Last month, I visited my new gastrointestinal specialist, who took over from my old GI who retired last July. My previous GI’s assistant, Dori, remained in the office. Dori has known me since I was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2008, and she’s always been helpful, caring, and sympathetic. After my appointment with my new GI, I spent a little time talking with Dori and letting her know what the next steps in my recovery could be: I’ll be going for a pouchogram on December 9 that will show whether my pelvic pouch has properly joined with my anus. If it has, I’ll be scheduled for an ostomy reversal. If it hasn’t, I’ll have to go through the first surgery all over again.
“I hope you can get the reversal. You’ve really been through a lot,” Dori said.
~ ~ ~
Yeah, I have been through a lot. Sometimes I forget all the specific shit that I’ve had to endure over the last seven months: the all-night vomiting sessions, the NG tube, the rectal tube, the percutaneous tube, the fatigue, the pain in my ass, the pain in my abdomen, the pain around my stoma, the wound at my incision site, the fevers, the trips to the ER, the missed Blue Jays games, the cancelled plans, the shrinking bank account, the lost independence, the lost freedom, the lost happiness.
I figured that by now I’d be adjusting to my life with a pelvic pouch, rather than hoping that I can just get the fucking thing up and running. Still, I face the possibility that tomorrow I’m going to walk into Mount Sinai Hospital, pull down my pants, have a camera shoved up my ass, and then find out that I’m going to have the initial operation redone, and my quest for relative normalcy will face another lengthy and likely painful setback.
I wasn’t scared going into my first surgery. I had high hopes, confidence in my physicians, and a naïve belief that things would go as planned. I’m terrified about my pouchogram tomorrow. Not about the procedure itself – I’ve had plenty of things shoved up the ol’ poop shute over the years – but about the potential of having my belly sliced open and my bowels rearranged. Again.
~ ~ ~
Seven months. I’ve waited seven months for the all-clear to have my ostomy reversed. It’s been a hellish seven months. An entire summer wasted. The worst time of my life. I deserve better, don’t I?
If I find out tomorrow that my pouch-to-anus connection still hasn’t healed, it’ll be a punch in the face and a kick in the crotch at the same time. I’m tired of not working full-time. I’m tired of living at home. I’m tired of not being able to run. I’m tired of fretting over every edible option I’m presented with. Let me get on with things. Let me be more than an extensive medical record. Let me live again.