Speaking Topics

• Lessons Learned From a Lost Colon: Helping Patients See Their Illness With a New Perspective

Society of Gastrointestinal Nurses and Associates (SGNA), Seattle, Washington, May 2016

Lois speaking at SGNA 2016

What We Wish You Knew:  Navigating Ostomy Curves and Driving Through To Better Understanding

WOCN Society National Conference, Seattle, WA, presented with Joanna Burgess

In an “informal setting around a coffee table,” Lois and Joanna share with conference participants their individual stories of triumphing over Crohn's disease and bladder cancer and  how their lives are in many ways a bridge between the patient world and their connection with a larger community of ostomates and the medical world.  Both Lois and Joanna weave the two worlds together in an inspiring and informative way and share with participants the information they gathered from patients over a nine month period, and that patients want their nurses to know.

Embracing Life:  Great Comebacks From Ostomy Surgery

Portland, OR

Contrasting her life with Crohn's disease and how ostomy surgery gave her back everything the disease had taken away for 19 years—her life, Lois shares with her audience how different her life is post ostomy surgery, the lessons learned along the way.  Embracing life totally and freely becomes possible when a life altering event nearly takes it from us.  

Finding My Rhythm

WOCN Society, Regional Conference, Spokane, WA 

Bad things happen to good people.  That's a fact.  We need to ask ourselves what we can learn from the perceived negative experience, and instead, turning it around and seeing the situation as an opportunity to take our life in a different direction, walking new paths, and meeting others who will enrich our life and help us find a new and better rhythm.  Lois takes her audience through the dance routines of jitterbugging to American Bandstand, gradually faltering as an unknown illness entered her life, learning the side-step as the disease progressed, causing her to become proficient at “singing the blues,”until ostomy surgery many years later taught her a new step—embracing life!

The Four Toughest Words: You Have Crohn's Disease

Presented multiple times to medical and nursing students at universities in Western Washington and Denver, CO

Lois shares with  medical and nursing students what it was like physically, emotionally, and psychologically what it was like being misdiagnosed as a young teen for nearly two years until age 17, when she collapsed, rushed to the hospital for what was thought to be appendicitis, and weighed 62 pounds.  After two bowel resection surgeries eight years apart, and spending another two years in denial about the state of her health, Lois consented to have her diseased colon and rectum removed, resulting in a permanent ileostomy.  She shares with students the fears she had around ostomy surgery and why there is such a negative perception surrounding this life saving, quality of life enhancing operation.  Students are given the opportunity to ask Lois questions-and nothing is considered too personal.  Through sharing her story, Lois hopes students have a better understanding of what they need to be listening for when they will be treating patients, how to help their patients and the need to see their patient as a whole person and how disease can effect their quality of life.  

© Lois Fink 2019