La la la

Every year when May rolls around I patiently wait until the first time I see one of my favorite beers out at the bar. Once the weather begins to warm, I specifically start abandoning the lesser known hole in the wall bars where I sip on Coors Light bottles during the winter. I know all the hot spots in the local area where I can find my favorite summer beer on tap. And so I head out to these "classier" joints just to pay 4 more dollars than usual, all so I can sit with my friends and sip on some Sam Adams Summer Ale.

It started years ago when my guy friends (Dan, Matt, & Brian; holla!) introduced me to the wonderfulness that is Summer Ale. There is something celebratory in my first pint at the beginning of every summer season. The Ale is fresh and easy to drink and for someone who isn't necessarily a beer expert, it's a nice departure from the domestic light beers I drink at other times. Every year I look forward to this ritual. It brings me back to the summer past and helps me look forward to the months ahead of warm weather, summer holidays, and my birthday. I don't know what it is, but drinking this beer surrounded by my friends with thoughts of the summer is pure bliss.

Throughout the past few weeks of recovery, I've been looking forward to my first Summer Ale pint of the summer. In some ways I feel like I missed out on a lot these past few months. But the summer isn't quite over...yet. There is a lot to celebrate still and what better way to do it then with your favorite summertime beer?

So today I ventured out to the bar to celebrate a good friend of my sisters' birthday. It was the first time I have really been out somewhere socially since surgery and I couldn't think of a better time to test the waters than when I had support from Nora and Ryan. Beforehand, my sister assured me we could leave whenever I wanted. All I had to do was say the word.

I was so excited when we got to this particular bar because I know they carry Summer Ale every year. I was quickly disappointed, however, because even though they were still rocking the Summer Ale tap, they were out of it. In the words of the bartender, "It's a seasonal beer. It's not summer anymore." BUMMER. Anyway, Ryan got me a nice wheat beer that I nursed for the two hours we were out. It was no Sam Summer but sipping on that beer surrounded by friends was a good enough substitute.

Now before I left my house, I made sure to switch purses to a large tote that I stocked with extra bags, sprays, and wipes just in case my ileostomy needed attention. I put on a smaller bag with a closed end that looks better with the type of clothes I wear. I was prepared that if it happened to get full, I could take care of things in the bathroom.

Throughout the night I was sweating my buns off. My pants were sticking to me, my hands were clammy, and I was paranoid that my bag was leaking. I kept sticking my hand up my tank top to make sure. The problem was that I was sweating so much the part of my bag attached to my skin was feeling wet even though it really wasn't. That feeling of wetness is enough to make me paranoid that something is going horribly wrong when it isn't.

By the time we were going to leave, my bag had filled a little but nothing noticeable. I'm finding that my normal clothes and style don't interfere with having an ileostomy at all. I was never one to wear things skin tight and I am a huge fan of layers. Maybe that's why I was sweating! Anyway, after laughing my ass off and seeing old friends, I felt good. "Baby steps" is what everyone keeps telling me and I think I took a small step in the right direction today.

I'll be celebrating Labor Day this weekend and the end of summer at Nora and Ryan's with some friends and family. I'm planning on packing all of my usual summer activities into the month of September, so even though it might be the end of summer, mine is just beginning. I am looking forward to a nice bbq this weekend, a postponed birthday celebration, a trip to the Phillies game, and a relaxing weekend at the shore. There is much to be thankful for, and even though I didn't get my celebratory pint of summer ale tonight, I'll settle for a bottle on Saturday.

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