A Love Letter to my Permanent Ileostomy
I’ve wanted to write this for a long time, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say…You came into my life when I was struggling so much and not at all sure I was ready for you and little did I even understand at that time, you saved my life in two different ways! For that I am eternally grateful.
Let’s be totally honest…you’ve been challenging and there have been times when I wondered if I could live with you for the rest of my life. But, in the end, I truly knew that I could and that whatever issues we faced could be worked-out with mutual patience and support.
There have been times when I was less than happy with your behavior: you messed up my clothing and challenged me in some of the most interesting public places, but, after the initial stressors, we laughed and laughed at the craziness of it all. For that, I do need to thank you for helping me to identify and remember the important things in life. You showed me what I was able to accomplish, and gave me back my life. There aren’t enough words to say thank you for all of this.
You saved my life. Not only had my Crohn’s damaged my colon and lower small intestine beyond saving, my life was in jeopardy and then they found an aggressive rectal cancer that would have metastasized had it not been removed. You gave me back my life twice and because of you, I was able to continue working, marry my wife, earn my doctorate, and travel. Having you in my life afforded me the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing ostomates, many of whom have now become good friends.
Our relationship has truly helped me realize what is important in life and having you has reminded me that I am not a victim or ‘just a patient’ but an incredibly resilient woman with strong determination and highly developed problem-solving skills.
So, if I don’t tell you on a regular basis, thank you for being such a truly integral and important part of my life. I am forever thankful to have had you enter my life in 1999. Happy 23rd anniversary! Together, I hope that we can help others to learn the importance of having this relationship in their lives, too.
Forever and Always…Jeanne