Recently I heard someone say, “The hardest decisions are usually the ones that turn out the best for you,” and I truly believe that now. Here I am, at twenty-six, making the most difficult and life-changing decision I will ever make. How do you decide at such a young age to change your body in a way that will affect what you eat, what you wear, or who you date for the next fifty-some years?

Some people take much less time to make this decision and I laud them for that. But others go their whole life living in pain and uncertainty just because they think having an ostomy is the end of the world. Somehow, people with Crohn’s deal with shitting themselves, going to the bathroom thirty times a day, losing weight, losing their hair, and every other damn thing this disease does to them, but they are afraid to live with an ostomy. The consensus from everyone I have talked to who has had a colectomy or proctocolectomy is, “I wish I would have done it sooner.” The reality is, you can either make the adjustment and deal with it, or put off living the rest of your life for a cure that may or may not come someday.

I look forward to the day when my arms and legs are no longer bruised, when my stretch marks fade, when my hair grows back, when I don’t have dark circles under my eyes, when I don’t wake up with a nightstand of pills next to me, and when my body feels like it's mine again. But even more importantly, I look forward to the little things like watching my nephew grow up, traveling to visit my best friends scattered throughout the world, and living the life I imagined for myself before the word “Crohn’s” was a part of my vocabulary.

There's a lot to process right now.