Today marks three years since I had my ileostomy surgery.
This time three years ago I was sat in the ward with my Mum, feeling a bit shell shocked, exhausted and very sore. Two years ago today my life very different again; I had just handed in my final major project & was looking forward to graduating. Reading my post from one year ago today, I was having a bit of a wobble. Margaret was looking permanent and I think that hit me harder than I thought it would. A year on and today I’m in a pretty good place, the last year has had it’s tough moments but Margaret and I are getting along fine.
Three years on, I thought I’d look back at the things I have learnt along the way…
- I pretty much fail at being embarrassed.
From tubes put in places they should never go, in front of a room of people and an old man opening a toilet door to show me & Margaret to a queue of people, to bag leaks and non flushing toilets. It’s safe to say that there is little left that can embarrass me. I guess I live life on the edge and am now able to largely brush embarrassing moments off with a laugh.
- People don’t care.
When I found out I was going to be having Margaret part of me really worried about what others would think. In the past three years I have never had a bad word said directly to me & only once has something been said behind my back, that I'm aware of. I think that’s pretty good going. I’ve learnt that frankly, people don’t care about her and a lot of people have forgotten she is even there. Although a big deal to me, she’s not a big deal to anyone else.
- The only limitations I have, are those I put on myself.
Apart from wearing a pair of silk shorts, Margaret hasn’t stopped me doing anything. The times I’ve worried about her, have all been down to my own issues rather than anything to do with living with an ileostomy. Margaret does not limit my life, in fact, compared to the pretty miserable year I had before her, she only enhances it.
- You never get over it.
In the past I have expected myself to get over the fact I have Margaret, that I would get used to her and that she wouldn’t bother me anymore. Right now, I don’t think this will ever happen. I have very good times when I feel like I can take on the world, but I also have times when I get so fed up. The reality is, it’s not all positivity and loving life, sometimes it feels really, really shit.
- My support system is pretty great.
They say when times are tough you really get to know who cares and I’m hugely lucky to be surrounded by such caring, wonderful people.
I don’t think the amazing friends who have stuck around every time I have to cancel plans because I’m exhausted, text me from the other side of the world when I'm fed up or offer lifts because my knee is swollen (again), realise how much better they make my life. They are incredibly understanding yet treat me no different and I love them all for that.
My parents, especially, have always been so, so incredible, I don’t know what I would do without them. Every set back and flare up effects them as well, yet their love, reassurance and support has never wavered (even when I moved back home for the millionth time), I love them and my two brothers to pieces, and can’t thank them enough.
Happy Birthday Margaret