Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guest Post: Taylor's Story

This time three months ago going back to school in September seemed like an ambitious task as I was lying in a bed on the 14th floor of Mount Sinai Hospital doped out on morphine, marvelling over my ostomy free abdomen. I had just completed the last surgery in the J-Pouch procedure and I was excited and anxious to see how my new and improved insides were going to work. I told my doctors, nurses and pretty much anybody that would listen that in two and a half weeks I WOULD return to complete my fourth year of university. Guess where I am now? Here I sit, about three weeks shy of completing the first semester of my fourth year! Pretty cool eh?!

I’m getting ahead of myself! Let me start from the beginning. In March of 2010 I was diagnosed with severe Ulcerative Colitis. At this time being diagnosed was a great relief as I had become very ill in November 2009. I know what you are thinking – wow what a quick diagnosis! My response? Thanks mom! My mother has Crohn’s Disease and already had great GI doctors we knew we could rely on.

I did 5-ASA, Remicade, and Imuran with little success, a ton of weight loss, and one bad allergic reaction. Then one lengthy hospital stay later the ‘P word’ was a big fat part of my life…Prednisone. Ugh. One week before I was supposed to return to complete my third year of university I got out of the hospital and was solely relying on this horrible drug to keep my body from turning on me again. As much as everybody hates the moon face, the weight gain, and the unpleasant moods that come with it - I attribute being able to finish my third year to this horrid medication. So, uhh – thanks Pred!
When I think back to this time I very much consider myself in limbo. You know that middle ground where you’re not quite sick enough for people to recognize you are ill, but not quite well enough to consider yourself healthy? If you’re reading this, than I am sure you do! I spent about eight months in this limbo state, until February 2011 when I pleasantly tapered my dosage. Did that sarcasm translate? There is NOTHING pleasant about tapering. One word: withdrawal! Regardless, I tapered because I was told medically I had exhausted my options and my next best choice sat in the world of surgery. By this point I knew this was coming, and I was looking forward to saying bye-bye to Cole, my diseased colon. Cole and I had developed a mutual hatred towards one another over the years and I happily welcomed an ostomy into my life on May 3 2011!

As I battled endlessly with my own body I was also in the midst of other fights that life presents. Fights that could not be halted due to an illness – fights that were ultimately perpetuated by it. I fought a long battle to stay in my competitive, average based program at school. I fought for a three year relationship with my first love. I fought with the feeling that I was constantly ‘crying wolf’ and leaning too hard on those around me. I fought to try and be a ‘normal’ university student. I fought with the never-ending feelings of guilt, as I watched the stress that being sick brought to the people I loved the most. And I constantly fought with myself over what I could not control.

What I have learned during these times is simple: there are things that you can control and things that you cannot control. You cannot control your body attacking itself - but what you can control is how you manage your downfall. One can choose to be mope, and say ‘why me?’, or one can choose to look at the battles you are facing as growth. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve moped and asked, ‘why me?’ a time or two; but now I am at the point where I believe that accepting what has come to be and being able to see that sometimes the curveballs that life throws at you can be beautiful in the end, even if they hurt like hell during the process.

- Taylor

No comments:

Post a Comment