This weekend has been two days of anniversaries. Saturday, January 5th was the date of my first kock pouch surgery and Sunday, January 6th was the date of my second surgery which was my first ileostomy. It is too overwhelming for me to talk about each day in one post so I decided to break it up into two individual posts because both of these days mean a lot to me.
Seven years ago this past Saturday I finally had the surgery I fought so hard for. When I was 17 and the fact that the ileostomy would actually be permanent became engrained in my head, I was on a mission that lasted for two years and that was to have a continent ileostomy. I did not want any kind of external appliance. I was a young girl who had zero interest in dealing with it. It caused me to have very low self esteem when I had it from the ages of 16-19. All I could do was fight this wretched thing that was put upon me. After a lot of research and finding the kock pouch surgery, I would stay up all night writing my parents letters, crying, begging, pleading for them to allow me to undergo a surgery that everyone was advising them against. My surgeon happened to perform this particular surgery and after my parents spoke to him (in addition to the two years of listening to me), I think my parents did realize that if I had any shot of accepting this bag that I had to go through with this surgery. And I did go through with the surgery on January 5th of 2006. I also went through with it again in March of that same year and three more times over the next five years.
And in hindsight, I would do it all over again. I know myself. I remember all too well where I was when I was 17…but more so 18 and 19. I was losing it. When my bag fell off the first day of college in the middle of class I was finished. That was the final straw. I do take an enormous amount of comfort knowing that if I could go back in time, I would not have changed a thing. I know going through so many kock pouch surgeries plus another one to remove it and then create an ileostomy wrecked havoc on my emotional well being to say the absolute least but I know I needed to go through it.
January 5th is the day that reminds me that I do really know myself well. It is the day that I remember how important it is to trust my instincts and keep fighting for what I know is right for me. Whenever I feel a shadow of doubt about whether or not I made the right decision, I think back to the emotional pain I was in when I had an ileostomy during my teen years. It makes me realize that there was an absolute reason why I knew enough to be as persistent as I was in order to have this surgery and continue to have it despite the random complications and difficult recovery.
I lost the kock pouch fight. But I did what I set out to do and I take an enormous amount of comfort, satisfaction and relief from knowing that.
Words cannot even begin to express how grateful I am to my parents (and Jeremy) for all that they have done to help me get through everything. You know I could never have done it without you both. I am also so so sorry for putting you through it.