July 27th was two years with this ileostomy. I didn’t feel the need to write an anniversary post about it. I definitely acknowledged the day but it was more in my head than anything else. When I had my first ileostomy as a teenager, I named it “BB” which stood for belly butt. My dad chose the name before I made the decision to have my jpouch removed. My mom had seen on www.pouch.org that many people were giving names to theirs in order to make it seem like a friend in a way and I thought it was a great idea.
So for the three and a half years that I had an ileostomy as a teenager, I never referred to my ostomy as anything else but “BB.”
When I finally was able to get rid of “BB,” I couldn’t have been happier. I wanted it out of my life so badly because I looked at that wretched thing on my stomach as this awful contraption that was plaguing my body. It had no business being there, in my opinion, and was something that I spent every waking moment fighting. Undergoing kock pouch surgery symbolized the death of my first ileostomy, and with that I buried its name and everything I clung to when I made the decision to have my Jpouch removed and live with a permanent ileostomy at the age of 16.
There have been numerous occasions where my parents asked me if I decided on a name for this new ostomy. I had thought of a few names last year around this time and although I found one that did mean something to me, it never stuck. I couldn’t humanize it in the same way as I did the last time. I want to consider it friend and honestly do more now than ever but I feel like naming it and celebrating these dates in a huge way (by that I meant if I wrote a post or did anything but tweet once about the anniversary date), that I would in some way be doing exactly what I did the last time. And since it worked out so poorly for me, I think I subconsciously felt like I needed to look at this second ostomy with an entirely different mindset.
More like a “just go about my business, it is what it is, don’t acknowledge it too much, make a big deal about it or draw too much attention to it because you never know what can happen” mentality.
But I honestly felt a little bad not acknowledging the date with a post because the truth is that this ileostomy has given me my life back. There have been bumps for sure and it is far from ideal but given my situation which I have somewhat come to terms with, this is the best I can hope for.
And I am slowly becoming okay with it which has a tremendous amount to do with the wonderful people I now have in my life who help me to see that the way I go to the bathroom makes absolutely no difference and doesn’t change the person I am whatsoever. And I also attribute it to time. I have seen what I went through to avoid having an ostomy. My colon wasn’t staying with me long following my ulcerative colitis diagnosis. It wasn’t in the cards for me to have a Jpouch given all the issues I had with it. I tried everything possible to make the kock pouch successful but there was only so much my body and mind could go through with that as well.
There comes a point where you just want to stop fighting … the inevitable.
I see now that I was meant to live my life as an ostomate and while I may not be ready to give it a name (and quite possibly never will), that doesn’t matter. I can acknowledge the anniversary date on that exact date, a week later, a month later or never again. It makes no difference.
I just wanted to share this with you because I know there are many people who are struggling accepting having an ostomy. There are also many people who may be faced with this decision down the line and who are understandably worried about it. With diseases like Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis, you just never know and I wanted to bring this up today because having an ostomy is scary and comes with a lot of anxieties, fears, and questions. But it is absolutely far from the end of the world. And coming from me, someone who spent years and years despising it and underwent multiple surgeries in an effort to rid myself of this thing on my stomach… it has given me my life back.
I didn’t wake up and embrace the bag and I don’t love having it by any means. But it deserves to be acknowledged because it has provided me with the kind of stability that I haven’t had for a long time.