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Today we’ll go all the way back to 2001, the year I got my colostomy. Nothing I ever thought I would go through, it changed the way I viewed my body and how I felt about myself. I dealt with mine by reading message boards and talking to other people who had one. Most of those were permanent and I knew mine was only temporary. Still, it’s hard to feel sexy or even clean with a baggie of poop at your waist.
It took a minute, but I did get to where I was able to deal with it. Of course, as in most things I had to learn a lot the hard way. You still get gas with a colostomy, you just don’t expel it the usual way. Your bag would fill with gas and you would have to “burp” it. Once I started recovering from the surgery I would burp my bag in the garage. Because of where it is in your digestive track, the smell was something you thought you would have to file an EPA report on. The timing of any colostomy related events was never in my control, and in my oh so intelligent manner of being, I never learned to do anything the easy way. I always chose the hard way. Rudy told me not to do it, he told me that nothing good would come of it. I did it anyway. I had such a craving for sauerkraut and I figured since I was alone it certainly wouldn’t hurt to indulge my craving. I’ll just say this, when I watched my bag fill with a category 5 tornado of gas, that when it flew off of me landing on the wall on the other side of the living room I was not surprised. Mortified? In a word yes. I was so so happy to be home alone.
Since I’ve come home from Texas I’ve tried to think about how I was going to write this post. Every year I come home with lessons learned about myself.
As someone with multiple chronic illnesses, it can be tempting to succumb to the notion that you no longer have anything to offer to anyone anymore. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself, yet I’m constantly reminded there are so many worse off than I am, and ultimately how lucky I am.
My adult children in Texas have friends that have embraced me and welcomed me as part of their family and make me feel so loved. One in particular lives with my son, another roommate, and her mother who is living with stage 4 colon cancer. This is a women caring for her mother and doing it with grace and dignity beyond her 24 years, and her mother is a remarkable woman I’m lucky to have met.
My oldest daughter in Texas calls me anytime she’s troubled and tells me that she always benefits from my experiences. I’ve found my value and worth in helping and advising the many people in my life who call me mom. There are far more than I’ve given birth to, but I consider my children none the less. A single mother stressed to her breaking point, I was able to tell her that I’ve been there and I know how hard it is.
There are days when I’ve felt that I’m just taking up space and not contributing as a human being to the greater good. I’m at peace realizing that’s not the case. It bears repeating, I still have value and worth, I can still love, and give love and make my little corner of the world a better place just by being here.