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Elizabeth is Determined to Win the Daily Battle Against Her Disability

by Jessica March 14 2018 06:27
elizabeth 2017 scholarship recipient

Earlier this year, we were proud to announce the seven 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. This year's group of applicants and especially the 2017 recipients are truly inspiring and are living proof of overcoming odds to achieve dreams, so we love getting to let you know more about these bright students and their career goals.

So far, we've introduced you to four of our seven recipients: MeghaFrankChelsea, and Joseph. We're excited to introduce you to Elizabeth today!

elizabeth inspirational disability quote

Facing the Challenges of Cerebral Palsy

From the start, Elizabeth was extraordinary. She was born two months premature in a set of quadruplet girls. 

For over a year, everything seemed normal, until Elizabeth's parents realized she wasn't sitting up on her own and couldn't crawl or walk like her sisters.

The doctors diagnosed her with Cerebral Palsy, which is a condition caused by a lack of oxygen to an infant's brain (asphyxia) during childbirth. There are multiple complications and symptoms that can arise from a condition like Cerebral Palsy, and it's rarely the same for each person affected. Some of the potential symptoms of cerebral palsy may include:

  • Muscle tone variation
  • Seizures and/or tremors
  • Difficult with walking or unusual gait
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor skills
  • Delays in speech development
  • Neurogenic bladder or urinary incontinence
  • Delayed development
Elizabeth has now lived with Cerebral Palsy for almost 24 years, and for her, the condition affects her whole body and many other aspects of her life.

"Thankfully," she says, "I do not have to face this challenge alone."

Finding Joy in Family, Sports, & School

elizabeth at homecomingElizabeth's family has been with her every step of the way since her birth. Although living with Cerebral Palsy does make her somewhat dependent on her family for her daily care, they state that "the joys and opportunities that have come through sharing life with [Elizabeth] far outweigh any sacrifices."

One joy that Elizabeth found at just eight years old is Paralympic Boccia. She found the challenges of the sport perfect for a competitive outlet, and Boccia is perfect for her physical abilities.

Even today, Elizabeth is still actively participating in Boccia, and she competed in the 2017 National Championships most recently.

"I also co-chair the Youth Development Taskforce for Boccia's national organization, USA Boccia. The Taskforce's vision is to expand youth participation in Boccia at the regional and national level," Elizabeth states. 

Despite her condition and her avid participation in Boccia, she worked hard in school, made excellent grades, and graduated from John Brown University with her Bachelor's degree in Child and Family Studies. Her time in college strengthened her passion to help others, particularly at the policy level of social work. 

During her time at school, she finally got to experience living apart from her family and having assisting staff for her daily care and needs, which was another step toward the independence that Elizabeth craves, although she is grateful beyond words for her family's unending support. 

Working To Become a Leader in Social Change

Currently, Elizabeth is now completing her Master's Degree in Social Work at the University of Illinois, and she is beyond thrilled to be able to start on this new adventure and continue her preparations for her career through higher education. 

She plans to concentrate on Leadership and Social Change. When talking about why she chose this field, Elizabeth is excited and hopeful. 

"I value social work, because it is an opportunity to truly meet people where they are and empower them to fulfill their potential by offering new skills and resources. With my degree, I seek to impact the disability service system in our country, advocating for the dignity and well-being of all people across the spectrum of ability," Elizabeth says. 

Even though Elizabeth faces a daily battle, she says she refuses to allow Cerebral Palsy to become a prison or limit her in any way. She is determined to use her own experiences to make a difference in others' lives. 

elizabeth motivational quote 180 medical scholarship recipient 2017

We are all certain that with her drive and dedication, she will go far in improving the lives of others living with disabilities, and we wish her the best of luck in her future goals!

About the 180 Medical Scholarship

College isn't always easy to afford, and we know that there can often be extra financial hardship heaped on students who live with conditions like spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, neurogenic bladder, and/or an ostomy (ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy). That's why 180 Medical established a scholarship program to help those aspiring students work toward achieving their dreams.

We're accepting applications for the 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship Program now through June 1, 2018! You can download an application and get full information at

180 medical scholarship program for ostomy sci spina bifida

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.


180 Medical Celebrates Employee Appreciation Day

by Jessica March 8 2018 06:38
employee appreciation day 2018

Every first Friday in March is annual Employee Appreciation Day. It's a day specifically created for companies to honor and thank their employees for all they do throughout the year, and 180 Medical is always excited to celebrate this special day.

When 180 Medical was founded by Todd Brown, he wanted to create a medical supply company that would be able to provide top-quality intermittent catheters and ostomy products and turn our customers' lives around.

180 medical manager quote employee appreciation day His vision for 180 Medical centered around staffing honorable, hard-working people who truly care about our customers. 

We wouldn't be able to provide the top-quality service that 180 Medical is known for without our staff of compassionate and diligent employees, so we love to make sure they know they are truly appreciated for all they do, day in and day out.

This year, we all had a blast celebrating Employee Appreciation Day with a Spring Break Luau theme.

Over the course of not just one but two full days in a row, 180 Medical had plenty of fun activities and surprises for all of our amazing employees! 

On Thursday morning, our employees came to work to find a full breakfast buffet waiting for them in our brightly decorated main break room. There were donuts, a full range of specialty coffees, and even freshly made pancakes that were cooked and served fresh by our great managers and supervisors. 

employee appreciation day at 180 medical

The fun didn't stop there! There were plenty more surprises to come over the course of two days, including an afternoon snack cart full of drinks and goodies for each employee to choose from, movies playing in the break rooms, and even a huge, heartfelt cheer and greeting of all employees right at the front door.

180 medical employee quote on employee appreciation dayNate, one of our team supervisors, says, "Being on the other side of Employee Appreciation Day this year as a supervisor is absolutely a one-of-a-kind experience. It gives us a chance to give back to our employees when they give so much every day. Our demonstrations of gratitude around Employee Appreciation Day is just a fraction of all they deserve for their hard work. I really hope we were able to brighten their day!"

We're so proud of our employees for working hard and displaying "the 180 Way" in all they do. Because of them, 180 Medical is able to take care of each one of our customers just as we would do for a member of our own family.

After an astonishing 8 years of being named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma, which is awarded partly based on anonymous employee feedback, we believe we can say our employees really do feel appreciated year-round and not just one day annually. 

Are you looking for a job where you can make a difference and truly say you love what you do? We're hiring!

Check out our currently available positions and find out more about 180 Medical at our Careers page.

join 180 medical team

180 medical jessAbout the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares for its employees and customers.

The Link Between Urinary Incontinence & Depression in Women

by Jessica February 17 2018 00:22
urinary incontinence and depression in women link

Being afraid to sneeze or laugh too hard...rushing to make it to the restroom in time...worrying about leakage...

These probably sound like familiar concerns if you're one of the 13 million people in the United States who live with urinary incontinence.

When you have urinary incontinence, fears like this are normal. However, you may find that your mood has persistently worsened over time, and you may be dealing with feelings of sadness or hopelessness that are hard if not impossible to shake off.

Although a healthcare professional will need to see you in order to properly diagnose you and get you started on a treatment plan that gets your life turned back around and back on track, it's very possible that you could be suffering from depression related to incontinence.

Still, we understand you probably want answers now before you schedule an appointment to see your doctor, and 180 Medical has the need-to-know info about incontinence and depression. We've also included some helpful resources and support options in this blog. Read on to learn more!

Who Is Affected By Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence can happen to anyone at any age, but studies show that women experience urinary incontinence twice as much as men do.

Why is that? The main factor is the pelvic anatomy of women and how it differs from that of men, as well as hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause. 

Other potential causes of female incontinence may include:

  • Bladder muscle weakness
  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Urinary tract infections, which can increase the urge the void your bladder and sometimes cause leakage
  • Being over the healthy weight for your body type and height
  • A medical condition from birth like spina bifida, which can also affect the bladder, depending upon severity
  • Side effects from certain medicines
  • Drinking diuretic liquids like coffee, tea, and colas
  • Certain neurological disorders

Women are also more susceptible to UTIs (urinary tract infections) and bladder infections, and this can sometimes worsen incontinence. This is because UTIs tend to increase the urge to void the bladder, sometimes involuntarily.

The additional risk of infections in women is also due to anatomy. The vagina, urethra, and anus are positioned more closely together on the female body, which makes it easier for bacteria to travel up the urethra.

depression in females with urinary incontinence

Can Urinary Incontinence Cause Depression?

As mentioned earlier, there actually is a strong link between urinary incontinence and depression, particularly in younger women. A recent paper published by researchers took a look at this connection and tried to find out the causes as well as what could be done to treat both conditions. 

One potential cause identified could be weight gain and/or childbirth, which are both commonly related to urinary incontinence as well as depression (particularly postpartum depression in the case of new mothers). The reason for this is that when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched, whether due to bearing a child, gaining weight, or other conditions, it can make it more difficult to tighten the muscles that close off the sphincter of the bladder, and this can result in mild to excessive leakage or dribbling of urine.

Another reason may be related to societal stigma regarding disorders affecting the bladder and bowels. People living with incontinence may feel like they're totally alone, or they may experience shame or embarrassment about their condition.

The research ultimately concluded that more must be done to educate women on prevention and treatment options for incontinence as well as depression. 

Treatment of Incontinence and Depression

If you are experiencing urinary incontinence and/or feelings of depression, we want to assure you that there is nothing to feel ashamed of. Millions of other people are going through this too, and even if you feel some embarrassment addressing these conditions with your doctor, they will not judge or shame you in any way. Healthcare professionals want to help their patients heal and find proper treatment plans in order to improve your condition and your overall quality of life.

Treatments depend on your personal medical history as well as the severity and type of symptoms you're experiencing.

Your doctor may also want you to record a bladder diary for several days or weeks as well, which may sound like a pain, but they may be able to provide you with an easy-to-use booklet in which to record your symptoms, when and how often you're urinating or having accidents, and other information.

urinary incontinence bladder diary appThere are also some helpful smartphone apps, such as UroBladderDiary, which may be easier for you to use. Recording this kind of information in an app rather than a written journal can also be a real help if you want to keep your symptoms private from those around you. 

While it may seem daunting right now, the sooner you can schedule an appointment with your doctor, the sooner you can get on the road to recovery.

Even if it doesn't feel like it right now, there is light ahead.

Helpful Resources and Support

A few resources and options for support, both online and in-person, can definitely be useful when you're not sure where to go next for information. 

These links may be helpful in your journey back to wellness

Incontinence Support Center: A Caring Community
This website has helpful articles as well as an online forum where you can talk to other women who are experiencing the same symptoms as you are.

Daily Strength Urinary Incontinence Support Group
Connect online with others living with urinary incontinence and other bladder issues. You can find support, encouragement, and tips from fellow women living with incontinence.

Find a Therapist through Psychology Today
Just enter your city or zip code, and you will be provided with a list of local mental health professionals and counselors to whom you can reach out. This site also has options to list local support groups and treatment centers. 

ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) Support Groups Near You

Find free support groups near you. This helpful website also offers facts about depression and anxiety, tips on how to deal with your feelings, and more.

Postpartum Support International
Learn more about life after having a child, including postpartum depression and potential therapy options. You also have options to call a support line and chat with a mental health expert, join an online support group for other women living with postpartum depression, and more. 

Crisis Text Line
This free support is available 24 hours a day, every day, for those in crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor can respond and text with you on a secure platform and help you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Sometimes depression and feelings of hopelessness can become so severe that you don't feel like there is any other way out of your problems, but there always is. You can visit this website, or if you need someone to speak with immediately, simply call their toll-free hotline at 1-800-273-8255 at any time of day, and someone can speak with you.

Intermittent Catheterization As Incontinence Treatment

treat your incontinence and depressionIf your doctor determines that something as simple as intermittent catheterization can help treat your urinary incontinence, our Catheter Specialists at 180 Medical are always ready to lend you a compassionate ear and walk you through your first experience of getting the right female catheter products for your individual needs. 

You will never be shamed or made to feel embarrassed when you speak with anyone at 180 Medical. This is our specialty, and we speak to many people of all ages and genders who require the use of intermittent catheters, ostomy products, and other related medical supplies.

Our goal is to help turn your life around, so we'll do what we can to make the experience of getting your catheters and other female incontinence supplies as easy and worry-free as possible. 

With the right resources and support behind you, you could be feeling like your old self again soon! If you're experiencing symptoms of incontinence or depression, it's a great idea to get the ball rolling by calling your doctor to schedule an appointment to diagnose your symptoms today.

Related Posts You May Find Helpful:

Documentation Specialist Employee Spotlight: Meet Christa

by Jessica February 13 2018 08:58
180 medical documentation specialist employee spotlight

As one of the leading suppliers in America for intermittent catheters and ostomy products, 180 Medical makes it a goal to seek out and hire people who truly have a compassionate heart and want to help others. If you're seeking a career where you can actually enjoy going to work, and you want to be rewarded and fulfilled by what you do, day in and day out, you should consider applying for one of our available jobs.

What are just a few of the reasons to work at 180 Medical? We offer a competitive benefits package, extensive training and opportunity for growth within the company, and many fun extras and perks. We were also named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma for the 8th year in 2017. 

Now, we want to introduce you to one of our employees who has been with us for two years now. Today, meet Christa, one of our team of awesome Documentation Specialists. 

What are some of your daily tasks as a Documentation Specialist here?

When we receive over new referrals from a facility or when a customer is ready to start getting their orders through 180 Medical, we want to do our part in assisting the customer by making sure their insurance will cover their required medical supplies. Often, I'm the first person to contact them to confirm their insurance information before getting their coverage verified.

Because the products we supply usually require a prescription, I'm also responsible for making sure we have a good prescription on file from their doctor. I also make sure we have all of the proper documentation that we might need, such as additional progress notes, depending on the customer's insurance requirements.

What is the best part of working at 180 Medical for you?

Well, in a lot of ways, it helped me step outside of my comfort zone. Before 180 Medical, I have mostly worked at small companies with less than 10 people. This was a nice change.

But more than anything else, getting to help people on a daily basis is the most rewarding thing. I also love my co-workers, and I feel that I have made some great friends.

Our quarterly meetings are always fun, and I also love that we have opportunities for other fun activities. My family and I had a blast at the Family Movie Night last summer, and we also really enjoyed getting to participate in the annual MS Walk.

180 medical ms walk 2017

Tell us a little bit more about life outside of work. What do you love to do in your downtime? 

180 medical employee christaSomething fun people might not know about me is that I really enjoy refinishing old furniture that has been passed down in my family. I make wooden signs with quotes by hand too. Lately, I've been coloring almost every night. It's very relaxing!

I've been married for 12 years! We have a daughter who is almost 15 and a son who is almost 11 now. We love doing anything outdoors together, whether that's going camping, going to the lake and spending time at our lake house, or just playing catch in the backyard. It doesn't matter what we're doing; we just love being together outside!

What's something special on your bucket list?

I only had one thing on my bucket list, and I got to cross that off when I finally saw Garth Brooks live in concert! Now, I'm trying to figure out what else to put on it. I've always wanted to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show live.

What's an accomplishment that you're most proud of at 180 Medical?

Being awarded as one of the Top Team Performers recently at a quarterly meeting!

180 medical employee awards top team performers

What's a quote that keeps you inspired?
"Love is forgiveness." This is also the tattoo I have on my arm.

And lastly, what advice would you give to someone who might be considering applying for a job with 180 Medical? 

Do it!! Not only are you helping people be able to live their daily lives, but I have never worked with a better company.

Christa, thank you so much for taking time to talk. We're so grateful for you and the awesome team of Documentation Specialists here at 180 Medical.

Are you interested in becoming a part of the 180 Medical family? Don't wait! Apply today.

180 medical is hiring

180 medical jessAbout the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares for its employees and customers.


3 Types of Female Catheters

by Jessica February 6 2018 06:25
3 female catheter types

If your doctor has recommended intermittent catheterization as part of your treatment plan (whether due to bladder retention, urinary incontinence, multiple sclerosis, a spinal cord injury, or another medical condition that affects the way your bladder works), you may be feeling overwhelmed by the news and wondering where to start.

We completely understand, and we want to assure you that those feelings are perfectly normal. However, once armed with the right information and the right supplies for you, using female catheters can eventually become second nature to you. 

But first, you may want to learn more about the three main types of female intermittent catheters, so here's our simple guide!

Types of Female Intermittent Catheters

Intermittent catheters are small tubes designed to drain urine from the bladder. These are most often composed of vinyl or PVC, silicone, or red rubber latex, and they are considered single-use only devices, since they are inserted into the body via the urethra. Catheters have come a long way since they were first invented, and innovations in technology continue to roll out with new products that may offer a smoother catheterization experience as well as better discretion and ease of use.

woman with backpack Because the female urethra is only a few inches in length compared to the male urethra, female catheters are typically only 6 to 8 inches long, although there are shorter pocket-sized options. Some women prefer to use male length catheters, and this is based on preference and what works best for you.

Concerned about the catheter tube's diameter? That's a common fear, but there's no need to worry. Your prescribing physician will be able to test French sizes with you and properly determine with you what will work best for your individual anatomy and needs.

The right size will help with overall comfort as well as efficiency in drainage. For example, if you use a smaller female catheter French size than what fits your body best, you may notice urine seeping around the sides of the catheter (rather than only draining into the tube and down to your chosen receptacle, like a collection bag or toilet), which can literally leave a mess on your hands. If you use a larger catheter French size than necessary, you may have some difficulty with insertion, or you could experience some discomfort. Making sure to get the right size prescribed before ordering will be a big component in finding the right catheter for you!

After you and your doctor have discussed size options, you'll want to start thinking about the three main intermittent catheter types available for women. 

what female catheter is right for me

The three main types of intermittent catheters are:

Straight Catheters

Considered the original technology, female length straight intermittent catheters are uncoated and must be manually lubricated prior to insertion. Usually, this is done with individual packets of sterile lubricant, although some prefer using the flip-top tubes of lubricant. These can easily be included with your catheter order, and we can take into account what may be easiest for you to use, including factors like limited hand dexterity.

These are available in just about every material, and there are options both with and without color-coded funnels. This typically comes down to personal preference, but you will need to let your supplier know of any potential allergies, such as latex, as well as any chemicals you may want to avoid like DEHP. Sometimes also known as "in and out" catheters, intermittent catheter tubes are uncoated, so they must be manually lubricated before insertion, typically by individual-use packets of sterile lubrication which can be included in your orders.

Straight female catheters are typically fairly easy to conceal in one's pocket, makeup bag, or purse, and one benefit is that these may feel a little lighter than catheters that include additional insertion supplies or water packets, making them simple to carry or pack in one's luggage for traveling.

female straight uncoated catheters

Hydrophilic Catheters

Hydrophilic catheters are similar to straight catheters in many ways, but there's one key feature that makes hydrophilic catheters stand apart from other types. Female hydrophilic catheters have a coating that is activated by water to become slippery, smooth, and ready to use. This coating acts in place of lubricant, so you don't have to worry about carrying along a tube or packets of lubricant with you.

Depending on the brand, some hydrophilic catheters come with their own sterile water packet to burst inside the packaging and let the catheter soak anywhere from a few seconds to half a minute, and then it's ready to use. Others, like the SpeediCath Compact, is pre-packaged in its own sterile saline solution, so as soon as you open up this discreet package (designed to look similar to a makeup item like a tube of mascara or lipstick), your catheter is ready to use and then dispose of easily without muss or fuss once you've drained your bladder.

Most hydrophilic catheter manufacturers feature a handy guiding sleeve to allow you to manipulate the catheter for insertion without touching the tube itself and risking potential contamination from any possible germs left on your hands, even after washing up before use.

female hydrophilic catheters

Closed System Catheters

Female closed system catheters are a convenient option since it's basically an all-in-one system. The catheter itself is pre-lubricated and sterile inside its self-contained collection bag, which eliminates the need to carry additional lubricant, and many brands also have insertion supplies packaged with it as well, such as sterile gloves, an underpad, and antiseptic wipes. Most closed systems also have a pre-lubricated introducer tip that helps to bypass the majority of bacteria in the first few millimeters of the urethra, which further minimizes the risk of infection.

Some people in wheelchairs prefer closed system catheters, since they can sometimes eliminate the need to transfer from your chair to a toilet. Thanks to the self-contained collection bag, you can self-cath anyplace where you have privacy. 

There are options such as gripping aids for those with limited hand dexterity, as well as different materials of catheters, different collection bag sizes, and more. Our Catheter Product Specialists can discuss the different features that may appeal to you or work best for your needs.

female closed system catheters

Since we specialize in catheters as well as ostomy supplies, we carry all the major catheter brands and types, so you have the option to sample what might work best for you, and you have the freedom of choice to pick the brand you prefer.

male intermittent catheter brands

Ultimately, the decision about which type of catheter you should use will come down to your prescribing healthcare professional's assessment of your condition and personal needs. 

180 medical catheter specialist When you're ready to order, 180 Medical is here to serve you and your doctor in helping to select an intermittent catheter that will be easy for you to use while giving you a hygienic, comfortable, and convenient catheterization. 

We are catheter specialists that have been in the business for over fifteen years, and we've helped thousands of women, men, and children find the right catheter supplies. Our goal is to help turn your quality of life around with high-quality catheter products that can restore your confidence and sense of independence. Our catheter specialists will also offer you unparalleled service and a compassionate, listening ear. 

We also offer educational materials like full-color brochures and DVDs offering step-by-step instructions of how to self-cath.

Give us a call at 1-877-688-2729. We'd love the opportunity to discuss your female catheter options with you! 

Related Posts You May Find Helpful:

180 medical jessAbout the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares for its employees and customers.


Joseph Defied the Odds After His SCI to Walk Again

by Jessica January 24 2018 06:17
joseph stokes 180 medical scholarship recipients 2017

Earlier this year, we were proud to announce the seven 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. All of this year's recipients are so inspiring, and we're excited to let you know more about these bright students and their career goals.

Previously, we've introduced you to three of our seven recipients: MeghaFrank, and Chelsea. Today, get to know Joseph! 

joseph stokes 2017 scholarship

"Your Son Will Never Walk Again."

For Joseph Stokes, life has been all about sports and physical activity since as early as he can remember. He started playing t-ball at age four, and soon after that, he got into baseball and football. By high school, he was playing as a wide receiver. 

stokes and football teamJoseph was a regular fixture at every game, and he never missed a chance to be on the playing field. In the meantime, he worked hard to maintain his grades in the hope that one day he would play for a college football team when he graduated in 2017. 

But in November of 2015, Joseph's life changed forever when he was involved in a car accident on the way to school that resulted in an incomplete T-12 spinal cord injury.

He was rushed into surgery as soon as possible, during which two rods and eight screws were placed in his back. After the surgery, the doctors came out to let his parents know that the surgery was a success, but that Joseph would never walk again. 

A Special Visitor Helps to Inspire

When Joseph finally woke up, hearing his prognosis made him feel like the world was crumbling around him. He was discouraged, and it was hard seeing his loved ones so upset and concerned for him. Still, his friends, family, teammates, and his pastor often came by for visits, even after Joseph moved to the Shepherd Center to start his rehabilitation.

It was incredibly encouraging to know that his entire community had committed to support him and his family, even though he knew that there was a long, hard struggle ahead of him. 

Then one day, a spinal cord-injured motivational speaker named Bobby Ryals came to visit Joseph. As Bobby talked with him and demonstrated all he could still do while in a wheelchair, Joseph sat and listened. He watched as Bobby demonstrated the things he could still do in a wheelchair, and he began to grow more and more encouraged.

He began to feel like there was still a plan for him, and that's when he began to pray for a new path in life.

Turning Adversity into Achievement

Back when he first arrived at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, he was brought in while lying flat on his back on a stretcher. The many weeks of rehab were a struggle, but he maintained his faith and worked hard.

Although he still had to use a wheelchair occasionally, by the time he left the rehabilitation center to go home, he walked out with a cane.

joseph stokes senior pic scholarship recipient

Although he didn't stop going to games to support his teammates, it was an incredibly hard change to be off the field and on the sidelines rather than being in the middle of the action as a wide receiver. Joseph said, "My dreams were shattered...but I knew God had other plans for me."

He decided he wanted to do everything he could to help others, so he began doing volunteer work with various organizations in and outside of his community. Today, he continues to volunteer, and he has also become a peer mentor to others with spinal cord injuries. 

Since then, he has chosen a career path toward Exercise Physiology. Eventually, he hopes to work with Paralympic athletes.

Joseph, we're inspired by your courage and determination, and we wish you all the best on your journey through college.

About the 180 Medical Scholarship

College isn't always easy to afford, and we know that there can often be extra financial hardship heaped on students who live with conditions like spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, ostomies (ileostomy, urostomy, and/or colostomy), transverse myelitis, and neurogenic bladder. That's why 180 Medical established a scholarship program to help those aspiring students work toward achieving their dreams.

We're accepting applications for the 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship Program now through June 1, 2018! Download an application and get full information at

180 medical scholarship program for ostomy sci spina bifida

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.


5 Things to Consider After Your Ostomy Surgery

by Jessica January 19 2018 12:19
5 things to consider about life after ostomy surgery

It's totally normal to wonder what life will be like for you after ostomy surgery. The first few weeks will be a period of adjustment, but armed with the right information, you can be ready for whatever comes next.

Here are five things to consider as you transition into life as a new ostomate.

Get to Know Your Stoma

During the surgery, your surgeon will create a stoma to redirect the flow of your body's waste (urine due to a urostomy or stool due to a colostomy or ileostomy). The stoma is typically positioned on your abdomen region. Your doctor will let you know where you can expect it to be, depending on the type of surgery you have.

After the surgery, the stoma should be slightly moist and appear pink or red. This is completely normal.

Any soreness, swelling, or slight bleeding should go away with time. However, if you're dealing with excessive pain or bleeding or if your stoma changes colors, this should be addressed with your doctor as soon as possible.

Practice Proper Skincare

Ideally, the skin surrounding your stoma should look like it did before your surgery, although it may be slightly irritated at first as your body adjusts to wearing your ostomy appliances.

Your doctor or a WOCN (Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurse) will be the best resource for instructing you how to change your pouching system and giving you personalized tips for skincare, bathing, safe removal of any hair on the skin surrounding your stoma, and they will also be able to assess your needs based on any allergies you may have as well as your current skin condition.

talk to your doctor about your ostomy

Typically, you will want to just make sure that the area of skin around your stoma is clean and dry. You can clean your skin with warm water and a soft, clean washcloth each time you change your appliance. When using soap, stick with a brand that is mild and does not contain any oil, deodorant, or perfume, as this can cause skin irritation or keep your ostomy system from properly adhering to your skin.

Get the Right Fit

After your surgery, your stoma will probably be swollen, but the swelling should go down over time. You will most likely have to change sizes of ostomy wafers (also known as skin barriers or flanges) or other ostomy appliances eventually.

You may notice this if you start to see leakage or find that your current sizes are no longer fitting snugly. Leakage can cause skin irritation and feel embarrassing, but you don't have to live with it. 

We recommend that you speak with your doctor or a WOCN (Wound, Ostomy, & Continence Nurse) who can help you address any medical concerns. Next, talk to your ostomy supply company.

Our Ostomy Specialists will be glad to offer you options to measure your stoma, and with the help of your prescribing healthcare provider, we can get you the right size of wafers, the type of ostomy pouches that work best for your needs, and additional accessories. 

Evaluate Your Diet

After you're healed up, you probably won't need to worry about following a new diet, although this will depend on your medical condition and any food allergies you may have. For the most part, you should be able to return to eating the food you love.

eating after ostomy surgeryIf you have an ileostomy or a colostomy, your doctor might recommend a reduction of fiber intake as you recover in the weeks following your surgery. There may be some foods you might want to avoid based on your condition.

If you have a urostomy, your doctor may advise you to avoid too many caffeinated drinks, which can dehydrate your body, or they may discuss the proper amounts of fluid/water to have daily. 

Your doctor may also prescribe medication or recommend daily multi-vitamins to help your body heal and get the proper balance of nutrients to supplement your diet.

Start Living Your Best Life

It's completely okay to go through feelings of concern, self-consciousness, and worry. You may worry that you're the only person with an ostomy or that people might be able to tell that you're wearing a pouch.

We want you to know you are not the only person with an ostomy. There are millions of other happy, healthy ostomates across the globe.

Although there is nothing shameful about having an ostomy, it's absolutely normal to want to keep it a secret. There are options to keep your ostomy appliance discreet, including low-profile pouches. There are even specialized swimsuits, underwear, and wraps for everyday wear available at These may help you feel more confident both in public and at home.

Once your doctor has given you the okay, you should be able to live just as you did before, including exercising, socializing, and even being intimate with your partner. Your health and overall well-being will likely improve as you heal from your surgery, and you may even feel like trying out new hobbies. There are even marathon runners with ostomies!

 'Practice makes perfect,' as the saying goes, so after some time, you may become a seasoned pro at changing your ostomy appliances and caring for your skin and stoma.

At 180 Medical, we understand that navigating all of the many ostomy product choices as well as all the ins and outs of your new ostomy routine might feel overwhelming in the beginning. Our Ostomy Specialists are here to help. If you have any questions about ostomy supplies, feel free to reach out to us today!

Related Posts You May Find Helpful:

steps to receive ostomy supplies
Steps to Receiving
Your Ostomy Supplies 
what's next after ostomy surgery
 What's Next After 
Your Ostomy Surgery?

180 Medical Product News: Actreen Mini Cath Catheter Set for Women

by Jessica January 16 2018 05:54
180 medical product news actreen mini cath catheter set

We like to keep you up to date on the latest catheter and ostomy products available on the market. If you're a woman who uses catheters, you may want to know more about the newest catheter option from B. Braun: the Actreen® Mini Cath Catheter Set just for females.

What to Know about the Actreen® Mini Cath Catheter Set

B. Braun understands that many female catheter-users prefer a product that's not only easy to use but offers privacy and discretion. That's exactly why they designed the Actreen® Mini Cath.

actreen mini cath set for women

Simple to open and insert, the Actreen® Mini Cath and the closed system Mini Cath Set are both made to fit discreetly in your pocket or makeup bag. With a low profile and 3.5 inch catheter length, the female Mini Cath is similar in size to a lipstick compact, and the catheter itself is coated with hydrophilic lubricant for a gentle catheterization process from insertion to withdrawal. 

An additional benefit of the Mini Cath is that its packaging features pre-cut notches and finger holes, which gives its user the ability to open the catheter package easily, even for those with limited dexterity.

Features of the Actreen® Mini Cath Catheter Set

  • 3.5 inch length for optimal discretion
  • Pre-lubricated, hydrophilic catheter with no need for water activation or additional lubrication
  • Hygienic, touch-free catheterization
  • Easy to open, easy to use (even for those with limited dexterity)
  • Not made with PVC, DEHP, or natural rubber latex
  • Lightweight and low-profile
  • Smooth eyelets
  • A discreet pouch in every box to carry your daily supply
  • Anti-reflux valve inside bag to avoid leakage
  • Currently available in 10, 12, and 14 French sizes.
  • Sterile and designed for single-use

How Do I Use the Actreen® Mini Cath Catheter Set?

We like to make sure you have access to all of the information you need to properly and hygienically self-catheterize. You can visit for step-by-step self-cathing instructions for women (as well as for men and children) for all catheter types including straight catheters, hydrophilic catheters, and closed systems.

Our trained Product Specialists can walk you through the process of catheterization and send you samples of the Mini Cath Catheter Set with your order. We also offer one-of-a-kind instructional materials that can be sent to you with your order as well, including printed color brochures and a DVD. 

Disclaimer: Please note that these instructions are intended to provide a general understanding of how to self-cath. This should not be used in place of your doctor's recommendations based on your personal anatomy and needs. For personalized instructions, please visit, call, or consult with your prescribing physician or other professional healthcare provider.

actreen mini cath sample

How Can I Find the Female Catheter That's Right For Me?

180 Medical carries an incredibly wide variety of intermittent catheters, including discreet pocket catheters that are perfect for travel and other female length catheters of all types from all of the major manufacturing brands on the market today. When you choose 180 Medical for your catheter supply needs, you can feel confident that you're getting the best product options available with unparalleled, friendly service.

180 medical catheter brands

Just contact us to speak to one of our trained, friendly specialists. We'll be glad to help you find the right urinary catheter that will best fit your individual preferences and needs, and we can also verify your insurance to determine if and how these products are covered on your policy. 

Related Posts:

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.

Customer Specialist Employee Spotlight: Meet Sarah

by Jessica January 5 2018 06:42
sarah 180 medical customer service employee

180 Medical is a national supplier of intermittent catheters, ostomy products, and related medical supplies. We make it a point to hire positive, compassionate, hard-working individuals who want to enjoy going to work, not only for a paycheck but for a rewarding place where we can make a difference. 180 Medical offers a competitive benefits package, extensive training, and many fun extras and perks. We were also named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma for the 8th year in 2017. 

We're excited to introduce you to Sarah, who works as a part of our great team of trained, friendly Customer Specialists. 

Sarah, you've been with 180 Medical now for over 3 years, and we're so glad that you're a part of the 180 family. What are some of your responsibilities as a Customer Specialist?

Thank you! I get to directly speak to our customers and manage their accounts. The tasks that Customer Specialist typically handle can range from updating orders, adjusting account information, setting up new accounts, relaying and interpreting insurance information, helping them with various questions, and finding the right product for each person's individual needs. There's always new information to learn in this position as our department evolves!

180 Medical really does a great job in helping you find your niche. A while after becoming a Customer Specialist, I expressed interest in assisting with training. Since then, I've been provided with several opportunities to teach and train new hires. Helping my fellow coworkers learn and get to succeed is extremely gratifying.

What do you love most about working in your position at 180 Medical?

customer specialists holiday photo boothMy favorite thing is getting to encourage any customers who may be going through a difficult time or dealing with hard health issues. I like to be the listening ear that they may really need. Getting to know you have made even a small difference in their life or their experience never gets old for me.

One particular situation I recall is setting up a new female customer who was a Nurse Practitioner and brand new to self-cathing. She told me that she had helped her patients cath, but she never dreamed that she would have to do this herself. At first, she was very discouraged by her diagnosis, but after a long, heartfelt conversation, I assured her that we would make sure that the process was as easy as possible for her and send her a product that would fit well with her lifestyle and individual needs. She ended up sending a very sweet note thanking us for the encouragement, and even though she was able to eventually stop using intermittent catheters, she was very grateful for us during that time. These interactions are truly rewarding.

What do you like to do outside of work?

 I'm a fitness enthusiast, and I enjoy cycling, running, and weight lifting. I love spending time with my friends and family, especially my husband Robbie and our lab-mix Rowdy. On the weekends, you might catch me on a local bike trail or serving on my church's production team by running a camera or helping with graphics.

bicyclist on trails

What's one of the top things on your bucket list?

It's hard to pick just one, but my husband is trying to talk me into skydiving...We'll see!  

What quote keeps your inspired in your day-to-day life?

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves." Philippians 2:3

And lastly, what advice would you give to someone who might be considering applying for a job with 180 Medical? 

Compassion is key. If you love people and enjoy helping others, then this job is right up your alley!

Sarah, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer these questions! We're so proud of you and the rest of awesome Customer Specialists, who work hard and take such good care of our customers with unparalleled service. 

Are you interested in becoming a part of the 180 Medical family? Take a look at our available positions and apply today.

180 medical is hiring

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.


Our Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

by Jessica December 29 2017 14:36
180 medical's top 10 most popular blog posts of 2017

2017 has been a wonderful year for 180 Medical, and we certainly hope it's been a year of good health and fun for you too!

We posted a lot of blogs over the year, including topics like the latest catheter and ostomy product news, fun company happenings and charitable events in our community, in-depth looks at our inspiring 2017 Scholarship Program recipients, and as always, helpful and informative posts related to intermittent catheters, ostomy supplies, and more.

While we look forward ahead to all the great things coming in 2018, we've compiled this list of 180 Medical's ten most popular blog posts from 2017!

top blogs of 2017 10top blogs of 2017 10 Steps to Receiving Your Ostomy Supplies
If you are about to undergo or have recently had an ostomy surgery (whether ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy), you're probably looking for some of the most concise, helpful basics about how to start getting the ostomy products and accessories that you will need. From getting the right fit and the necessary supplies for your individual needs to getting your very first shipment, 180 Medical is here to help and support you the whole way!

top blogs of 2017 9Why Do I Need to Use Coudé Catheters?
If you've been advised by your doctor that you need to use a curved tip or coudé catheter, you might be wondering what this kind of urinary catheter is for and why you need to use this type rather than the standard straight tip. This blog post sums up everything you need to know about what coudé catheters are, what they're used for, factors or conditions that contribute to the need to use a coudé tip instead of a straight tip catheter, as well as information on how to insert and use a coudé catheter.

top blogs of 2017 8Determined Spirit: Jen Goodwin's Story of Life After Her Spinal Cord Injury
We are honored by being able to feature some of our customers on our blog along with their unique stories, and when you read Jen's story, you can see why she is such a delight to speak with, as well as a true inspiration to all who know her. Jen could have chosen to give up after an accident left her quadriplegic. Instead, she decided to set her sights high and began achieving her goals, one after the other. A lot of readers, including everyone at 180 Medical, were awed by Jen and her incredible story.

top blogs of 2017 7Tips for Preventing the Risk of UTIs When Cathing
UTIs (urinary tract infections) are not all that uncommon to people who use catheters. Find out more about some of the most common symptoms of UTIs, some risk factors, as well as the best ways to prevent the recurrence of infections.

top blogs of 2017 6Bladder Cancer: Symptoms and Risk Factors
Did you know that bladder cancer is the 5th most commonly diagnosed cancer in the USA? It's important to know some of the potential causes/risks as well as symptoms. The sooner bladder cancer can be diagnosed, the sooner treatment and recovery can begin.

top blogs of 2017 5Tips for Holiday Travel When You Have Urinary Incontinence
Traveling around the busy holidays, whether by car or plane, can be stressful enough without also dealing with urinary incontinence. We've got the tips to help you navigate traveling, whether by car or plane, including TSA regulations for carry-on luggage, helpful smartphone apps to find public bathrooms, and other helpful information.

top blogs of 2017 4Beating Spinal Cord Injury One Day at a Time: Mason Ellis's Story
Since a car accident in Mason's senior year of high school left him quadriplegic, he has been determined to beat his injury. He has become an inspiration to many through his determination and sincere desire to connect with others and help them. Find out all about what he does now to help others, including starting up his own successful YouTube channel to help others with spinal cord injuries and limited mobility accomplish tasks like dressing, dealing with spasms, self-cathing, and more.

top blogs of 2017 3Top 10 Reasons to Work at 180 Medical
180 Medical has been voted one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma (based on employee's anonymous feedback) for eight years for many reasons. If you're seeking a career with a company that devotes itself to core values like compassion and integrity where you can truly make a difference, check out some of the top reasons to apply at 180 Medical.

top blogs of 2017 2What are the Basics of Clean Intermittent Catheterization?
Intermittent catheterization doesn't sound fun or easy when you're brand new to it, but with the right information and instructions at hand, you can become a seasoned pro at self-cathing. Check out our helpful post on the basics of what intermittent urinary catheters and the process of cathing is all about.

top blogs of 2017 1Pocket Catheters 101
Pocket catheters are all the buzz in the cathing world this year, and we suspect the trend for discreet, travel-ready catheters will continue as more people find out about these handy urinary catheter options. Find out all about what pocket catheters are and why they are both popular and beneficial for many catheter-users, and take a look at a few of the many options available at 180 Medical.

Thank you for reading our blog! We at 180 Medical wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy new year to come, and we hope you'll join us for all the informative and interesting posts in 2018.

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.