Today, just over 20 years later, she is turning her years of adversity into her career passion with a “fashionable” business that caters to helping fellow ostomates feel more confident in everyday life.
Growing up with Crohn’s, Lisa experienced the same fears and concerns that many affected young women have shared – that she might never find lasting love nor be able to have a child. Yet, by her late 20s, she had met and married her husband, Steve, and had given birth to a beautiful baby girl, Anna. Giving birth also brought on a severe flare-up of her disease and, after exhausting her options, Lisa underwent ileostomy surgery.
Initially, one of Lisa’s biggest worries was how to conceal her ostomy bag so that she wouldn’t feel self-conscious in public and could wear her pre-surgery clothes again. An online search pulled up ostomy-specific underwear, but Lisa thought the garments were unattractive and tailored to a much older audience. She wanted to feel good about herself and “looking good helps us feel good” regardless of what age you are! Thus, ostomysecrets™ was born – stylish, high quality, reasonably priced undergarments for male and female ostomates that help conceal your ostomy bag.
“Having a stoma gave me the freedom to live a life that before surgery was filled with many limitations,” says Lisa.
Lisa emphasizes that the support of family and friends helped her adjust to life with a stoma – both physically and mentally. Steve – who Lisa’s doctors and nurses affectionately nicknamed “super husband”– was supportive from the very start, even taking her to a colonoscopy appointment on their second date. Lisa also credits her WOCN “angel” nurse, Amy, who went above and beyond, making home visits until Lisa could take care of herself again. Lisa has also found tremendous strength through her daughter Anna, now 3 years old, who inspires her daily. Wanting to resume her life after surgery, Lisa conquered her fear of wearing a bathing suit so that her and Anna could resume “mommy and me” swim lessons.
Lisa, 31, Steve and Anna live in Tampa, FL. “Having a stoma gave me the freedom to live a life that before surgery was filled with many limitations,” says Lisa. “I want to help other ostomates so they, too, feel in control and can fully start enjoying life again!”