Warning: I’m about to barf emotional baggage.
One month until surgery and I’m wasting it feeling sorry for myself. I started back at work yesterday, with a bit of crying on the drive there. I’ve been able to bottle things up a bit and make it through the day. I wonder if I should be there, if I should be spending my last bag-free days working, but I don’t know what I’d do with myself at home. I know I wouldn’t accomplish as much as I do at work. When I’m at home I cry. I search blogs for anyone who has a colostomy bag and isn’t depressed and suffering. I did find one girl that was happier after the bag, but that was because it was the end to a lot of pain from crohn’s disease. The rest of what I find is depression, discomfort, and a pain, even from those who seem otherwise positive about life.
What I’m up against is big. It’s not my self-esteem that suffers. I don’t care in the least how the bag will look. I care very little about how it might affect my wardrobe. What others think of me doesn’t cross my mind. If it does, it’s thoughts of how loving and caring everyone has been. I’m even happy to sport a wicked huge scar on my belly. What bothers me is that I pride myself on my loyalty and dependability, and the fact that the bag will make me late to work, or call in sick upsets me. To miss a portrait shoot because I’m cleaning poop off myself and the floor and my clothes is a depressing thought. Not so much the poop part, but the part where I prove to be unreliable.
Next up, I sleep on my stomach. The bag has been reported to affect a lot of people’s ability to get a good night’s sleep, even if just from the anxiety of possibly rolling onto it and having an accident. I’ve seen reports of people permanently sleeping in recliners and on sofa’s so that they can feel safe when they sleep. I’m a heavy sleeper that moves around a lot. I worry for what this will do to my sleep. How many days will I be miserable from lack of a good, comfortable rest?
Worst of all, I have sensitive skin. I cut tags off my clothes because they drive me insane. Just one tiny irritation on my skin, a twisted sock seem, or a loose thread tickling my skin is torture. I don’t wear makeup because even the hypoallergenic stuff bothers me. Dead skin is always immediately removed. Bumps are obsessively scratched off, even if it means I bleed. I struggle with soaps and lotions making me itchy. I’ve never had a day I wasn’t itchy. Colostomy bags are held on by glue, that will most definitely bother my skin. Changing the bags involves peeling up the glue and maybe some skin with it.
I think about always living with this irritation to my skin and I hang my head and cry. Mark asked me yesterday if I’ve ever felt this bad before. The answer is, I’ve been sadder, I’ve had worse emotional stress, but I’ve never felt so hopeless. I’ll adjust. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to adjust. I gave up running and hiking and my love of dance when my knees died. I found a new life and happiness within my limitations, and that’s saying a lot knowing how in love I was with dance. The way I express myself through digital art now, does not even compare to how I felt when I danced. In fact, it’s part of the haunting and darkness that shows up in my art, because art will never satisfy me the way dance did. I’ll adjust again. I say I will, but I only say that based on the fact that I’ve done it before, and not because I feel hope. It’s like I’m trying to comfort myself with math. It feels cold.
The root of all the sadness, is the fact that my cancer might be gone. I might be stuck with a bag I never needed. I want my sense of humor back.