The only thing sweeter than living a full and joyous life is sharing it with the people who matter to you. And every New Year reminds me of that gift. Like most of you, I am a “survivor” of ostomy surgery. However, that’s not my story. My story is how my experience has opened doors and created opportunities to help others beyond my wildest dreams.
To summarize, the week before my senior prom, a rogue stomach ache led to a decade-long medical marathon that included a ruptured stomach, coma, 27 surgeries and more than three years of not being able to eat or drink anything. It was a dark and discouraging time.
However, that experience also led to journey of emotional self-healing through art, music, dance and drama. Together with a great medical team and the support of a loving family, I have found the peace, joy and renewal that come from exploring my passions and sharing them with the world.
Most recently, I have written, directed and starred in my own personal musical autobiography called “Gutless and Grateful,” a one-woman play that I’ve performed throughout New England and which sold out as part of the United Solo Festival—a renowned international showcase. The show is joyful, uplifting, honest, surprisingly comedic and, over all, a celebration of life. Performing it has been one of my greatest joys.
Response to “Gutless” has been so overwhelming that I’m now inspired to take it to a greater audience—to foundations, hospitals, corporations, communities. My goal is to encourage and help others heal through what my own experiences have taught me.
Check out my website to learn more about “Gutless and Grateful.” www.amyoes.com While on my website, you may also see that I was honored in 2014 as a regional recipient of the Great Comebacks Award, which honors ostomates who inspire others to overcome their hardships. If you know of an organization or community that could benefit from my message of renewal and hope, please contact me. Being able to perform my show for your community would not only bless me, but its message of second chances, faith and determination would be an inspiration to all.
Happy New Year! Wishing you a year of peace, joy and health!