I remember being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in the fall of my junior year and thinking it was a death sentence. Not immediate, but eventual. I remember also thinking that having a colectomy was the worst thing that could possibly happen to me; that any medicine was better than surgery, no matter the side effects, and that I wouldn’t be a complete person without a colon. Which was stupid because a) it meant I made the decision to undergo multiple hospitalizations and endless drug treatments over two and a half years and b) as Clare put it, “whoever said you needed a colon to kick ass was sorely mistaken.” The ostomy bag isn’t forever, and it took a lot of getting used to, and it still weirds a lot of people out, but I consider it another step in the long list of steps that I’m doing an impressive job of conquering. I’d rather have a bag of 💩hanging from my abdomen than bright red blood in the toilet, excruciating pain, anemia, fatigue, weight loss, hopelessness, colonoscopies, infusions, blood tests, and up to 30 pills a day with fun side effects like immunosuppression, anxiety, moonface, weight gain, hair growth, white blood cell loss, osteoporosis, and more. Hey, it isn’t pretty, but it’s what I’ve dealt with and there’s nothing shameful about anyone’s body or what anyone has to go through to get to happiness. So here’s the colitis patient / ostomate body positivity post that no one asked for but everyone secretly needed. Only two more surgeries to go!
Having just been through my first surgery, this was really good to read. I hope to get used to my bag and be back to “normal” before long so I can continue to live life to the fullest!