I'm back in Spain for a cheeky little sunshine break to our house, I'm very lucky as I get the opportunity to hop over here quite a bit. It's only a 2hr 20 minute flight away.
This place is so peaceful and quiet it often leads to contemplation, I was flicking through my photos whiling away some time when I came across this photo of me on my 21st birthday. It struck me that although time has gone by, 22 years in fact and many things have changed I still feel like the same me for the most part. Although older, wiser and bolder maybe.
What's changed? Well everything and nothing all at the same time. The me on the Left at 21 is full of hopes and dreams for the future and didn't have a clue how life was going to turn out. The woman I grew up to be, on the right is pretty happy with how life is going thanks very much. Yes there's been some blips along the way, there's been some almighty horrific take your breath away bumps in the road but nothing that's changed me for the worse.
Maybe because the most important things in my life haven't changed. I'm still with the love of my life that I was with back then. He went on to give me the two most precious, wonderful son's any mother could wish for.
So my new bag life doesn't bring me disquiet. It's not something that I consider consciously on a daily basis. I guess I have to consider if my outfit is going to cause leakage or if my stoma is going to make a noise at an inopportune time (it does - annoyingly quite often) but they're passing thoughts.
I don't look at that photo and yearn to be 'whole' again because I don't look at myself as incomplete now. If anything I'm more complete, I have bionic extras, who didn't want to be Jaime Sommers growing up :) .Ok so it's a bit of a stretch to consider myself the Bionic Woman just because I poop in a bag but you get my jist. My self esteem, self confidence and self belief are far greater now. That's probably a lot to do with aging, but also the saying 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' plays its part. I truly believe that.
I'm not going to sit here and lie and say I wasn't in the depths of despair and trauma with my diagnosis, of course I was. I felt that same trauma when my son was diagnosed with advanced stage cancer (NCP) at 13, only six months before my diagnosis.
But we got lucky, we healed and we mended. Part of my healing was having to live with my colostomy forever. To be part of me for life. And you know what - that's ok by me. If I see it at all I see it as a daily reminder of how strong I am, both physically and emotionally. And that can only be a positive. Is my life perfect ? Nope, but it's pretty darn close because I choose to see it that way.
That said I really can totally understand the distress people can suffer because of their stoma's. I do, I really comprehend how it's not always easy. I can especially understand that those waiting for their temporary stoma's to be reversed can find their wait to get back to 'normal' excruciatingly painful and distressing. But for me there is no going back and I've made my peace with that.
When there's things in life I struggle with I write a gratitude List. They can be very cathartic and freeing (very Oprah but it works). I am extremely grateful for this life and positive thoughts bring positive feelings.
A few of the many pro's on my list;
I got to live.
I've met wonderful people through writing Glad rags and bags.
I can go for days out at the seaside and not have to use the grim beach side loos ;)
During tummy bugs I get to stay in bed and not move.
I got to live.
The list can be endless. Terrible things can happen to us, it's how we choose to deal with it that matters. Make peace and smile. :)