“That will be the beginning.”

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The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH. Where all of my operations are/will be performed.

I never thought this time would come!  Yesterday was already my pre-op for my second surgery.  I was in much better spirits than my last pre-op, in which I only had two short days to prepare to lose my colon.

The day before my pre-op I gave a speech at a big CCFA fundraising event for the central Ohio chapter called Cookies, Cupcakes, Cocktails and More for Crohn’s and Colitis.  My speech was extremely emotional for me to give, but I felt so powerful while I was up at the podium speaking.  I felt like I was making a difference for all of the people that were sitting in front of me, with tears in their eyes as they listened to the story that changed my life forever.  I have come so far and I know I say that a lot, but it is so incredible to me.  The day I found out I was having my  colon removed, I remember thinking, ” No one will ever know I have an ostomy, this is so embarrassing and disgusting.” Little did I know that just 4 short months later I would be telling a room of hundreds how proud I am and how much I love my ostomy.  Not only did it give me my life back, it gave me a new perspective and appreciation for life.

After my speech was over I received a standing ovation.  It was incredible.  To see 200+ people stand up all at once, crying and in awe of what happened to me.  I wish I could have taken a picture of it to show to everyone for the rest of my life.  That is a memory that not only humbled me, but one that will stay with me forever.

Half of the room at the CCFA event!

Half of the room at the CCFA event!

If you would like to read that speech, it is my last post to this blog.

The regional director of the central Ohio chapter emailed me and let me know that my speech helped raise about $20,000, which is so awesome.  This is exactly what I pictured in my mind when I was first diagnosed and knew that I wanted to help people that have suffered as I have.  It helps me realize that my suffering is not in vain.  That there are others that depend on people like me to stay positive and influential.

Which is also why I cannot wait to have the first issue of Companion Magazine come out!  I am so looking forward to share what I have seen in my head for the past 3 months.  We are hard at work planning, organizing, writing and proofreading what will hopefully change many peoples lives.  I know looking at it so far and reading what others have written to me have certainly changed mine.

Pre-op yesterday was exhausting, but exciting.  I cannot wait to be at the hospital and having my new j-pouch installed (but not hooked up yet).  It’s nice seeing my surgeon and speaking with him about what is to come.  My surgeon is silly and sarcastic, and certainly one to underhandedly remind me to think about the bigger picture, instead of one that has so much to do with vanity.

A cute little service dog that was being wheeled around in a cart at the clinic yesterday.  Too funny.

A cute little service dog that was being wheeled around in a cart at the clinic yesterday. Too funny.

I asked him why the lower part of my abdomen was still so swollen, as I am disappointed that I can still feel a little pooch over my pants after months of hard work in the gym trying to shed the steroid and TPN weight!  After I asked and showed him, he gave me a look like, “are you freakin’ serious?” He then looked at me with all seriousness and said, “Maybe it’s….you.”  Excuse me, sir, but are you implying that the gut I have goin’ on underneath my pouch is because of all the treats I’ve been eating every night? (Well, maybe it is, but a girls gotta enjoy all the foods she couldn’t eat for two years!)

But, really, I’m a very active individual and I’ve been trying my best to keep a healthy diet.  The scale at the hospital told me I’ve been doing a pretty good job.  I think what my surgeon was trying to tell me is that my little gut isn’t what’s important, it’s my health! He wants me to realize that I am healthy now and a little bit of stomach pooch never killed anyone.

I also think that after all of my surgeries are over, my stomach will be able to go to it’s natural state.  I still have a lot of pain and stomach swelling to get through first.

I also asked him how bad my booty is going to hurt after this surgery, since I am having the rest of my rectum out. (Gross, I know, but that’s seriously what’s happening since  I still have UC in there).  I asked him if sitting on pillow will help that pain and he said, “Um, no. But you can sit on one if it makes you feel like a princess.” How does this man know me so well? I guess he did take out my colon and has probably seen parts of my body I haven’t even seen, or want to ever see.

He also loves joking about the dates my surgery will take place, constantly suggesting I should push them back since I feel so well. Yeah, right!!  Bring on the pain!! (And the Dilauded pain pump and Percocet, MERRY CHRISTMAS!)

So, my next surgery is December 6th and I am looking forward to it to say the least.  I know I will be in pain again and this might be a difficult one, considering that I am going into this surgery feeling amazing and went into the last one feeling like death.  But I’m more than ready.  I think about it every day now and am getting a little nervous, but have such a great support system I know I’ll be fine. I have been through so much already, what’s a little surgery?photo 4

Until then, I will be enjoying all of the Thanksgiving food, considering I couldn’t eat last year, having fun with all of my best friends and focusing on my recovery by working out and doing yoga.  I plan on getting out of that hospital ASAP! The sooner I recover and am out of the hospital, the sooner we can arrange the date for my j-pouch to be hooked up.

Look for the first issue of Companion Magazine out around December 4th. Can’t wait to share 🙂

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