Exactly one year ago yesterday, I had my large intestine removed and an ileostomy formed. Most of this time last year is a blur of morphine induced nonsense (apologies to those who came to visit me only for me to fall asleep mid-sentence) and, if I'm honest, so is the year that's followed. It seemed wrong to let this moment pass by without marking it in some way, but how? I could bake a cake - Happy birthday ileostomy! - or, light a candle - rest in peace, colon - but neither feels quite right. Instead of commemorating the surgery, I'm focussing on its legacy and celebrating the renewed life it's given me.
I've gone from feeling weak and in pain to getting stronger, physically and mentally, every day. As someone said to me recently, "Having bits cut out obviously agrees with you." It does!
A permanent stoma is a massive, life changing thing and it affects every single part of your life. It's scary, and hard to imagine how it will feel, how you will feel, when it happens. I can understand why so many people think it's a step they'd never take, but for me it was the only step. It's not always easy to get my head around the physical impact of recovering from the surgery - it took far longer than I expected, but then I'm impatient - and occasionally it's a pain in the arse (although not actually in the... you know where I'm going with this), but I wouldn't change it. Yes, I get dehydrated easily, I'm effectively still recuperating after getting Norovirus in December and my bikini modelling career is over before it began, but I don't mind when the bigger picture is so encouraging.
|The old me!|
Thanks to my parents, the Husband and friends (in particular, Kate, Sara, Laura and Paul), I'm facing the next year with hope. Their support through the rough times has given me the strength to keep going when all I wanted to do was stamp my feet and shout "it's not fair!" Thank you for helping me smile when I wasn't sure I could. I can't promise to stop having mini-tantrums now and again, but knowing you're standing by to pick me up off the floor is what gets me through the day.