Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And then someone notices...

Every since my first cancer surgery, the one in Feb. 2005, I've had a permanent colostomy. Sometimes, it's a pain in the butt (ok, I couldn't resist.) Sometimes, I forget and eat something that causes me discomfort, and sometimes stress gets the better of me which makes managing the ostomy a bit trickier. But overall, I seem to have gone through most of the last two+ years without feeling a huge impact on my life from having an ostomy.

Don't get me wrong--I am always conscious of it, and a little self-conscious. I can never go anywhere without knowing what the bathroom conditions are going to be like, without my emergency replacement kit, without being prepared. Some nights, I go straight home because the ostomy is uncomfortable or the stoma or hernia around it is painful. It impacts my life...but it doesn't derail it the way that cancer sometimes has.

When we were camping a few weeks ago, a friend from work made the comment that most of the people in the building had no idea I had an ostomy. Somehow, I just couldn't believe that could be true. They *all* know I had cancer, had surgeries, and that 'working from home' at certain times was a euphemism for 'having a chemo treatment.' And then today, a guy who had an emergency ileostomy 6 weeks ago after a bout of diverticulitis came back, and we talked...and it blew me away that he had no idea that I have an ostomy, and that I understood what he was going through and what he has to look forward to in the next few weeks when they reverse it.

Maybe the thing that is so obvious to me ISN'T that obvious to the rest of the world.
Goddess knows my self-image could use all the boosts it can find...

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