A dear friend of mine forwarded me a video detailing the story of the Petunia Bag. I was blown away by beach shots of an enthusiastic woman, standing proudly with a pouch on the side of her tummy. Her name is Heather Matson and she is the owner of Petunia Ostomy Designs.
Frustrated with the lack of bathing suits that accommodate her colostomy bag, she decided to style them up: "I am young, I want to wear a two piece." Although she was new to sowing, she started creating covers for her ostomy bag. She didn't think much of it, until she showed it to her ostomy support group. Now-a-days Heather can't keep up with demand and has many orders placed for the year, some going all the way to Germany.
"I am the 8th Matson, part of the Generation Colon," she proudly affirms as both her grandfather and father had the same genetic mutation that led to her diagnosis. After her third month in remission, she remembers when her surrounding doctor and nurses asked her how she was coping with her then new companion, her ostomy bag. "I just remember telling them, oh this old thing, my grandpa had it."
Even before she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, she knew what being different was like. "My grandpa, his brother and my cousin all had stoma bags, so I was raised by being different, and each difference in my family made me love and cherish them." At first, getting used to the permanency of the stoma bag was not easy. "I was crying, I knew I needed to do something to change my perception towards the bag," and that's where the idea of the stoma bag covers came from.
She chose to name her stoma and thus her business, Petunia from her love for flowers and colors. Heather thrives in getting to know each and every single one of her customers. She also runs a Facebook group focused on providing a positive and uplifting message for the ostomy community. She is a true #migamuse