Have you heard of Jessica Grossman? Remember that name, because you’re going to see a lot more of her here at LDU! Jess is awesome. She’s a 4th year Western student; she’s been model; helped organize countless charity events for a number of worthy causes; is the current President of Alpha Gamma Delta; and she has an ileostomy…?
That’s right true believers. Jess is one of the many people out there that have had a procedure known as a ileostomy, which can happen for a number of reasons, and she’s the official spokesperson for an awareness group called Uncover Ostomy. What’s most important about Jess is not that she pees in a bag that she doesn’t let it stop her from being awesome. This month we’ll be hanging out with Jess as she attends events and lives a normal life, goes to semi-formal, and keeping you updated on her otherwise awesome life.
As spokesperson for Uncover Ostomy Jess also runs their website, so check that out as well. There will be more videos and other coverage from Jess too! Until then check out this mini-interview and join the Uncover Ostomy Fanpage:
Who you are? I am Jessica Grossman, a 4th year honors MIT student at Western, from Toronto.
What you do? I act, I sing, I dance, and most importantly I am an advocate for ostomy awareness and the spokesperson/model for Uncover Ostomy
Why should we care? When I was 8 years old, I began to feel ill all the time and started to eat less and less. For some odd reason, one day I decided to weigh myself. I realized I had lost 5 pounds, and an 8 year old does not lose 5 pounds. My mother immediately took me to the doctor which snowballed into many tests to discover that I had Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a disease where, essentially, your immune system attacks itself, namely in the intestines. You develop excruciating stomach pain, you won’t eat, you become weak, and you pretty much lose having a life. I was fine until I was 11, when I developed a stomach bug that never went away. I ended up being admitted to Sick Kids Hospital the summer when I was 11 and from there on in being released and readmitted throughout all of my grade 7 and some of my grade 8 year. I spent practically two years in the hospital. Having gone through multiple tests, drug therapies, and crazy diets, nothing was working. One afternoon in January, when I was 13 years old, a surgeon came in and sat down next to me. He told me that I either had to have my colon removed, which would result in an ostomy, or I would die. I chose the obvious.
Since my ostomy surgery, I have been completely healthy. I have been able to lead a normal life that I was unable to have before because I spent my time in the hospital. I never had a problem with it, because it saved my life.
I was shocked to learn that not everyone was as comfortable with their ostomy as I was. Going to support groups at Sick Kids hospital [because my parents thought it would be good for me] I met tons of kids who were ashamed of what hey had. They wore baggy clothes, were very sullen, and had apparently not told anyone about their ostomy besides their family. I was in disbelief. It saved the lives of these kids and they weren’t incredibly grateful? I realized it was because no one knew what an ostomy was and they were not prepared to have to explain it. I mean, it really isn’t a wonderful sort of thing you want to talk about at the dinner table.
It was then my mission to make the ostomy a common term. Why? So that these kids, these people with ostomies did not feel ashamed of something that saved their lives. I also wanted to make this a common term because if there are already kids who were ashamed of having one, what would happen to the kids who needed one to survive? If they had no idea what it was, or thought it was something to be ashamed of, they would not want to have the surgery.Not having surgery could keep these kids in the hospital, or worse, lead them to death.
Because of this, it has become my goal to tell everyone what an ostomy is.
What to expect? What you can expect is to learn more about me, who I am, where I’ve come from and what I’ve dealt with, and where I’m going. You can also expect to see that I’m completely normal even with an ostomy [ok well normal is relative].
How we can help? Start visiting uncoverostomy.com and helping to spread the word!
About the Author: NateBlack is doin pretty good as far as geniuses go. Arrogant, insightful, and humble, Nate possesses one of the most dangerous minds of our generation. Stay tuned for More News, Re-Posts, and Originals from this modern day scholar. *If any of you are interested in writing for LDU contact 'Nate Black' via Facebook or email@example.com*