When I was checking out of the hospital on Sunday, the nurse read through a check-list with me. One of the things she read was a list of things I was going home with:
- prescription for pain meds
- hospital / doctor contact information
- pain management information
- IV and drain removed
- going home with ileostomy...
That last one made me laugh out loud, at least a much as I could laugh with a healing belly! It sounded so funny, as if it was optional! I started to say, "No wait, I've changed my mind, I don't want to take the ileostomy home." Then what would they have done??
Life with an ileostomy is different, to say the least, but it has been much easier to manage than I expected. If you are interested in human anatomy it is actually quite fascinating! The human body is an amazing creation and I have been given a peek into the normal process of human nutrition and digestion. It is incredible, really, what our bodies do on a daily basis!
I changed the whole appliance for the first time all by myself yesterday. It took me two tries to get it right, but I was pretty proud of myself! The bag has to be emptied several times a day. I feel like I am changing a baby's diaper! LOL! The bags they gave me at the hospital don't have a filter to let air escape, so it balloons up sometimes giving me the appearance that I am pregnant on the right side of my body! Hopefully, I will receive the filtered bags I ordered in the mail soon. My stomach is still pretty swollen from surgery, OK, really swollen! I look like I have a basketball under my clothes! I keep reminding myself that it has only been one week, recovery takes time. But you know how good I am at waiting...
I am able to eat a normal diet now. I just have to be careful of foods that are not easily digested which could block the ileostomy. So, no nuts, no apple peels, no grape skins, low fiber for now. And also careful of foods that cause gas - I think that is self-explanatory! I have to drink more fluids than normal since my body does not have the chance to absorb fluids in the large intestine for now. I will have to be careful to make sure I get the nutrients that I need that would normally be absorbed in the large intestine.
While my physical recovery is going according to schedule, emotionally I have had a tough day today. I guess maybe that is according to schedule too...
I am so tired of being the "patient". I am tired of hurting, tired of resting, tired of thinking about what I can and can't do, tired of spending so much time in the bathroom, tired of not being able to live my normal life. So tired of the focus being on "me". Lots of tears today.
And then I feel guilty - I know, intellectually, that I should feel grateful. The alternative to a temporary ileostomy would have been the spread of cancer throughout my body and ultimately an early death. So, I know that I have been blessed. I know that my cancer diagnosis and treatment have followed the best possible scenario. I know that. And I am grateful. But still...
The past three months have been so surreal. I feel like I've been in another body, on another planet. Every new piece of medical information, each new plan for treatment, every pathology report - they have all seemed so unreal. I still can't believe that I have really been living through this. This is me? I had cancer? Now what?
And knowing that I have a second surgery to endure, and possibly more chemo, it all makes me feel so tired.
I say all of that just to let you know this is reality for me. Don't worry about me. Don't try to fix it. Really, I'm fine. Emotional days are just a normal part of the process, and I certainly have mine! God's got this; and I am in His hands.
I read these words today from Sarah Young in "Jesus Calling":
"Accept each day just as it comes to you. Do not waste your time and energy wishing for a different set of circumstances. Instead, trust Me enough to yield to My design and purposes. Remember that nothing can separate you from My loving Presence; you are Mine."
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23
I am holding on to you, God, help me to wait on You. Tomorrow will be a new day.