would allow me a chance at preventing it to spread. I was again paralyzed with fear. I was told that my condition is rarely seen in a thirty five year old, that usually people in their sixty’s have this condition.
The surgery would be a long and dangerous one, and be would be done in two parts. First removal of the colon and reconstructing of a reservoir style pouch in my body called a j-pouch. Second closure and removal of the temporary ileostomy bag on my body only after the surgery would show to be successful. This surgery deemed complicated with no guarantees it would work, but a risk I would have no choice again in taking.
According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, Ileoanal anastomosis surgery (commonly called J-pouch or IPAA) allows you to eliminate waste normally after removal of the upper and lowest parts of the large intestine (colon and rectum). J-pouch surgery avoids the need for a permanent opening in the abdomen (stoma) for passing bowel movements. Ileoanal anastomosis is most often used to treat chronic ulcerative colitis and inherited conditions such as familial adenomatous polyposis that carry a high risk of colon and rectal cancer.
I had my surgery on March 21st 2001, it took a little over four hours. I woke up with the ileostomy bag and stoma on my tummy. The second surgery for reversal of the stoma was performed later in August of the same year. I was in the hospital for a month and lost 30 pounds in 30 days. I was in extreme pain, I was weak, broken, and most of all scared. Mentally it was debilitating, physically it was frustrating. I found myself in a state of depression and loneliness. I didn’t know how to quiet my mind anymore. I was always searching and struggling to know more, but not wanting to know more. Two weeks after the removal of my colon, I was told that it was all contained, no cancer. That day I knew I was given a second chance. That all the brokenness was temporary, that I was one of the lucky ones. I finally understood this was wonderful news for the first time in six months. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and slowly started to love and find bits of me again. In the time that I was going through treatment, Marino and I had lost 2 very close people in our lives at a very young age and one to bowel cancer. Joe a husband and father and Linda a mother and wife. Both lovers of life. Both will forever have a special part in my heart as their life story intertwined with mine at that time.
The struggles and obstacles I faced through recovery were tough, dirty and raw. I knew that dark place that I had been in was necessary and meant for me in my life path. My husband, mother, sisters, picking me up every time I fell or would want to give up. They took care of me and loved me back to health.
Through the years my condition Still creeps up on me, pushing me down sometimes very hard into the ground leaving me with permanent bruises and scars. Everyday is a battle, some days I will be a warrior fighting with all I have and conquering the pain, other days I will breathe and hide while I pray. Make no mistake I will always get up with a “Fuck You” attitude. I am stronger now than I have ever been before, because I have to be. I finally realize that through the battles, pain, and loneliness was an underlining lesson. To love life and be grateful for everyday you have. I will always be informed and in prevention mode. My health is the most important thing I own and I will do whatever it takes to mentally, physically and spiritually live in my best healthy state.
We should all try to be kinder to one another, as we walk through our life journey together in this world we share.
We must learn to never judge someone by how they look or act.
We don’t know the struggles, and adversities they face. Some choose to fight silently.
We all have stories; We all have battles. Adversity,shapes who we are. It allows us to be vulnerable. By embracing and overcoming adversity, you will learn to live without regrets, love without conditions, and dream without limits.
Life is lived the way YOU choose to live it. So live it to the fullest! And ignore those ignorant few who judge YOU! Trust me; I Do.