So in a little over a year I have moved to a different state, lost the partner in my non-profit, enrolled my son into preschool, lost my boyfriend, moved back to my original state, become a single mother, become unemployed, moved in with my mother, almost lost my life, lost my colon and gained an ileostomy bag. Now I’m not one for a holding a self-pity party, but damn… can a sista get a break?!
Since coming home from the hospital I have gone through a cycle of emotions. The overwhelming feeling of gratitude toward God for giving me a second chance at life has been the main one. But there are moments when anger, frustration, resentment and despair and anxiety kinda take over. I mean it sounds so ridiculous for me to ever say or act anything other than grateful for this surgery and they way it happened so fast. Unfortunately the human side of me takes over when I have to look at this bag, or empty this bag or when the fifth day comes for me to change this bag. I almost have to take myself out of the equation and act like it’s not my body. Like it doesn’t belong to me. Maybe it would be easier to accept this Stoma and it’s bag, but why should I? It’s not me! And after the latter part of this year, it won’t be attached to my body. So why should I accept something that is only temporary? Accepting it makes it real. And to be honest I’m not sure if I want it to be real yet.
See I’m ready to accept the great stuff. The fact that the colitis is gone and will never come back. I can accept and celebrate living pain-free. I have accepted being able to be a normal mother and partner and not having to take pain medication and supplements all day long just to be able to go have dinner out with friends. What I haven’t accepted is having a fake colon or no colon at all. It’s so weird to think that something I never really gave a second thought about has left me feeling like there was something ripped out of my body. Even though it was killing me, it still feels like they stole apart of my soul. Sounds silly, I’m sure it does. But this is definitely something I can say you can’t really understand unless you’ve been there. Not being able to do a simple bodily function like pooping from your butt is pretty crazy if you think about it. I mean you don’t think about it, so to not do it just doesn’t compute…until you can’t. And you’re left feeling like alien lady with a bag on your pelvis that no one can see but you, but you feel like everyone can see it! I’ve been told you can’t see it…uh, okay, sure.
Sometimes I allow myself to believe that I am brave for making the choice or brave for living with this thing on me. Sometimes I even applaud myself for getting through a leak or a ripped bag or a change or a cleaning. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I shake and breathe in so deeply I swear I’ve sucked all the air out of the room. Sometimes I shut my eyes and try to remember what my stomach use to look like before the bag, before the baby…when I was beautiful. Sometimes I just sit and stare at it and think nothing at all. It’s a strange thing, life. The shit it throws at you and expects you to take. But you take it and you roll with it. Sometimes you stumble over it, but you figure out how to pick it back up and keep going. Yesterday I damn near passed out on the nurse as she tried to help me change this thing. I don’t know why. I thought I was getting use to it. I guess not. After she left I felt like I had been in a battle. It was like my body was in a battle with my mind. But no one won, they both raised their white flags and yelled out, “I surrender!”. Everyone keeps saying its a process, but all those folks seem to still have their healthy colons attached to their rectum. Nevertheless, I suppose they are right, it’s a process. A process of what and for how long, I don’t know. But it’s a process. Although I have a funny feeling that by the time I’m okay and comfortable with this damn thing, it’ll be time to reverse it. Then it will be nothing more than a distant memory.
So I think I’ll give myself about five more minutes of this pity party and then let it go for now until the next leak, ripped bag or someone treating me like a freak of nature occurs. I mean at the end of the day, it’s never going to feel all the way okay. It’s just not! It’s a freakin’ bag that holds poop on my lower hip/pelvis and I’m missing a colon! Wooo-saaah! Wooo-saaaah!! AGAIN, it’s not forever. The fake colon goes in in July. Bag comes off about 2-3 months later. By 2013 your girl will look and feel like a brand new person! But today… oh today was not a good day. Somedays will be like that, I guess. Tomorrow won’t, though! And that my friends is a reason to smile.