Friday, December 24, 2010

Color Me Happy

There are certain generic greetings offered lamely at the holiday season including: A) It’s so good to see you! B) How are you enjoying school? What are you studying again? C) Oh, I’d love to get together but I’m so busy, things are crazy! D) Well I’m in a hurry, I’ll see you soon!

And while I (and everyone else) still get my fair share of these sayings thrown out in passing, I have also been pleasantly surprised at the genuine concern my hometown inhabitants have expressed.

People notice different things about me now - but mostly that I have more color in my cheeks. It makes me smile, of course, but also wonder what I looked like this past summer and 7 years prior - pale, surely, and possibly slightly sullen, tubes and all. But now, with my secret weapon of an ostomy bag, I’m ready to take on the world.

The other day, my younger sister looked me over and, with her eyebrows knitted in confusion, said, “Wait, where’s your bag hiding?” This made me laugh and when I lifted my shirt to show her, she said, “Oh, you can’t even see it” to which I replied, “Hence, the point.”

I have strapped myself in yoga gear, have done my downward dog and sun salutations - all while covertly going to the bathroom in the bag - and no one would ever know. As I engaged in a rather skilled pillow fight the other night with the kids I was babysitting, I was thrilled at the uneventfulness of my bag in relation to the rest of my life. The sheer fact that a young child can bounce his or her way into my lap, their tiny weight against the bag, and that nothing will happen is ordinary and marvelous. It’s not only the surgeon or other people telling me that I can do anything, it’s experiencing it for myself.

Last night, when I was drawing a picture of the little girl - let’s call her Gracie, who’s 4 - and said to her, “I’m going to use red for Gracie’s lips”, she later looked in the mirror, laughed grandly, and reported, “I DO have red lips!” As I look into the mirror, I do not see the girl with the NG tube, or the PICC line, or the girl with black circles under her eyes, pale as the moon, or the girl who is crying from the pain. I see the girl who survived all of that, coming out smiling, the girl who for the first time in her life, has real color in her face and her life.


1 comment:

  1. You are a true inspiration for all those who are fighting their own battles. This blog brought tears to my eyes!