Reflections on my first year as an Ostomate
This April 19th I quietly celebrated my 1st anniversary with my ostomy. I spent the days leading up to that milestone, an emotional mess.
I’d cry tears of sadness at the thought of taking my last shower before surgery, the last conversation I had with my mom while waiting to be wheeled into the O.R., how scared I was as they were strapping my arms down to the table.
I’d cry tears of joy reminiscing about the recovery nurse who told me I’d be okay while raising her top and patting her ostomy bag.
In the 365 days since I went into surgery and came out a part of this very special community of individuals, I’ve grown and experienced more happiness and heartache than I could ever have imagined.
I left an abusive relationship. A relationship that turned volatile when I got sick. A relationship that added emotional wounds to match the physical wounds my surgery left me with. I left a man who in public, spoke of how much he loved and cherished me, but behind closed doors berated and terrorized me.
I started a new life. I moved. I left, and never looked back.
I now live in a beautiful new city, with family who welcomed me in with open arms with no questions asked. I’ve found a home to heal, to rebuild a life, and all on my own. I’ve found a job and have made positive connections with genuinely wonderful people.
I’ve learned to listen to my body, my intuition, and to others. I now know that because of my ostomy and my journey, I am the person I am today. I now know that I can be proud of who I am, and I am not afraid to use this this ability to better empathize with my peers.
Now I wish I could see that nurse from the recovery room and lift my shirt and tell her that she was right! I am okay, I’m better than okay. I’m not just surviving, I’m thriving.
So, if you’re reading this and are waiting for ostomy surgery or you are a new ostomate, let me know below, by commenting what you’d like to learn/accomplish after your surgery.
I want it to be something you couldn’t do or wouldn’t have learned before it. To those of us who already have an ostomy and have some experience under your belt, comment what you’ve already learned or accomplished in your time with your ostomy. I’d love to hear from you all!