It’s been 8 weeks since my ileostomy closure surgery, and while my recovery has been generally good, and while I tell people I’m doing better, I still slip into moments of sadness because things aren’t going as well as I’d like. When things aren’t so hot, I’m faced again with the reality that my life as it stands is miles away from the life I want to live.
There are days when my J-pouch doesn’t cooperate and I have to make 8-10 trips to the bathroom. Sometimes those trips are less than an hour apart. Some nights my pouch wakes me up dozens of times and I end up sleeping in fragments and getting up the next morning feeling grouchy.
There are days when I go for a walk and have to stifle an urge to go every few minutes. Holding in those shits is a painful process, but I can hold them in, and I haven’t had an accident since my surgery, which is cool. But when I’m squeezing my butt cheeks together while trying to take a stroll, it just reminds me of how far I still have to go, and how my body still prevents me from really enjoying the things I used to.
When I have a sad day, I like to go to my room, close the door, close the blinds, put on my retro-tastic Panasonic headphones, and turn on my iPod. I almost exclusively listen to alternative music, and I generally like songs with an air of aggressiveness or attitude to them. So when I listen to music, it’s not to calm down but amp up, which makes me feel more alive, and more content. In my solitude, I play air guitar, air bass, air drums, air keyboards, and I lip sync lyrics into an air microphone. I imagine I’m the front man of the band, performing on stage or in a music video. I jump around, I head bang, I beat my chest, I mime screams, I dance, I smile.
Over the last few weeks, my preferred playlist has consisted of USS, Silversun Pickups, Fitz and The Tantrums, The Ting Tings, The Dandy Warhols, LCD Soundsystem, and my newest obsession, Portugal. The Man.
I didn’t get really into my music when I had my ostomy because the appliance would flop around as I moved and it would get in the way of my right hand when I wanted to play air guitar. Strumming imaginary strings over my horizontal incision scar now makes me feel better in knowing that at least I don’t have to deal with the difficulties that came with my ostomy.
More than a mental escape from the drudgery of an unhappy life, the physical activity that comes with bouncing around to my tunes leaves me with a feeling that resembles what I used to experience after running – a good mood triggered by a release of endorphins. Until I start running again, which hopefully will be in a few weeks, my imaginary concerts will have to do as a pick-me-up.
Image via Radio Hauraki