The plastic surgeon went over the procedure with me today, after an hour and a half in the waiting room, where other patients were happy to wait just as long for what they called “the best plastic surgeon in Oregon.” I’ll be in the hospital for a week to 10 days after the surgery, and after that, TWO MONTHS of bed rest, where I will not be allowed, under any circumstances, to sit. I can lay down, I can stand up, but I can’t sit. It will be… different. I think I spend about 80% of my waking hours sitting. My first thought was that I could be on my stomach with a laptop, but then I remembered the bag that will be on my stomach. I hear others often complaining about electronics taking up too much of their time, but I don’t feel that way. If I could become an electronic device, I would do it. It’s not like I get to unplug and spend time in nature. I just have to stop using photoshop, the program I use to create the art that gives my life meaning, and lay down. Boo.
It will take about 6 months to recover before I can return to work and regular life. It might be shorter if I was just getting a colostomy bag, but I’m doing two surgeries at once, the bag and the new patch of skin on my butt that’s being moved from my stomach. I thought it was just a sixth of my stomach that would be removed/relocated, but the plastic surgeon is removing nearly half of the muscle. I’ll have a giant moon-shaped scar, my belly button will move off center, and my buttcrack will be replaced by a patch of skin from my stomach. This I like. I think it’s pretty obvious I like creepy things, and a big ugly scar and deformed butt and stomach is pretty cool. I’ll be the cutest monster I know. The worst part of the scars is how hard/inappropriate it will be to show them off.
After returning to “normal” I can only sit on soft things, because my butt won’t have feeling in it, and it will be too easy to damage the area if I sit on a hard surface for too long. I’ll also be limited in what I can lift/carry because I’ll be at a greater risk for hernias. I’m okay with this. When I danced I used to leg press 450 lbs, but couldn’t ever lift more than 15lbs with each arm. I’ve always had really weak upper body strength, and now I have a great excuse to get out of moving heavy things without the guilt I heap on myself.
Emotionally I’m coming to terms with my future (Stage: Acceptance!) I’m glad I was able to go through that process of letting go before-hand. If I had not worried, if I had not let the depression take me over, then I would have had to deal with it all while trying to recover. It’s good (for me) to deal with these things up front so that when the day comes, I can be emotionally ready and strong. It means I’ll be ready to start changing my own colostomy bag rather than crying over the fact that I have one. I’ve done my crying, I’ve done my mourning, I’ve been depressed. Now it’s out of my system, and I’m ready to live.