Monday, February 8, 2016

How a Bag Saved my Life

Three years ago today, my life changed dramatically. After months of throwing the "kitchen sink" of medications at me in hopes of getting control over the worsening Inflammatory Bowel Disease attacking my colon, we all admitted that things weren't working out as well as planned. My colon was so heavily diseased with what they thought at the time was Ulcerative Colitis, that there were fears that I might perforate the colon. If that happens, it can be life-threatening, and often leads to a lot of complications for recovery. So the colon had to come out if I were to have any chance of living a life outside the hospital. My only hope at this point was that someone else could benefit from my experience, so I decided that I wanted to donate it to research. If it's going to go to waste anyway, someone else might as well have it to experiment on. Who knows, maybe my colon might play a role in finding a cure. That thought brings a huge smile to my face. 

I often get asked if it bothers me that I'll be living with an ostomy for life, or until there is a cure for Crohn's Disease. If I live a full lifespan, I'll have lived with an ostomy for about 75'ish years. It doesn't bother me. Most days I don't even think about it, it's just become the way that waste leaves me; it's become my normal. It is an annoyance at times, because let's face it, poop happens and when it does, it's always messy. But life is messy too, and good or bad, we have to learn to come to terms with it all. 

I used to feel the need to hide my bag from public view, but now that I have my feeding tube, I can no longer wear my pants over my bag. But I've also learned that it doesn't matter to me any more whether my bag might be showing. This bag has given me a life. It's a daily reminder of what I've managed to overcome and the fact that I need to be grateful that I am here each day because of having had this surgery. 

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