I wish I could say that this was without a doubt the best summer ever. I’m feeling better, no longer ridden with having to know where every washroom is, normal face, energetic.
Yet this summer I think takes the cake as one of my worst. My anxiety monster has taken over most of my days, and with a looming second surgery around the corner, I found myself more often than not, staying home. Hiding in my room. I look back and think….what did I really do this summer? (And please don’t discount my love for celebrating all the weddings and marriages and engagements of my best friends, because that really was unforgettable) But what did I do for me?
I promised myself that this blog would be about honesty, so if I am true to that I feel compelled to map out why this summer felt like such a bust. Rarely does someone say it but I will admit, I was lonely. During a time where I am so connected to other people with IBD, ostomies and chronic illness, I have never felt so distant.
Please stop with the pity because I only have myself to blame for this one. I take full responsibility for my lack of enthusiasm when it came to making plans. I acknowledge that my loneliness is not due to any shortage of people, because they are there. But it’s my shortage of caring. I don’t care to grab dinner, I don’t care to go watch a movie or watch a baseball game, or go for drinks, and I certainly don’t care to initiate any of these plans.
Summer 2016 was a learning curve. I learned that I REALLY hate jeans/pants/short/anything with a waste band and I would much rather stay in leggings or my pajamas. I learned that thin summer tops or dresses sometimes reveal my ostomy pouch. I learned that sweat sometimes makes it difficult for a baseplate to adhere to my skin. I learned that similar to winter, summer brings wardrobe challenges.
I also learned that I actually need a convex appliance. My cute little button stoma sits too flush to my skin and I need a convex wafer to help push it out. I learned that every nurse a long the way failed to mention this, and I have been spending thousands of dollars on the wrong products.
I learned that just as my confidence in the winter plummeted, like any girl, summer brings a whole new wave. As comfortable as I am with talking about my ostomy, and even showing it off, people stare. They always stare. And in correlation to that, my hair really does matter. What is a cute outfit if you don’t have cute hair?
I learned that there really are good people who don’t care about the ostomy. And a potential dating life is a possibility. But again, with another looming surgery, I am choosing that lonely approach in fear of dragging another person into the drama. I cannot bring myself to ask someone else to carry that baggage. And for that, I am giving them an out.
I also learned about other people struggling with this anxiety monster. And that I really am not alone. People at work, and in my family who I never knew struggle, I have connected with on the personal common grounds that we both sit and cry in our cars sometimes.
I learned that a year is really not that long. And in June 2015 we were all ready to go for #2015part2….And then 2016. And now here we are. In what feels like a lifetime of difference, I really have so much further to go. With 2 more surgeries are we really looking forward to summer 2017 already?
Oh yes we are. And there are BIG plans a head.