Connecting Ostomates

I’ve mentioned before how this blog, social media and the internet in general have connected me to some of the most inspiring people, facing all sorts of adversity including IBD and ostomies. In August, my new contact and friend, Christine published an article on her website Ostomy Connection. The article was entitled “5 Ostomy Blogs You’ll Want to Start Following.” As I clicked on the link I was not expecting my name to be mentioned, let alone along with the 4 other bloggers who I myself admire. I did not consider IBD Baggage Claim to be up to caliber as these other blogs written by talented advocates. I was honestly humbled yet very proud my little project was gaining some recognition.


Please refer to this article and check out these other bloggers to read these truly inspiring stories filled with information and advice.

Now I will admit, I was well familiar with all of these writers, except Collin Jarvis. Although I recognized his name, I had not yet “connected” with him and was unacquainted with his blog. Obviously after Ostomy Connection’s article came out I immediately began following Collin and read his story of athleticism, strength and endurance after having an ostomy. You can read his story here: No Colon Jarvis: Taking on an Ostomy one step at a time. 

Fast forward a few months to this past weekend. My Dad recently celebrated a birthday and as tradition he went out with a few of the guys for celebratory drinks and dinner. Naturally my name was brought up as his friends enquired about my ongoing recovery from recent surgery. Dad’s best friend then mentioned how an old high school friend and teammate of theirs, Doug also had a son who suffered from UC and had an ostomy. He was now an avid runner and participated in various races, ostomy and all….see where I’m going with this?

The next morning Dad starts telling me about this conversation and mentions how Doug Jarvis has a son who also had UC. I immediately knew he was talking about Collin. I explained the connection we had thanks to Ostomy Connection and cannot help but think what a small world. What are the chances that back in 1977, when our fathers ventured on a cross country road trip from Toronto to California, either one of them would grow up to have kids with not only UC but also ostomies. What are the chances that these two ostomates would both decide to document their journeys and would both be featured in the same article? What are the chances that the Doug Jarivs I have heard mentioned on occasion throughout the years happens to be the father of someone I’ve connected with completely separately on social media?

These are the stories that motivate me to keep writing. Keep connecting. Keep reaching out. During a time where I’ve lost a lot of motivation for my blog, I’m reminded of the potential it has to unite people. We all come with a little extra baggage. But in this case Mike Willins and Doug Jarivs happened to have kids with the same kind.


4 thoughts on “Connecting Ostomates

  1. Doug,
    Thank you so much for these kind words. I truly am humbled by the support and appreciation and I thank you for the response. I don’t know if it’s coincidence, luck, fate or just good technology that connected Collin and I but this story really is dear to my heart. You have raised an incredible son whose perseverance is admirable. I only hope to inspire others like him one day. Dad says hi, and thanks for all that help back in grade 13 Chemistry! Hope you are keeping well. 🙂


  2. Thank you for sharing and reaching out about your experiences. The photos you posted I’d never seen before and it brought back fond memories of the road trip and HS years. (I was not even close to your dad on the basketball court … he was really good… but I’m pretty sure I helped him get through grade 13 chemistry class!) Having a small amount of appreciation for what you’ve endured and knowing your dad, I anxiously read through your entire blog postings. You write wonderfully, with sincerity and hopeful honesty that I know others afflicted with this condition will find inspiring and motivating. I’m so glad you and Collin were able to connect and I have no doubt that your dad is every bit as proud of you as I am of my son. You’ve both found inner strengths, maturity and an appreciation for life that many of us take for granted or will never understand. Keep on writing and inspiring!
    Give Willy a high five for me and I’ll be following your adventures here.

    Thanks again. Cheers Stacey!


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