I’m about 8 weeks out from my final surgery and days are getting better as they pass by.
I have noticed that I, personally, have had quite some trouble adjusting to my jpouch, which everyone is different, but this is definitely quite a challenge to an already challenging disease.
My biggest challenges seem to be: pain while using the bathroom, before and after, nausea and I’m still having trouble sleeping at night. I have let a lot of stress into my life in the past year, I’m a very type A person, which I find a lot of us with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s may be. It’s been difficult not to have the life and successes of a normal 25 year old, but I have had to accept those as I move forward in healing and away from my disease.
I have a lot of friends and family asking me how I’m doing, what it’s like, asking if my life is so much better, and it is. It’s just so tough to get used to while constantly trying to stay positive for those who have been supportive of me all along. The truth is, this is and has been exhausting. Resting and recovering from this surgery was difficult, since you are up and going to the bathroom quite a lot again. But I keep tracking on with the knowledge in the back of my head that things will and do get better.
I was able to get a new job for a big global media and public relations firm up in Cleveland which is great! I’m so excited to start my new life in a new city and meet new friends with my new health. I sometimes worry how my jpouch will act during my first few weeks at work, isn’t it tough always having to worry about going to the bathroom? I’m so envious of people who don’t even have to think about something that I seem to be thinking about every second of every day.
Planning when or what you’re going to eat, where you’re going and how much time it’s going to take, how much stress will affect you, worrying about what your friends are thinking, I have to be worried about new co-workers or unfamiliar surroundings where I might be going to the bathroom more than the average person next to me.
Those thoughts are all bad habits left over from the trauma that UC gave me. Constantly thinking about going to the bathroom is a habit I HAVE to break at some point. Resisting those urges and calming my mind to understand that knowing where the nearest bathroom is shouldn’t be that important to me anymore. But it’s tough to move on from a life that was, in fact, so traumatizing and so painful that leaving it behind is a challenge in itself.
Moving forward from a disease process is like breaking up with a bad significant other. The negative memories of the past are still there to taunt you, but you want to break free so badly that you try your hardest to leave them behind, with the person. Easier said than done. Adjusting to new life without disease and without a bad boyfriend may seem easy to someone looking in on my life, but walking in my shoes you might find you see something completely different.
On the other hand, I’m so excited to start my new job and to start fresh. It’s so gratifying to know that I now have a chance at happiness and success, finally. This year has been tough and I’ve made some crucial decisions on how I’m going to move forward these past few weeks. I had to get rid of some dead weight, learn how to deal with the fact that even though getting used to my jpouch is tough right now, its going to get better.
A year ago exactly is when my health and therefore my life started the downward spiral that would lead me to losing my colon. If you would have told me a year ago that today I’d be sitting here getting ready to move into a new apartment, single, with a new, exciting job and new exciting opportunities knocking at my back door instead of my diseased colon, I would have told you you were crazy.
Know that there is life outside of disease. There is ALWAYS a way out, an alternate route, a way to change your life or circumstances for the better. You just have to be brave and get out there and do it. If I can, you can.