Throughout my hospital stay at the Palms of Pasadena, I had old patients come and visit me. Many of their parting words, and the parting words of my nurses as I left that last day were, "Enjoy your new life."
Part of enjoying my new life is returning to normalcy. Tomorrow I go back to work. I am not scared. I am excited, anxious, and vainly looking forward to wearing some of my tighter clothes I just couldn't wear at work before. It still seems surreal to me. It doesn't feel like a new life yet.
One of the hardest parts about leaving my restaurant world and entering into the nine to five business attire life was learning what clothes I could and could not wear. It involved a lot of accidents, trial and error. I had to find leggings or panty-hose that were tight, but not too tight to the point of restricting my stoma from doing it's job. Needless to say, there were a lot of frustrating leaks over the last year. I stuck to empire-waisted dresses that allowed me to not use the bathroom constantly throughout the day. My high waisted pencil skirts similarly followed the same guidelines. As long as I had my ostomy, I always shopped like my clothes were going to fit with a flat and empty pouch. Cute, yes; but unrealistic.
Is it wrong that one of the things I am looking forward to tomorrow is wearing this express skirt that I nabbed on clearance for 16 bucks? I think what I will learn with my new life is that there will be no big moment where I thank goodness for the decision to have this surgery. I think it's going to be a bunch of these tiny, tight skirt wearing days, that are going to culminate into a much happier ME. The stress relief of no leakage, no longer waking up in the middle of the night and immediately touching my shirt where my ostomy is to make sure it's okay, not having to think twice about how much I am eating related to the outfit I chose to wear that day. It's the little, little things.
With that being said, I did have a small set back over the weekend. My first experience with a common BCIR first year complication called pouchitis. Pouchitis is essentially inflammation of the lining of your pouch. It's extremely common but luckily treatable. Immediately after I started my antibiotics I felt better. However, before then, it was a few days of misery before I finally called my doctor over the holiday weekend.
It will continue to be a learning process over the next year as my new pouch matures and the rest of my small intestine adjusts to the change in its role. I sometimes have to stop and remind myself of that. I just had a huge surgery. There will be growing pains and nothing is perfect.
For now I am very happy, as I am sleeping through the night and am able to stretch 6-8 hours between intubation. I might not feel like I have a new life yet, but I think returning to work tomorrow is a huge step in discovering what is ahead.
Hope you are all well and had a fabulous holiday weekend. x.