I have lived with my constant companion, a colostomy bag, for almost 40 years.

On-the-one-hand you might see it as kind of convenient. But, let me tell you, running out of spare bags and having no money to buy ‘em—not so convenient. Okay, I gotta say it—it can be downright crappy, in every way you can think of.

I could let this and my other conditions—cancer, colitis, Crohn’s, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, whatever—get me down. But, come on! Life’s too damn short.

I’m low-income and rely on provincial assistance to get by, but also work as a part-time crossing guard to try to make ends meet.

And, sometimes there’s just not enough left at the end of the month. Until recently the province did not cover the cost of my colostomy supplies, and I was often forced to look for other support. It’s times like that when you come find out who the real Christians are. After a struggle I was finally able to get help for my supplies from the Brunswick Street Mission and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. That’s a lot of work just for a “toilet.”

After a long fight with the provincial social services, I now have my supplies covered. But in five years I turn 65 and I wonder if I’m in for another fight with a different department over the same damn issue. Sigh.

I just don’t see how anyone should have to do without basics like this in a country like Canada. All I see is that this economy is great for the rich, but leaves the poor holding the short-end. From where I stand, it seems to me that the way the system works in Canada means it’s the sick supporting the healthy. What do you think of that!

I don't take bull from many people. I wonder about others who may not be so feisty. How do they manage? No one should have to fight this hard just for a little dignity.

We all deserve the same level of respect. I’m human, just like everyone else.