Friday, January 31, 2014

Keeping Hope and Finding Acceptance

This year marks 19 years since my first surgery, the surgery that resulted in a "permanent" ostomy for six years, making it 13 years since my ostomy was reversed. Although neither is a milestone anniversary and I tend to always forget about the anniversaries anyway. But occasionally my mind is lingers to think about the amount of time that has passed.

When I had my ostomy surgery I was told that it would only be a temporary ostomy and after three months to allow healing, I would have a jpouch in place of the ostomy. As I've discussed in previous posts, this obviously didn't occur according to plan. Due to complications, I wound up with a "permanent" ostomy. I was told there wasn't enough rectum left to be attached to my intestine. My rectum was kept in place though in spite of having a "permanent"ostomy. I never had any pain or issues with still having a rectum and I'm so grateful it wasn't removed.

 I experienced a lot of anger and denial after the complications started. I hated my doctors, surgeons, hospital and even my parents. I wanted them to all pay for what they had done to me and through a series of life events I was consumed by the rage and became suicidal and homicidal for several years after that first surgery. I never accepted my ostomy. Deep down I knew I wasn't meant to have an ostomy for the rest of my life. I believed it fervently, I hoped for a miracle obsessively. 

After six years, all of a sudden, after a routine colonoscopy my doctor thought that there may be enough rectum to attempt a straight pull thru and referred me to a surgeon for consultation. I could hardly contain myself. It was a long shot, but I had to take it. My life was about to change with the sudden option for reversal. I was terrified I'd wake up after surgery to find out it had been a failure. My parents agreed to give me a thumbs up or thumbs down as soon as I opened my eyes so I would know the result. I didn't know how I'd react if it was a thumbs down, I feared I'd break down immediately and cause my physical pain to increase. I couldn't wait to find out though. Fortunately for my mind's sake, it was a thumbs up and I was able to relax and drift back into a drug induced sleep.

Not everyone reacts or copes with having an ostomy the same way. Ostomies are life saving and can greatly improve quality of life. An ostomy is nothing to be ashamed of and the improvements to ostomies over the years has been amazing to truly make living with an ostomy very good. In spite of this though, some of us have an extremely difficult time with acceptance. I was one of those people and fortunately for me, I was able to have my ostomy reversed. For me, that's what I needed because I was fixated, trapped in a world of rage. I hope that had it been a thumbs down that I would have eventually been able to find self acceptance and lived with the love of life and dignity of so many ostomates I know and admire. 

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