Life with a Temporary Ostomy: The Real Deal
Written by: Jenny
A true testament to how 'time flies' and 'time heals', I am one month into Colostomy life. Not by choice. But, because of an unrelated outpatient surgery gone wrong. I shared my story a few weeks ago (click here in case you missed it).
A month in. Two more to go. I know that my reversal surgery will be here before I know it. I may or may not have a countdown clock.
But, even after I have my 'body back', my physical scars will forever remind me. Plus, going through something as life altering as a Colostomy will surely stick with me mentally. I have such incredible compassion for those living this life either temporarily, like me, or permanently. People ask me how in the world I'm dealing with it. My answer? Because when life throws you a total curve ball, you have no choice but to deal with it! It is what it is and truth be told, I am actually thankful because it saved my life. I also know that there are people struggling with much worse.
I've managed to find humor in the situation. I've decided if I can't laugh about it a little, I'll cry. And, I've done that too, trust me! But, I've definitely become 'one' with my poop. I've spent more time looking at it, thinking about it and well, feeling it hang off of my body in a bag... kind of hard NOT to develop a relationship. Silently, I have made myself laugh thinking of how sayings like 'pain in the ass' came to be... I wonder if whoever made it up went through this?! That led me to wonder how 'pain in my side' came to be... I'm sure whoever made that one up had a Colostomy because I have pretty much 24/7 side pain! Gas, cramps, constipation, surgical pain? No idea. It's just there. That's all I know.
There's also the humor in the fact that this thing literally farts about 100 times a day... loudly and without any warning. There's no 'holding it in'. Nope. Just phhhhhhhhtttt. Whenever. Wherever. Thank God my co-workers have a sense of humor and we're like one big dysfunctional family. They don't really give a... (insert another Colostomy funny here!) And, thank God my husband is who he is because if this thing is affecting his view of me at all -- he's not letting on!
I have made a new friend. The wonderful woman who works at the store where you buy Colostomy supplies. So, on that note -- never knew that place existed! The day I walked in after my surgery (clueless, freaked out and nervous), she looked right at me and said, 'Meh. I've had my permanent Ostomy since I was 19. Never stopped me. People either go to the bathroom in the toilet or in a bag. Who really wants to know the details about either?' She told me about how she's lived a completely active life -- even mentioned all of the fun she had in college! I laughed and felt at ease immediately! This woman isn't even in a temporary situation like me -- this is her forever. And she's rockin' it!
Which brings me to my next point. Never judge a book by its cover. I would have never looked at her and guessed that she had an Ostomy bag underneath her clothing. I was actually shocked when she said she had one! Then I thought about myself. No one would look at me and guess either. You can't tell. Even though it feels incredibly foreign and awkward... you really can't see it. And that's a good thing! But, what sometimes makes that hard is that people see a 'typical me' on the outside and assume I'm feeling awesome and living life as usual.
I turned a huge corner this week. I feel more 'normal' than I've felt in a month. I feel like my foggy-anesthesia-medicine-brain is clear again. I'm moving around at a quicker pace. I am not exhausted at 5pm. I'm able to keep up with my kiddos a little better. I have my 'spark' back.
But, there are still daily challenges, pains and issues. I have chosen the road of acceptance, positivity and like I said... I'm watchin' that countdown clock!
I'm going to keep blogging about my Colostomy -- not because I think you're terribly interested in my bowel movements! But, because it seems to be such a taboo subject. I've Googled in hopes of finding a blog or two... tips/tricks... there's just not a ton out there. Yet, there are hundreds of thousands of people living this way. Maybe someone who's desperate for someone to relate will come across this blog and find a little comfort.
And, thing is? This could happen to anyone. Like everything in life! Anything can happen to anyone at any time and that's why I'll never really understand 'judging' or making fun of those with differences. At the end of the day, we're all human beings dealing with our own 'stuff'!
I've always said -- use your story. So, I'm just using mine.