostomy camp.

3 years have gone by since I had last been to Camp Horizon near Bragg Creek Alberta, though it felt like I had never left. The cabins had the same mattresses and smell, the basketball court had the same baskets hanging from the pole, and the food was still the same. Wow, did I miss that place.

Main hall

Being back at camp this year, however, was unlike any of the experiences I had had before. When I had been at camp in the past, I was with older kids, doing older kid camp activities, and was surrounded by kids who had recently gotten their ostomy. This year I was with the youngest ostomy group. We did less adventurous things, and the counsellors and I had to keep a close eye on them, yet, it seemed as though these kids were much more mature about their ostomies than the oldest group I had been with years back. Most of these kids had been born with their ostomies or had gotten them extremely young and understood what they meant and how to deal with them. Not one kid expressed sorrow or regret for having one; just sheer joy that they were different and special. It was amazing to see.

The week was full of the usual camp activities. We played field games, did some arts and crafts, and had campfires. My favourite part of osto week, like we have every year, is magic circle. Magic circle is when a group gets together and shares anything they want to about their ostomies, their issues, any questions they have, and just a chance to find strength in each other. One of the questions we were asked in the circle this year was to discuss any challenges we’ve faced because of our ostomies. Not one kid in my group said they had experienced a challenge.

The week was also different this year because I was a volunteer. I was sleeping in a lodge instead of a cabin, I had responsibilities, and I was surrounded by men. Yep. Besides the camp coordinator and one other woman who was a volunteer, the other volunteers were all guys. And they were also guys who had been volunteers when I was a camper… So obviously they decided to take it upon themselves to make sure I was duly initiated into the volunteer group. Not only was I called “Rookie” and told not to talk the entire week, they decided one night that I needed a permanent marker moustache.

 

Rookie moustache

Despite being hazed, I actually had an amazing time with these guys. It was definitely weird to be on the other side with them, but I couldn’t have picked a better group of guys to be surrounded by. I already miss them all.

This week was definitely a week of laughing, goofing off, playing around, and sharing memories, but it was also about learning. I learned so much from the strength of the kids in my group. They were all so mature, so brave, and have dealt with so much. I know that I’ve always been ok with my ostomy, but a lot of that reason is because I was able to choose. These kids didn’t have a choice to be given what they had, yet they have gracefully accepted it, talk about it all the time, and make jokes about it more than I could have ever imagined. I love them all.

Osto camp 2011??

Sidenote: I’m not really allowed to share pictures from osto camp on here, due to privacy issues, but there is one picture I wanted to share. At the end of the week every year, counsellors give their kids awards to show their appreciation to them. This year, I was lucky enough to receive something as well from my team. I was given a thank you card signed by all my campers and the staff. I wanted to share it because some of the things written on there actually mean the world to me. I can’t believe how much these kids said I helped them, because, honestly, they helped me more than they can even imagine.

 

Thank you card from my yellow team! [Names blurred for privacy, but you can get the gist. Love them]

Jessica Grossman
info@uncoverostomy.org
2 Comments
  • Vinh
    Posted at 03:58h, 14 July

    ‘You made me okay with my life’

    Wow.

    If you ever question the significance of your existence, just look back to those comments. You are doing amazing things for these kids. Its pretty inspiring to read about it. Keep up the good work.

  • Josh Lipovetsky
    Posted at 20:06h, 19 July

    Jess,

    Sounds like you had an amazing time at the camp! I love the mustache, btw. Hahaha. It is so awesome, how much of a difference you made for these kids! I hope you can continue to do the same, for many years to come! 🙂

    Thank you,
    Josh Lipovetsky.