Why? you ask. How could you hate something that has drastically changed your life for the better? Okay, these are fair questions. And these are my answers:
Crohn's doesn't stop. At least for me it doesn't. Name a freakish symptom that almost no one gets from this disease, and I'll tell ya, I've had every one of them. And post-surgery is no exception. Since my Crohn's is no longer destroying my innards, it is looking to harm me in the form of peristomal pyoderma gangrenosum. In layman's terms, it is an open skin ulcer next to my stoma that makes the area feel like someone is putting out their cigarette on the area and it's on fire...almost constantly. Why is it freakish that this has happened to me? Normally these things don't show up until much longer after the surgery, and, here's the real kicker: they normally afflict people whose BMI is very high. Ha. I've gained 20 pounds since surgery and I am still on the lower end of "normal" BMI.
Whenever I find myself wincing in pain I ask WHY ME?! I don't know the answer but I try to remember that things were so much worse before and, even though in pain, I am completely functional.
It's been a real battle with my self esteem. Those who are very close to me know that my whole life I've been pretty into my looks...some might even say to a fault. There is not a mirror from which I have shied away; there is not a camera for which I won't smile.
I never had a toned abdomen or really flat belly, but it was pretty decent enough for me to not mind showcasing in a bikini during the summer. Now, with a pouch of crap hanging from my abdomen, I won't be wearing all those Victoria's Secret swimsuits I had invested a lot of money in. I look at my body in the mirror and see a big old eye sore in the middle. I can no longer wear some of my favorite shirts or pants because they don't fit right with the new addition to my body. (Actually, not a new addition. My intestine was always there, just not so...prominent.)
These are poisonous thoughts. If I dwell on them long enough, I begin to believe that this wonderful surgical treatment has tainted my looks and wonder if health is a worthy trade off. As I write that my mind screams DUH!! It's extremely worth it!!! Stop being so insecure, ya freak!
I read an article today that talked about a 27 year-old girl who had battled Crohn's for 14 years (the same amount of time I have), and after it had completely ravaged her body, she opted for a permanent ileostomy. Very similar to my own story. The article had a picture of her showcasing her pouch: she was pretty, the picture of health, and conveyed confidence. She owned it. I was like, oh yeah she is WEARING that bag.
So, that is what I have decided to do. Chocking the new symptom of Crohn's up to an opportunity to count it all joy (not so easy). As for the self esteem issues, my bag isn't the problem. It's lack of confidence that isn't attractive. Face your new reality, Savannah. The pouch is your BEST BUD, not your frenemy.
Besides, health is the new cute abdomen, right?? Right.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the test of your faith produces patience.