As always, the best place to start is, probably, at the beginning. For me, the beginning was in 2007. At the age of 28 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and shortly after told I had bowel cancer. To survive I would need an ostomy.
This was the worse day of my life; being told I had cancer, a life threatening disease. But, ironically, this was actually the easier thing to come to terms with. An ostomy however, that was different. Sadly, cancer has become a household word, affecting 1 in 3 people. However, I had never heard of an ostomy and it took me quite some time to come to terms with it. Physically and emotionally, I suppressed a lot, until I hit rock bottom. As I reflect now, hitting rock bottom was the turning point of my life; not the diagnosis or subsequent surgery. It was at this point that my life changed - I decided to take charge of my life.
I would no longer be a passenger in my life. I would take control rather than just go along with the ride. It was at this point I guess I decided I was no longer a victim; no longer a patient. Now I was a survivor.
My ostomy has actually made me more adventurous, more willing to push myself mentally or physically. I am 100 times more active now that I ever was before my ostomy. I haven’t come across anything yet that I haven’t been able to do because of my ostomy. I'm not saying that an ostomy will automatically make you athletic. I guess what I am trying to say is yes, it IS a life-changing event….
…that doesn't mean it's the end. For me it really was the beginning. So much has happened over the last 5 years that I owe entirely to my ostomy. Without it I wouldn't have met so many amazing people and pushed myself to do some adventurous things. I’ll be writing more about some of these things in future blogs.
So I guess in a way I have a lot to thank my ostomy for.