Only 2 more days! Yesterday was a long one for me, it was my pre-op day in preparation for the surgery I have been waiting for for wayyyy longer than I ever anticipated waiting for it.
I had a full day yesterday, in which I am exhausted today. I had to complete a number of tests to check my jpouch, my muscles and other lovely things that have to do with sticking something up your butt, seriously.
The first test was a barium enema, in which they put a tube up my booty, filled my jpouch with barium so it would glow in an x-ray to make sure there were no leaks. This was extremely uncomfortable, and they kept making me move after they had already put the solution inside me, which was really difficult. I kept feeling like the tube was either going to fall out or all of the solution would come pouring out. Luckily, neither of that happened and I figured the fact that I was able to hold all of the barium inside of me was a test all in itself. As soon as I looked over my left shoulder and saw the xray with my jpouch clearly visible and full of liquid, all of my frustrations with the test disappeared. It was so amazing to see my colon-less insides, with a new little pouch in there that saved my life. What an incredible feeling to have, looking at a part of my body that was once eating me alive from the inside out, be so healthy again and ready to start working. I asked the xray tech if I could see it closer and she agreed. I just wanted to stare at it, I could have all day. I thought it was the most interesting, beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.
I had many more interviews with different doctors and hospital check ins and all of that business you have to take care of. This was my third time doing it, and having to complete it all in one day was quite a feat. One that I was not looking forward to. I had to answer a ton of questions and all of the tests/interviews only took, at the longest, 30 minutes so then I had to wait another hour before the next. We were so bored all day and it was beginning to wear on me.
Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, I had one more test before I had to see my surgeon. This one I was NOT looking forward to, I had been dreading it all day. It was a test to see how well my muscles worked and to see if still had the capacity to, “hold it.”
I went into a room with a scope in it, immediately began to feel panic. There was an older gentlemen putting gloves on telling me to get undressed and lay on my left side. Lovely.
I sighed and did as he said. Next thing I knew the most painful object was inserted, and I felt like I could feel it poking inside my jpouch, which it probably was. He moved it around 50 times, my entire body was sweating. Even parts of your body that you never thought could sweat were clammy. I couldn’t even breathe, it knocked the wind out of me. Just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, he explained that there was a balloon at the bottom of the tube and he was going to fill it up with air. I was supposed to tell him when I couldn’t stand it anymore, when it was too uncomfortable. Um, I was pretty sure we reached that point before the test even started.
I began to feel a cramping sensation, like I couldn’t breathe in after about 15-20 seconds. He was also asking me to squeeze, like doing a kegel with your behind. I was sure I was doing it, but he said I was pushing, not squeezing. All I could think was, “Dude, please get this tube out of my ass, I can’t squeeze when all I want to do is push this thing out. I am miserable.”
Finally, it was over. What felt like an eternity was only 10 minutes. It was time to see my surgeon, FINALLY.
Luckily, he saw me an hour before I was scheduled. I told him I was SO ready but really nervous. That I had been losing sleep. My past 2 surgeries I don’t even recall being nervous. The first one was terrible. My nurse reminded me how far I had come. How I have my own magazine and have reached out to share my story and help so many others, when just 9 months ago I sat in same room in disbelief, drowning in tears and begging for other options than an ostomy.
I did have one other option, lose my life.
I couldn’t be more grateful for the time I have spent with my ostomy. It has been frustrating, draining and scary, but it has shown me how far I could truly push myself. I have teetered on the edge so many times, probably a few where I was hanging on for dear life, but I have made it, and for that, she explained, I should be proud.
I am proud. But I am scared. The last memory I have of going to the bathroom I was in so much pain, so sick. I’m afraid to be afraid to eat again. I’m afraid to feel urgency again. I’m afraid of what it’s going to be like, what to expect, to be dependent on a bathroom again. My surgeon explained to me that I need to get in the mindset of the fact that I CAN hold it now. That’s not a mindset that I am or have been familiar with for a long time. He told me that if I feel like I have to go to test my limits and try to not rush to a bathroom. That is so crazy. To not have to run to a bathroom. What is that even like?
I keep saying I don’t know what else I’m afraid of. I really don’t. The second operation I was just like, whatever, get this out of the way. All it was to me was a road block, even though it was probably the most crucial operation of the 3.
I never thought this day would come. And now that it’s here I don’t know what to do with it. I’ve never been nervous and excited at the same time. Monday will probably be the happiest day of my life. Its the day I get my life back. The day I no longer look any different in any way from anyone else on the outside. I will always have a reminder of what I went through on the inside, but I can wear my clothes, be able to look at myself in the mirror without clothes and not shudder. Not feel that uncomfortable feeling of something on my stomach that doesn’t belong. My pouch has made me feel so insecure and unsure. A feeling I am not familiar with, but a feeling that everyone should have to feel. It has changed me, shaped me, helped me grow.
After a few quick expected puns from my surgeon and a RX for a few Valium, which he kindly handed me after I explained how nervous I was, I was set to go for Monday. Now all I had to do was get through the weekend.
Sitting here on Friday afternoon I am just so ready for this all to be over. This has taken my entire 24th year of life. Last year I was so, so sick on my birthday, which is March 15th. I remember I couldn’t drink, eat, could barely move, but I still made myself celebrate. This year I had an ostomy, had 3 surgeries and countless hospital stays. In the end all I can think is how thankful I will be. Not only that it’s over, but that I can resume the life of a 25 year old. I can feel what it’s like to get an exciting job, move to a new city, and live with no restrictions.
Monday at 5:30 a.m. (yikes) I will go to the Cleveland Clinic and have my takedown. I will wake up with no ostomy. This is probably the last time I will say, “hurry up weekend,” ever again in my life.