I’ve been so busy lately with things (like being HEALTHY) – I’ve been slacking on getting posts up, responding to any questions on my blog or through emails. Sorry about that!
One question I get the most, actually about 98% of the time I talk with or mentor someone that is living life with Crohn’s or colitis is, “What is life like after you have the surgery?”
If I were to say the first word that comes to my mind, it would be GREAT! Even when I was going through the surgery series, I felt incredible, looked better than I ever had and my health started to take a serious turn for the better almost immediately. Sure, living life with an ostomy was scary and unknown, but sometimes the challenges that life throw at you are given to you for a reason. I never thought I could handle life with an ostomy, but I did! I kicked butt at it. I definitely had struggles and still do, but whenever I did have harder times, I found someone that I could relate to (mostly my soulmate, Kristin) to talk to about what I was going through. More than likely, she or whoever else I was talking to at the time had or was going through the same dilemma.
I know that at times it can be difficult to open up about what you are feeling when you have IBD. The diseases have their way of making you want to shut down and hide from the world. You have to think about whether or not that’s how you want to live your life. Do you want to let your disease rule who you are or what you do with your life? I didn’t think so. Find a way to deal with what you’re feeling, whether it’s positive or negative.
If you’re having a positive thought about where you’re at in your journey, share it! I can guarantee from personal experience that by sharing how you feel you will inspire someone who may be heading down a similar path.
If you are feeling negative, try not to scare others. Nothing makes me angrier than reading blogs or social media posts from people who live vicariously through their illness. Who post nothing but hospital pictures, or posts about how terrible they feel or how scared they are of an upcoming procedure. I am completely behind being scared and I understand that fully. But, if you are someone’s role model, is that really the light you want them to see you in? I would never want to make anyone feel like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s a way to post even the scariest of situations so that they aren’t portrayed in a negative manner.
So, what is life like after surgery? I can say with certainty that it is different for everyone. We all have different doctors, different diets, different advice given to us, different support systems. I am blessed to have an amazing family, the best group of doctors that anyone could ask for (including my dad) a talented surgeon that saved my life and friends that have seen my darkest days. No matter who you have standing beside you, YOU are the most important factor. Your mindset will ultimately determine the outcome of any procedure or diagnosis. There’s a way to look at it negatively, which is probably easier than how you should be looking at it.
Whenever I answer the question at hand, I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that I’m doing poorly. Because I’m not. I’m doing great! I sleep at night, get up every morning and go to work full-time. I go to lunch with friends, I eat great food and laugh with my family. I work out, I run, I lift, I shop, I do everything that I’m supposed to be doing at 27.
That’s all thanks to the surgeries that I had, the ostomy I wore and the jpouch that is now inside of me. I’m a better person because of the battle that I fought with my ulcerative colitis. I’m a stronger woman because of the pain that I endured.
Is my diet different? Yep. If I eat a lot of carbs or have anything fried or too many sweets, I feel terrible. That’s all in my control, though. I know what I should and should not be doing and so do you. Common sense plays a big factor in the way that I feel every day. If I don’t get enough sleep I’m probably going to feel pretty bad and more than likely am going to be going to the bathroom more that day. Again, the choices you make will affect your health after your surgeries.
Am I still worried about where the bathroom is? Yes. But I don’t live in fear like I did before, I just like to know where it’s at. I get in the car with no issue. The pain is gone and there’s nothing more freeing than that.
Regardless of where you’re at in your life with IBD – ostomy, jpouch, remission, flare, new medicine, or surgery- always try to think about the positive. You have options and you DO have support. You’ll get through the pain and find brighter days. I can attest to it.