Those were the words of my friend Joe, who spoke to me on the phone last week to wish my luck ahead of my surgery and give me some tips on how to handle it. Joe had a colectomy himself and now lives with a pelvic pouch. I met him last year when both he and I were in hospital. While Joe’s advice – get a bidet, use creams to prevent “butt burn,” don’t downplay pain as something normal after surgery – was practical and valuable, I appreciated hearing that line about the Acura TL, my dream car, even more.
Joe knows, like anyone with an inflammatory bowel disease knows, that the decisions we have to make are heavier than the mundane decisions that most people have to make: When should I leave for work? What should I eat for lunch? How much of my paycheque should I put into my savings account? Those are all easy choices, really, when compared to should I choose to have my colon surgically removed in the hopes that I’ll have some semblance of a normal life?
After settling on such a tough call to the colon question, the difficult decisions don’t end. Should I wear adult diapers today, or am I brave/confident enough to wear normal underwear? Should I set out for a walk even though the nearest public bathroom is over a kilometer away? Can I eat a slice of pizza or will it shred my insides and scald my ass on its way out? Will I be able to work outside my house, or will I have to make so many bathroom trips that I won’t be productive? Simple activities like walking, eating, and working can’t just be carried out, they have to be strategized.
I chose to have surgery so that the everyday decisions could feel like everyday decisions. I know I’ll never have the unadulterated freedom to live as many people do, but I hope that I can at least have something close to it. Someday.
There’s still a long way to go before I get to someday. My bowels will need time to adapt to their new setup. My pelvic pouch will need time to figure out just what the fuck it’s supposed to do. I’ll need time to learn how to live with my new digestive system. I hate that it’s going to take time. I’ve lost so much time already. But all I can do is keep working towards someday. Keep reminding myself with post-it notes that I’m a little closer each day. Keep reminding myself what I want someday to look like.
Someday I’ll be able to don one of my football shirts and go for a run. Someday I’ll be able to work more than part time. Someday I’ll live with autonomy. Someday I’ll be able to spend more time with the people I want to see, and less with the people I have to see. And yes, someday I’ll have to make the difficult decision between the black and the silver Acura TL.
I’ll be back at Mount Sinai Hospital today for my ostomy reversal surgery.
The road to someday continues today.