Happy Stomaversary

Wow, one year ago today, I had my colon removed. Can you believe it’s been a year? I can’t.

Before my ileostomy surgery, I really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know what life would be like with Reset (my stoma). I didn’t know how life would change (or wouldn’t change).

This surgery saved my life. Having an ileostomy and pouch, has given me my life back. In 2009 if you’d suggested I should have surgery and live with having a pouch on the front of my body that collects the undigested food that travels through my small intestines – I would have refused this as a possibility.

It’s amazing though what perspective can do. I spent so many years being very ill (you likely didn’t know how ill I was) and trying to force myself into regular daily life. This meant I was often very tired and in pain – but I kept on doing everything I loved doing. Until I couldn’t.

The last couple years before having this surgery were very hard. Hard for me. Hard for Marc. Daily life was cloaked in uncertainty – would today be a good day or a bad day?

The surgery I had on August 8, 2016 changed all this. Generally, every day is a good day. Thank you Reset. Thank to you to my amazing surgeon. I have my life back.

This is not a cure. I’m still dealing with an ulcerative colitis flare. I still have my rectum and part of my colon – this will likely be removed sometime in early 2018. Until then, though, I do have days of intense pain and not nice things happening. Such is life. I’ve been through worse. Ulcerative colitis will always be part of my life, whether it’s with this flare or with the new joint pain that has appeared.

Regardless, I wouldn’t change what happened on August 8, 2016 for anything. This past year has been one that I couldn’t have imagined. I feel like I’ve been cramming in multiple years of life into this past year.

I’ve never felt better. I can’t wait to experience whatever is around the corner. Happy Stomaversary!

Yesterday, August 7, was our 13th wedding anniversary. I’m so fortunate to have Marc in my life. This guy is my rock. The past year has been challenging with my surgery, a car accident, Marc’s concussion, a sick cat (twice), and a few other stressors – but through it all we knew that we have one another for support, love, and happiness. Happy anniversary Marc.

New Job

Some news: I’m starting a new job. Okay, well it’s not really a new job – it’s actually taking my freelance work and making it my primary job. Today I gave my notice at the technical writing position I’ve been at for the past five years.

I’m super excited. I feel like a huge weight of stress has been lifted from my shoulders.

I’ll be working from home. Doing more of what I’m currently doing – lots of creative and challenging writing.

I’m excited. I’m nervous. But best of all, I feel like I’ve come up for a breathe of fresh air. I didn’t realize how much of my day-to-day was spent rushing from one thing to the next. I learned the hard way that I can’t do it all (as much as I would like to).

Instead, I’m focussing on the things that truly give me satisfaction. It’s amazing how quickly the work/life balance can get distorted. For me, I had to get in it very deep to recognize that I was on a bad path of unmanageable stress.

So, yeah – new job. Cool. Very thankful.

Long Time Coming

Hard to believe I haven’t posted here since March 15.

I must admit there were days when I’d think about posting but simply couldn’t find anything interesting to say. Then there were other days when I’d have a great idea but then decided to keep these thoughts to myself. And then there were the days when I thought about shutting this entire site down, feeling that the time had come.

And now here I am. Nothing in particular has compelled me to post and I honestly don’t know what is going to come next. But it is what it is. Words on a screen.

Life has been rolling along. Nothing to spectacular or ground-breaking to tell you about. No deep thoughts or catastrophic missteps. Just life.

This is okay. Things have been crazy for us in the past and it is refreshing to just be focussing on the day-to-day stuff of life. It’s easy to lose perspective and misunderstand that every day has to be better than the previous and that every moment must be filled with success, triumph, and unicorns.

Riding bikes. Eating good food. Hanging out with friends. Reading books. Chasing Calvin the cat around. This is good. In fact, this is great.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. Here’s hoping I can keep the posting gaps to a minimum but as we all know, there are no guarantees in life.

Go Live Your Life

“Go Live Your Life”

This is what the lady who is in charge of booking my next surgery told me. Turns out I’m on an 18-month wait list. So that mythical date of sometime in April – June that I was given in December – well, it’s just simply not true.

What this means is I don’t need to keep not making plans. I don’t need to keep not having goals. I don’t need to keep not trying to think about what I’d like to do this summer and fall.

Instead I can get busy doing it.

It might seem strange to read that I’m happy about an 18-month wait. Well, the thing is I was calling today to ask to have my surgery date delayed. I feel great. My UC symptoms which had returned are now comfortably under control. As far as the surgeons see me, I’m in the “benign” group so there is no rush to get this second surgery done.

I had been feeling like I couldn’t commit to anything, make plans to do anything, or even look forward to enjoying the summer since I anticipated spending it recovering from a surgery that has a 50% complication rate.

But now, everything has changed.

I’ve got myself booked in for a mountain bike camp in July. I’ve fired off a super excited email to my coach. I celebrated this great news with two bowls of delicious Oat & Mill peanut butter/chocolate ice cream at 10:30 this morning.

I feel rejuvenated. Just as my stoma (who I nicknamed Reset) has given me a new chance, this news today has really lifted me up.

Time for some goal setting and the¬†planning to achieve those goals. If there is one thing I crave it’s a big goal or two.

I’m stoked to be back.

 

 

 

 

Quiet Times

This old space has been pretty quiet of late. I suppose it’s the sign of the times. We’re just rolling along here with not much exciting or crazy happening.

So yeah, really what can I tell you? We have a ¬†new-to-us car. The old Matrix was too banged up to be repaired. Strange but I was quite sad about losing that car. It was my first brand new car. We had some great adventures in it. But our new car holds just as much (if not more) promise. For something different we went with a navy blue Matrix (our other one was light blue). This one has all the bells and whistles – in stark contras to the old one which even had wind-down/up windows. I’m partial to the heated driver’s seat….

Marc is recovering well from his concussion. He’s in the last throes of recovery and from what we’ve been told this can be the longest block of the recovery process. It’s kind of a day-by-day thing and I don’t think it can be understood or appreciated unless you’re living it. In fact, I know that I really don’t have a full appreciation for it, since I’m just a bystander to this process. There are good days and not-so-good days. But the key is that the momentum is forward.

Hmm, what else? I just finished reading Big Little Lies, which if it wasn’t for the Twitterverse, I would never have read. But ask and you shall receive. I asked for book recommendations and when two people came back with this one, I went for it. It’s good. I enjoyed it. Just perfect for what I needed. Now I’m reading a Margaret Drabble novel – I can’t even remember the name. I think it’s her latest. I think she has a lot of novels. This is my first Drabble.

Really, that’s all that is or isn’t happening. Life is bumping along with a few normal life hiccups but nothing super startling or shocking. Just the way it should be. Not that I don’t want the rainbows, unicorn, and glitter but it all has it’s time and place and right now, I’m happy with a good slice of cake, a mocha with extra whip, Calvin craziness, and quality time with my favourite guy. Really, this is pretty much rainbows, unicorns, and glitter. So yeah, good.

So Far So…

 

So, what is there to tell you? Life is not all unicorns and rainbows. Sometimes it is just downright frustrating.

Yes, we’re very fortunate. Our car accident a few weeks ago could have been much worse.

Marc has a concussion.

Concussions are tricky and maddening. The brain is complicated. Recovering from an injured brain is hard and slow.

Go lie down right now in a dark room, close your eyes and don’t think about anything. Do this all day. For multiple days in a row. No you can’t have your iPhone, iPad, computer, book, Kindle, Apple watch, listen to audio books, play chess or watch Netflix. Just lie there.

Yeah, not easy.

Now try to do this when you’ve only been home for five days after being away in Belgium racing and training for six weeks. Do this three days after your cat nearly dies.

To say these past few weeks have been hard is an understatement. I know that I should be super positive and relieved that we’re okay. Of course I am. But geez, sometimes it does feel like a lot.

It’s a lot when we don’t know when things will be back to normal. There is no date that we can aim for. We just have to hope and wait.

My heart breaks when I see Marc going through this. I’d do anything to switch places with him. But I can’t. All I can do is be patient (admittedly, this is not easy for me). I’ve had some very angry days, but I know this anger is useless and not helpful. So now, all I can do is push the stress and worry to the back. What else is there really?

Time cannot be turned back or sped up. It is what it is.

 

 

 

So Fortunate

I’m sitting in my favourite chair in my very comfortable house. Calvin the cat is chilling out in a sun puddle. I’m healthy. Marc is healthy.

And I’m finally appreciating how fortunate we are.

This morning and last night I was all levels of angry.

I neglected to realize the good that has happened since January 1, 2017:

  • Calvin was saved by an amazing team of veterinarians. He is going to be just fine. In fact right now, he’s chilled out purring in a sun puddle.
  • Marc and I are not injured. We are okay. We could have been terribly injured last night when our car was hit-from-behind.

Yes, it sucks that we had to go through the stress over the weekend with Calvin and not knowing if he’d be okay.

Yes, it is terribly rotten that our car is likely a write-off and that we won’t get much money for it from the insurance.

But Calvin is healthy. Marc is healthy. I’m healthy.

We have a nice house. We have jobs. We can buy a new car. We have a strong network of friends and supportive family. We are not alone.

This wasn’t bad luck. It was good luck. Good luck saved Calvin and protected us from serious injury.

Thanks 2017, this is going to be a good year. I can feel it.