Molly Olly Ostomy
I have had gastrointestinal issues since the day after I was born. I have gone to so many pediatric GIs, all of whom said I had chronic constipation and as long as I drank water and ate fiber and exercised and took laxatives, I would be fine. Since doctors kept telling me that nothing was wrong, I limped along, experiencing pain almost every time I ate that often left me writhing on bathroom floors. I assumed this was normal, so I stopped telling people about it.
And that worked pretty well, until this past October. I ended up in the hospital for 13 days with what doctors originally thought was Crohn's Disease. When it was determined I had Runner's Colitis instead, I was told that I would leave the hospital and feel better within the week. But I never did. Everything got substantially worse. It took more than six months for my new GI to determine that the reason I felt so awful all the time was because I have functional and anatomical abnormalities in both my colon and rectum. At 22 years old, I found out that I had exhausted all of the typical means of alleviating chronic constipation, and the only option now was to remove my colon and undergo an ileostomy.
Whenever I told people about my GI problems, something I kept hearing over and over again was "well at least you don't have a bag." And here I am, almost three months into my journey with my ostomy, and I couldn't be more thankful. Yes, I have dealt with leaks and blockages and infections and pretty much everything that can go wrong with an ileostomy, but I woke up after surgery without any more abdominal pain. That's pretty amazing considering the fact that that pain has been a constant in my life for more than two decades.
I'm far from finished with my adventure - I still have at least one more major surgery to go, and I have a lot left to learn about living with an ostomy - but I'm excited because this adventure is giving me my life back. If wearing a bag on my stomach means that I can live pain-free, then I will make the best of it. I'm quickly learning that there really isn't anything that you can't do with a bag than you can without one - at the end of the day, the fact that I don't poop like everyone else doesn't really change anything. I can't wait to see how my future unfolds, because I know that the future I have with a bag will be a million times better than the future I would have had if I hadn't had surgery. - @MollyOllyOstomy