I was healthy my whole life, until an infection led to a ruptured bowel and an ostomy. Within six days I lost my health and have been unable to work since. I applied for CPP disability and used social assistance until it was approved.

After monthly rent and expenses, I’m always struggling to find $300 for basic ostomy supplies. There’s so much to juggle with an ostomy: social stigma, pain, leaks, and the possibility of running out of supplies.

I tried everything to stretch my supply: plastic wrap, hours spent hunting free samples on-line and stretching partial prescriptions. Even then, it was unaffordable. I made the difficult decision to go public with a GoFundMe for one month’s supply.

My doctor has done her best to help too, keeping me in a supply of samples of antidepressants and non-opioids for the pain from surgical scarring and adhesions, as they were unaffordable. But they eventually ran out and now I just live with the pain.

Recently, I switched to another depression medication I could afford but was less effective. After months, it has finally started working—somewhat. But paying for all this means I’ve neglected other health problems. I have not had blood pressure medications or statins for five years.

No Canadian should endure the stress of not being able to afford prescriptions and supplies. And no one should be forced into an impossible choice about which condition to treat.