Less than two weeks away and I will no longer have an ostomy. That is so crazy to say, especially since I have been reflecting over the past few days in realization my take down surgery is only 13 days away. The memory that sticks out most in my mind, that I talk about all the time, is sitting across from my surgeon, who I had just met that day, and having him ask me, “What do you think we should do about this?” And my response. “I don’t know.”
Because I didn’t know. I didn’t know a lot of things. I didn’t know life without being sick. Without throwing up or running to the bathroom all hours of the day or night. I didn’t know what options I had, or maybe I should say I didn’t want to admit the options I had. I always thought I would just fight through, that I was going through another bad spot (when in reality it was all a bad spot) and that I would keep getting my Remicade, keep taking the pills I needed to take and living life in misery.
I also didn’t know that by admitting the truth that Thursday in June, the truth that I was miserable, that I was up all night, going to the bathroom in severe pain at least 60 times a day, waking up in pools of my own sweat, watched my own hands shake as they brought jell-o or a bagel to my mouth, that I was accepting the fact that something needed to change. That it was time for me to wake up, get off the bathroom floor and feel what it was like to live again.
There has been such an underlying message of telling the truth for me throughout my journey with ulcerative colitis and with an ostomy. I think I found it easier to lie, easier to say I wasn’t going to the bathroom that much or that I wasn’t that sick or that I was eating, because that way I could pretend. I could pretend that I could still go to work and slave my life away at a job that gave nothing back to me. I could pretend that I was somewhat enjoying life and still maintaining being a 23 year old girl.
What I didn’t realize is how much anger I was harboring. How much the lies really did build up and explode back in my face starting in April of 2013. I was extremely sick, extremely angry and most of all, extremely scared.
What was I most afraid of? Not of the future, not what was wrong with me, but telling the truth. Just letting it all out and just be honest with a doctor, whether it be my primary physician, my GI, my dad and lastly, my surgeon. I didn’t know walking into that appointment to meet my surgeon that I would be walking into a new life, but as soon as I sat and saw the look on his face when I finally told him the truth, I knew then that it was time for a change.
The truth really does set you free.
I have been freed from my pain, my illness, my suffering. Thanks to the truth. I finally was able to dig deep, be brave and face the fact that I couldn’t live the way I was living and still be who I really am. I’m sassy, bossy, outgoing, hardworking, chatty, loving, fun and sometimes bitchy me. I couldn’t be that Brooke with the colon I had in my body. I barely had the energy to breathe let alone be myself.
And everyone who truly loves me and knew/knows me could see it. I wasn’t smiling fully, sure, faking it. But they knew. They all knew. And when I finally caught up with them, my life was changed forever.
A lot of the time I think and some people say to me, don’t you wish you had just had the surgery sooner? No. absolutely not. I am so thankful for what I have been through, thought it was so difficult and it put my whole life upside down, I wouldn’t take back anything. I learned so much about myself through all of that and even though I have been through so much and a lot was taken from me, what I have gotten from ulcerative colitis means more to me.
I wanted to try everything before giving up. I wanted to take every medication every drug every pill I didn’t care how dangerous or what the approval or whatever cure rate, I wanted to do it all. Surgery was never, ever an option for me until the end, and I’m happy it worked out that way.
I can relate to a lot more people and never gave up. That is what is important to me. Throughout this entire journey, I have never given up. I finally told the truth and I put one foot in front of the other and I kept going. If there is any advice I could give any one going through what I did, the pain, the nausea, the anxiety, the bathroom, I would tell them to never give up. Do what you think is the best for you. If you’re tired and you can’t take it anymore, get your colon out. If you think you have fight in you and you have some energy left to keep going, then take that path. But ALWAYS tell the truth. ALWAYS be honest. I know its so scary and I know it’s so confusing, but by telling the truth, you will find your saving grace. I sure found mine.
And now I’m happier, healthier and more ready to move on with the rest of my life than I ever have been. 13 more days. WOOHOO.