2013 was the worst and best year of my life.
I can say that I am happy that year is over. I was sick for that entire year. That year took my colon. Took a way of life I was used to and traded it in for one that was unfamiliar and really scary. But I moved on and I continue to look forward to the future that is so close. A future that includes moving on from ulcerative colitis, hospitals, surgeries, illness, everything. It’s kind of crazy to think how quickly this all came about and happened. There are people I have met and spoken with who suffer with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s for years and years. My suffering was short, but intense. It also came to a quick end when I met my surgeon and he gave me 3 days to prepare to lose my colon.
I had my second surgery on December 6th, today I am officially a month out. I never thought I’d get here. Today I was discussing all of the people I owe apologies to at the Cleveland Clinic for acting like such a psycho-brat when I found out I had to have my colon removed. I will never forget that nurse I always talk about who told me I’d be out with my friends in no time. I kindly looked at her and informed her in my rudest, meanest voice possible that I wouldn’t be going anywhere with that f**king bag.
Thinking back on that day, Thursday, June 27th, the worst day of my life, there are a lot of things I wish I could change. What I realize now that I didn’t then is that was also the first day of the rest of my life. That day was a gift to me. A second chance at life, a new perspective, a new start. To a lot of things, both good and bad.
Kind of like the new year that everyone counts down on December 31st around 11:59 p.m. This year, as I was counting down I couldn’t help but to be in awe of everything I have been through in 2013. June 27th included. Now, it feels like I have blinked since July. Then, it seemed like forever away. Like a jail sentence I was being condemned too. Never to leave my room, a good excuse to sulk and feel sorry for myself.
A jail sentence is a good way to put ulcerative colitis. It traps you with no end. I have put my life on hold for the past year and a half to deal with all of this. I can’t move anywhere new, get a new job, experience a new life because somehow I am trapped by this surgery series. I would be lying if I said I didn’t envy all of my friends who are able to get promotions, new jobs, move to new cities, experience new things. I can’t be selfish, this hasn’t only held back my life, but the life of my boyfriend, my family. We have all been stuck in this limbo of colons, disease, ostomy pouches, and surgeries. Only to be let free within the next few weeks.
What is it going to be like to be free of this disease? I have no idea. Though I have been healthy for 7 months now, I still couldn’t tell you what it’s like to not worry about where the bathroom is. Always checking my pouch to see if it needs emptied, worried about whether it’s showing through my clothes or not, what I’m going to wear to dinner, out with friends, shopping. Worried about when my next surgery is, when my friends and family are going to feel relief from this hell that uc brought them into as well.
I can tell you that I would never take back what uc has given me, even if it was the worst pain in the entire world. Because that pain, that learning experience, that perspective has helped me grow as a human being. I am such a big believer in everything happens for a reason. So, maybe this happened to me to teach me all of the things that I was missing out of life. Lessons that I should have paid more attention to in the past, people I should have cared more or less about, learning how to be a more giving person, learning what it is to truly suffer. That is a lesson that not everyone gets to learn in their lifetime, and I can tell you with all honesty that it’s the best one I have ever learned.
Suffering has brought me so much joy, so much strength. It has made me realize my true passions, my true friends. Looking back on 2013, there was a lot of suffering, but not one second was that suffering gone ungratified for me. Out of every minute of suffering I experienced came something great, a new concept, a new friend, a new reason for me to understand my purpose.
What are my resolutions for 2014? Well, this year is going to be guh-reat. I find out on Thursday (Jan. 9th) when I get my jpouch hooked up. It will be my final surgery. That is crazy.
There are numerous other things that I am looking forward to in the coming year. Having a new, wonderful, healthy life is one of them. I plan to do that by appreciating my body for what it is and what it has taught me about myself as a person.
I also plan to find that nurse that told me I was going to be out with my friends in no time, that told me I would be enjoying life pain free again and that my ostomy wouldn’t stop me from doing anything. Who took the time and showed me pictures of another girl my age with an ostomy wearing and doing whatever she wanted just to make me stop crying. Who, despite me screaming in her face very rudely, still came to visit me in my hospital room 5 days later.
I’m going to find her and I’m going to hug her and tell her she was right. I’m going to give her pictures of me out with my friends with an ostomy so that she can show other girls. And then I am going to tell her that I am so sorry for being such a psycho-brat on June 27th, 2013.
2013. Happy, healthy and out with an ostomy. Happy New Year!