Work, School, Life, and My Ostomy (DUH)

Since starting my new job, life has been hectic to say the least. I have been working an insane amount of hours with little sleep and a lot of socializing in between. I guess I didn't realize how the end of the summer was creeping up and there were so many things I wanted to do before it came to an end. The past two weeks I have been pushing myself hard, but in amazing ways. I know it sounds ridiculous but it feels great to ignore every instinct to refrain from excess in all of my vices yet still somehow remain able to function. For instance, I worked from 7 am until 10 pm tonight after sleeping only two hours last night and the little fatigue I felt all day was nothing in comparison to the physical and mental exhaustion of the most mundane activities performed under the restraints of Crohn's. I know it's silly to think, "Wow I can abuse my body and it doesn't shut down", but the memories and experiences I am having are worth more than anyone can imagine. I am just glad I can finally work hard and play hard. That was never an option for me before.

I've also met some amazing people, although I think I downplay it a lot because I don't want everyone around me to see how invested I am in a relationship. There's always that fear of rejection and I don't think any amount of confidence can change that. Sometimes I wish my ostomy was the first thing someone learned about me just so it could be out in the open and then other times I truly believe that once someone gets to know me there is nothing else they could learn that would change their opinion. I think too often I let myself get to the point where I feel like I've gone too long without talking about it and that somehow that person is going to be upset with me for not discussing it sooner. I need to learn to push past these feelings of self-doubt rather than retreat.

Strangely enough, it was telling one of my co-workers about my ostomy that felt really great to me. I barely know this girl but I know enough to understand she is intelligent and mature, which is why I felt so comfortable talking about it. Long story short the conversation came up because she knew someone with Crohn's who was very ill and thinking about having ostomy surgery. There was no way, at that point, for me to keep my mouth closed and once I talked about it I felt relieved and empowered. I can't really explain why telling a girl I've known for 3 weeks made me feel this way but I am glad I did. I think most of all I enjoy that people are educated a bit on what exactly an ostomy entails and that they change their perception of what I am supposed to look like because I have one. I can't tell you how many times I hear, "I don't understand. You don't even see it. Where is it!?"

Sometimes I am dumbfounded at how much action I can pack into one month and how much my life changes in that short amount of time. In just a week I will be starting graduate school and I have a feeling much more will be evolving soon. I am twenty-seven and I am happy and healthy and I have accomplished so much in the past year that I can not wait to see what is still ahead for me. Somehow even though I am incredibly content, I know there is still something better to come. Stay tuned, friends.

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