Happy 4-Year Stomaversary

Four years ago today on August 8, 2016 I had my colon removed.

Four years ago I started to learn how to live with my small intestine sticking out of my stomach.

Four years ago I began learning about pouches, leaks and angry red skin.

Four years ago I started to understand that food would never be the same for me.

Four years ago my life changed.

I will never ever regret having my colon removed. This decision saved my life.

But today, four years after having my colon removed, I am not celebrating.

Today the realities of living without a colon, a rectum, and only a partial small intestine hit hard.

I did not go on my planned four-hour stomaversary celebration bike ride.

Instead I woke up to debilitating pain in my small intestine. Pain that I equate to trying to “digest knives”.

Pain that has made me not ever want to eat again. Pain that reminds me that while I look healthy – I will never be fully healthy.

Pain that reminds me to not eat berries, apples, kiwi, plums, oranges, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, beans, celery, onions, peas, corn, eggplant, grapes, bananas, chocolate, nuts, seeds, butternut squash, salad, tomatoes, or pasta.

Pain that reminds me to never take anything for granted.

I nicknamed my stoma Reset.

Four years ago I was able to hit the reset button on my life. I’m forever grateful to the smart doctors and surgeons who gave me my life back.

But today is also a powerful reminder to never play fast and loose with this one life I’m given.

Marc and I celebrated our 16-year wedding anniversary on Friday, August 7.

How lucky am I? Extremely lucky.