The Ostomy Book
By Barbara Dorr Mullen and Kerry Anne McGinn
1992 Bull Publishing Company, Palo Alto, CA
ISBN 0-923521-12-7 $16.95
Reviewed by Lorainne Johnston
This current and comprehensive guide written by an ostomate and her daughter, an RN, does a superb job of providing the medical, practical, and psychological information the people living with ostomies will require.
Mullen and McGinn address virtually all topics of interest to ostomates. Copious accurate illustrations, an encyclopedic survey of different ostomy surgeries and supplies, an appendix of resources, a glossary, twenty pages of indexed entries — these alone make this book indispensible as a reference and guide.
The experience of surgery from the patient's perspective is covered, including presurgical diagnosis and the patient's (likely volatile) emotional state. After surgery, the focus shifts to the day-to-day issues of overcoming denial, fear, and taboos; buying well-fitting supplies; getting to know one's own biocycles for cleaning and changing supplies; avoiding and overcoming reactions to adhesives, bacteria, or fungi, and the many different cleaning and dietary techniques that work quite differently for various people. Mullen and McGinn carefully discuss pregnancy, exercise, travel, the workplace, romantic and sexual activity, as well as issues specific to childhood and teenage ostomates.
The first-person voice of ostomate Mullen used in many of the chapters provides empathic insight that many ostomates will value; nonetheless, her observations remain objective and constructive. Her wry, sturdy sense of humor appears to keep her focused on providing useful information while acknowledging the emotional toll the experience has levied.
This isn't just a book, it's a treasure. Every ostomate, his or her family, and the medical personnel who interact with ostomates should have a copy of this book.
Ms. Johnston is a member of CCA and author of two cancer-related books: Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma: Making Sense of Diagnosis, Treatment, and Options, and Colon and Rectal Cancer: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Families. She is the wife of a lymphoma survivor, the daughter of a lymphoma survivor and has two friends with CRC. Ms. Johnston has a BS in Life Sciences.