Friday, November 25, 2011

Guest Post: Taylor's Story #2

"Waiting for the Ball to Drop"

Alright so where did I leave off? Right! So I happily welcomed an ostomy into my life on May 3 2011. When I say that, I kind of feel like I am announcing the birth of a baby, and in a lot of ways the ‘birth’ of my ostomy was a fresh start for me, a new life if you will, that is if I wanted to get REALLY sappy.
As I was lying in the hospital the night after my surgery going in and out of consciousness I felt a wide spectrum of emotions. I was relieved everything had gone according to plan, I was ecstatic to hopefully feel healthy again, I was unbelievably nervous about the stigma attached to an ostomy, but mostly I was just waiting for the ball to drop. Waiting for something to go wrong. Waiting for my body to turn on me again.

I waited, and waited, and waited…

And then I waited some more….

Weeks passed and I was still waiting for the ball to drop – for the luck I was used to, to kick in.

But it didn’t. The luck I had been accustomed to, the luck that left me more often than not in the 3% of people who experienced complications and reactions had vanished. As things kept getting better there became a point where I had to make a conscious effort to stop waiting and to start living. I had been confined to the boundaries of my house for so long, and had developed such high anxiety when I left those confines that I was terrified of actually existing in the real world. So I decided to take this as an open invitation to face these fears and start living again.

Living felt pretty neat.

The months in between my surgeries were hectic – and it was awesome! I was finally able to hold down a full time job. I enjoyed the cottage life I once lived for. I tutored two amazing kids. I went to a family friend’s wedding and actually enjoyed myself. I met new people. I finally got to experience downtown Toronto the way it should be experienced. I took a weekend road trip to Montreal with one of my best friends. I revisited the gym. I became reacquainted with my dusty Canon Rebel Camera. I danced like a maniac at Taylor Swift concert.

I lived like a ‘normal’ twenty year old girl should for, four sweet summer months.

I had become a blur until one day my dad told me to slow it down. He saw right through me…parents always do, they have this freaky “spidey sense” where they just know, ya know? And he knew that deep down I was still waiting for the ball to drop. He saw that I was terrified of becoming sick again as I frantically tried to scrounge together as many ‘normal’ twenty year old experiences as I could.

Don’t get me wrong, summer 2011 was an amazing summer – even with a couple major surgeries thrown into the mix. Yet still, being twenty years old and not controlled by bathroom locations was surreal to me, so surreal that I could not for the life of me imagine not being controlled by them post ostomy reversal. When I pictured myself going back to university in September sans ostomy I didn’t like what I saw. I pictured myself held up in my bed tiredly writing essays, dragging myself to class every day. I pictured myself crying in professor’s offices, as I had done countless times in the past. I pictured myself turning down yet another social engagement with friends. I pictured pasty, underweight, sick me.

So as I shuffled my pale blue hospital booties into the operating room on August 18 2011, I wondered what my future was going to look like. Would my body accept the J-Pouch? Would life without my ostomy be fulfilling or would I be tied to the bathroom again? Would I get pouchitis? Would I get bowel obstructions? Would I be able to successfully return to school? Would I…Would I…Would I – constantly ringing in my head.

Seeing an uncertain future is scary. It is one of the scariest things I’ve known. When what is to come turns into a vague half drawn picture it becomes easy to revert to what happened in the past and believe that is what is to come in the future. What is brave is believing that things can change. Believing that the future can hold happiness, even if you’ve been broken in the past – that’s what’s brave.

So be gutsy, be brave, and keep fighting your fight!


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