I never thought I'd be writing this letter to you. And I never thought I'd say any of the things that I'm about to say. But in honor of your second birthday (TODAY!), here goes:
At the risk of sounding dramatic, you have given me my life back. My life used to revolve around going to the bathroom. There was the constant stomach pain from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep curled in a ball around my heating pad. It never really went away, just got worse.
There were the months when I'd have to get up hours before I had to be anywhere so that I could spend most of that time in the bathroom, having bloody bowel movement after bloody bowel movement, over and over again. There were the nights spent on the bathroom floor so I'd be close enough. There were semesters of sitting near the door of the classroom and special permission from professors so I could run to the bathroom whenever I needed to. There were the accidents. There were days when I couldn't leave the house at all because I was, as one of my doctors so gracefully put it, "a potty cover." ;)
There were the constant IVs to rehydrate me since my colon didn't absorb any water. There were the anti-spasm pills that made my vision blurry and my mouth cotton dry. The liquid diets. The gluten-free diets. The low-fiber diets. The supplements and herbs and pills and treatments and medicated enemas and medications and infusions. It didn't really matter; I still hurt and was sick more often than not.
Squirt, there's no way I could have held down a job back when I had a colon. Few jobs can accommodate sudden needs to go to the bathroom every several minutes. You have given me freedom and independence in a weird sort of way. I can choose when I go to the bathroom. And there's no pain, no urgency. I go in, empty my bag, and I'm done.
Are you an inconvenience? Maybe. But honestly, Squirt, you're not nearly as inconvenient as having an ulcerated, nerve-damaged colon that never worked properly. Are you gross? Maybe, but not as gross as ulcerative colitis. Do I still have a long list of health problems that make me slightly miserable? Yes, but I have one problem fewer...
When my doctor first told me that he was going to make you, I thought, "Thank goodness this is only temporary. There's no way I would live with an ostomy forever." God has made me eat those words -- and I say that without any bitterness, just with a smile, for I am truly thankful for you, my permanent sidekick, Squirt.
Many happy returns.