It wasn’t for months after someone told me I needed to be in experimental mode while I figure out what direction I want my life to go in, that I finally understood how necessary that was for me. I worked four days last week and by late in the day Friday, all I wanted to do was cry. And I did once I got in the car.
I think the reality is hitting me that I probably won’t be able to handle a full time job. It’s a completely different mindset than I always had because I figured that once I had some sustained health and was as healthy as possible, I would be able to work the way I always anticipated.
I am (knock on wood) the healthiest I have ever been. I am at the healthiest weight I’ve been in about ten years. I have accepted and adjusted to the fact that I live with an ostomy. I am more comfortable with who I am. I have had some distance since my last hospitalization and surgery. In my mind, this is truly the healthiest I can ever hope to be.
And I am okay with that.
I just always assumed that once I had some emotional distance from what has happened to me, and had time to regain so much of the physical strength I lost, that I would be able to go about my merry way never looking back.
That isn’t true though. As I wrote in this post here, I am slowly starting to see that I am not and never will be the way I was prior to being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I didn’t eat the entire day while I was working and still ended up in the bathroom six times before 10am… not exaggerating, I actually counted. Then as I became a dare devil and had some water, it was as if all hell broke loose. I even had *gasp* vitamin water which caused my ostomy to make so many noises that it wasn’t worth sipping on anymore.
I have become a lot more comfortable eating out and being alright if I have to get up and use the restroom a ridiculous amount. I have come to terms with the fact that most of the time, people are too focused on themselves to worry about my bathroom habits. But when I am working and need to be able to be productive, I can’t live in the bathroom. I can’t be thinking about the noises coming from my stomach all of the time or if my filled up bag is noticeable either. I need to be able to concentrate on what I have to do and engage with the people I am with free from GI distractions.
I know every IBD and ostomy patient is different but I am curious: On your average day, how often do you go to the bathroom or empty your ostomy?