Many 11 Health community members are prescribed treatment through a PICC or port so that therapies can readily reach the blood stream. Today we wanted to share the story of our friends at Care+Wear, an innovative healthwear company that makes PICC Line Covers and Chest Access Shirts to help create positive and effective healing experiences for patients everywhere. Check out Care+Wear’s story, as told by CEO and Co-Founder Chat Razdan, as well the company’s advice around things to keep in mind when you first receive a PICC Line.

Care and Wear - Julie-018

Our Story:

 In 2014, a close friend of me and my co-founder was diagnosed with cancer and prescribed a PICC line for treatment. Told to wear a tube sock to protect and cover the PICC line site, our friend found that this bulky, ugly sock not only made his taxing treatment even more uncomfortable, but it also served as a constant reminder of his illness. As we saw his struggle with getting dressed and going about his daily life, we decided to create something new and better that would help patients with PICC lines live comfortably, safely and stylishly.

We quickly realized that most healthwear products on the market are focused purely on function and not on how they look or make you feel. By focusing our designs and products on patient needs, we hope we can help patients feel comfortable as they go about their everyday lives.

To address this, we worked in partnership with leading hospitals, patients, designers and clinicians to create our first product: an ultra-soft, antimicrobial, breathable and machine washable PICC Line Cover. It was very important to us to make something that was fashionable and convenient for clinicians, patients and caregivers alike. Our PICC line covers help eliminate some of the challenges of having a PICC line by making it easier to securely cover the PICC with soft, antimicrobial fabric, while allowing for breathability and visibility for your PICC line and dressing through our proprietary mesh window (patent pending). Our Covers are available in a variety of colors and designs, including a number of baseball team logos so that you can support your favorite teams while you receive treatment. By providing these key features, our hope is that our Cover, along with our other products, can help provide positive and effective healing experiences for patients everywhere.

 

About PICC Lines:

If you’ve recently been prescribed a PICC Line, adjusting can be difficult at first, but in the long-term it should help ease your treatment process. PICC Lines can provide multiple benefits such as:

  • Additional comfort for your veins as compared with the multiple “needle sticks” needed for giving medications and drawing blood
  • Sparing your veins and blood vessels from the irritating effects of IV medications
  • Flexibility to administer medication in the hospital setting, nursing facility or at home
  • Ability to stay in place for weeks, months, or years, if needed

 

Oftentimes, we are asked, “What should I be aware of with my PICC Line?” We always recommend speaking with your clinical team. That being said, once you have a PICC Line placed, do, however, be sure to look out for the following cautionary signs:

  • Swelling, redness, red streaking, hot or hard area in PICC line arm
  • Pain in PICC line arm
  • Fever or chills
  • Swelling of the hand, arm and/ or neck on the same side as the PICC line
  • Leaking of fluid when you flush the catheter

If you notice these signs or if you are worried or concerned, please make sure to call your healthcare provider or PICC line care provider.

 

Improving patient live:

Our vision is to be a key provider of innovative healthwear for patients. We are constantly working on new products so that we can help improve the lives of patients around the world. If you have any product ideas for us, you can email us at wecare@careandwear.com – we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

As someone who has spoken on the “ostomy patient perspective” for the last few years, I have found the most common questions asked during Q&A revolve around dating, relationships, and sex. So, with it being Valentine’s Day, I found it most appropriate to share my experience of dating, relationships, and sex with an ostomy.

Dating & Relationships

I never thought I could date or have a serious relationship with an ostomy until I did. The dating scene can be stressful and often causes the fear of rejection (and that’s without an ostomy) so entering the scene after having surgery can feel a bit intimidating. However, dating can also be a fun and exciting experience, and having an ostomy should not scare you away from enjoying someone else’s company. I’ve had my fair share of dating since having my surgery over 10 years ago, and to be honest I didn’t date much prior to my ostomy (mind you, I was 15 years old at the time of my first operation and I’m not sure what you would even classify as “dating” at that time). None the less, the majority of my dating experience has been with my ostomy.

“I never thought I could date or have a serious relationship with an ostomy until I did.”

When and How Do I Tell Someone?

With this topic being amongst the most popular questions, I am often asked, “When do you tell someone you’re dating that you have an ostomy?” The answer is, whenever YOU want! It is your body, this is your journey, and this is your potential relationship. Personally, I preferred to feel it out, see if the relationship had potential, and made my judgement from there. I rarely ever told anyone before the 3rd date, because in my opinion, having an ostomy isn’t really one of those – “Hey, what’s your sign?” kind of ice breakers. I usually kept things under-wraps until I knew I was really interested. Now that I am more open with my disease and my ostomy in the efforts to raise awareness, who knows, maybe it would be a first date topic?! Plus, these days with social media, things like Instagram and Facebook pictures tend to blow my cover (Que bikini photo on the beach, ostomy out – loud and proud!).

The (gut) Reaction

I’m not sure if I’ve just been lucky, but I never experienced a negative reaction when telling someone I’ve dated about my ostomy. I’ve experienced a variety of reactions; more in the sense of empathy, understanding, and downright fascination (literally asked if he could touch my stoma), but they all have been positive and very supportive. In all honesty, if I ever did come across someone who had a poor reaction, I would have been grateful. My grandmother joked that my ostomy ruled out the losers, and I would have to agree. I would have never wanted to be with someone who couldn’t accept my ostomy, it is a part of me.

“I would have never wanted to be with someone who couldn’t accept my ostomy, it is a part of me.”

I do believe that presentation is key. The reaction you receive from others often reflects the attitude you have towards your ostomy and how you share that information. So be positive and proud of your body- it is beautiful.

“The reaction you receive from others often reflects the attitude you have towards your ostomy and how you share that information.”

Sex

Surgery has its own timeline as to when you are physically able to get back to sex; but whether you are emotionally ready for sex after ostomy surgery may be within a different time-frame. Be patient with yourself. An ostomy pouch isn’t necessarily the latest and greatest bedroom accessory to make you feel sexy, or boost your libido, and sex can be intimidating with an ostomy. However, whether it is with your spouse or a one-night stand; it is important for you to feel comfortable.

Sex as a single/dating person is obviously different than sex as a married couple- ostomy or not; and where you are in your relationship may factor how much you’d like to share with someone. But again, whether or not you choose to share that you have an ostomy is entirely up to you. You might be asking yourself, “How can I keep my ostomy a secret once it comes time to enter the bedroom?” Take it from me- it can be done! If and when you do decide to tell your sexual partner about your ostomy, be sure to let them know how you are feeling, what positions you are comfortable with, and inform them that they aren’t going to hurt you (same advice applies to your spouse as well). Fortunately, if you’re still not comfortable baring it all, there are lots of accessories including belts, wraps, specialty underwear, and even lingerie; all designed to conceal your ostomy pouch- allowing you to focus less on your ostomy and more on what’s really going on. Finding love is a different journey for us all, and although having an ostomy may be an added twist in the road, it is definitely not a road block to a loving relationship and a fulfilling sex life.

“Finding love is a different journey for us all, and although having an ostomy may be an added twist in the road, it is definitely not a road block to a loving relationship and a fulfilling sex life.”

 

 

 

Anyone who has undergone ostomy surgery knows just how life altering it is. After having ileostomy surgery there were many things I had to adjust to, especially within the first 2 years after having my surgery. Learning the new process of my newly fashioned anatomy, I began to alter certain habits of my life to accommodate how my body functioned. I had to ask myself questions like, “How long after I eat this will I need to use the restroom?”, and over time I learned what types of foods and drinks caused my pouch to fill up more quickly. Forming new eating habits took some time, but I think what took the longest was learning how to avoid dehydration.

Forming new eating habits took some time, but I think what took the longest was learning how to avoid dehydration.

You might be thinking – “Just drink more water…it can’t be that hard?”. And you are right, drinking more wasn’t the hard part. Actually, drinking large quantities in short spans of time caused some of my biggest issues with dehydration. Allow me to clarify so there isn’t any confusion. I would drink, and drink, and drink, large amounts of fluids in a very short amount of time and my ostomy output would be out of control. I went to the Emergency Department numerous times because I could not seem to slow down my ostomy output. It took me years before I could appropriately manage my hydration, but I learned what contributed to high output levels.

It took me years before I could appropriately manage my hydration.

This is a picture of me in a Med-Tent at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival. I had become severely dehydrated during the festival weekend and needed IV fluids.
This is a picture of me in a Med-Tent at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival. I had become severely dehydrated during the festival weekend and needed IV fluids.

Some of the contributors to my increased output included sports drinks, fruit juices, soda, and even alcohol. Now this doesn’t mean I had to completely cut these items out of my diet, but there are little tricks I picked up over time. Diluting juices with water, switching to diet or sugar free drinks, and ultimately to SLOW DOWN and not guzzle my drinks down, these all help to manage my output and allow me to maintain my hydration. Hydration is important for everyone, but especially for ileostomy patients; so tune into your body’s habits, learn what effects your output, and utilize any resources available to help keep you hydrated and aware of your output.

…tune into your body’s habits, learn what effect your output, and utilize any resources available to help keep you hydrated and aware of your output.