Today marks six weeks since my last operation. I checked into the hospital to have my stoma refashioned and a proctectomy to make things permanent. An unmanageable case of proctitis made it so I couldn’t live my life to the fullest. My disease had spread to the glamorous stump left over following ileostomy surgery last year. My stoma bag improved my quality of life drastically, but I felt like I had plateaued. Fatigue ruled my days, stopping me from working and going to the gym. During the evenings, I found I couldn’t stay out late because that was when the pain would get the best of me. Towards the end of my stump’s lifespan, the pain was sometimes too much- hot water bottles, strong analgaesics, and even my trusty TENS unit would ease the pain, but sometimes it wasn’t enough. The time to go back under the knife had come.
After a complicated hospital stay last year, I was anxious about what could go wrong this time around. I had a bit of a ‘wobble’ a day or two after I woke up from anaesthesia, bursting into tears when doctors came into my hospital room to check on me. I blame it on the tranquilisers I was taking, combined with lack of proper sleep and anxiety. Luckily for me, a brilliant nurse whom I had met last year was on my ward, and between her extraordinary care and a visit from my psychologist, I gradually relaxed. The last few days of my stay on the ward consisted of snacking on candy corn sent over from the US, watching RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix, and doing lots of colouring. This time, my hospitalisation was a breeze.
In the six weeks since the operation, my wounds have healed, I have taken myself out into town shopping and Pokemon hunting, and not once have I felt overcome by fatigue. I know that I am not out of the woods yet, and I’m still not cleared to rejoin the gym, but in another couple of weeks I will be. My illness has taught me to pay close attention to my body, and appreciate the little things in life. I am feeling positive and stronger each day, and look forward eagerly to what the new year will bring.