It is so easy to lose yourself when you are sick. In the beginning, you are two beings, you and your illness. Together but separate. Independent. Slowly, you bleed together. And then one day you are contained in this diseased vessel and everything is harder and you can’t get out. Every choice you make, every tiny decision, matters. Everything has consequences.
I have been mulling my GI surgery for several weeks. This is such a nuanced situation. Each solution has its own consequences. None of the options are benign. I always made my health decisions right away. Whatever my gut feeling is, that is my decision. Then I spend a few weeks justifying it to myself and making myself feel better about it. It’s sort of a weird quirk of mine.
That didn’t happen this time. I think about it all day, every day. It makes everything else seem more difficult, this looming decision and impending consequences of my choice.
I am terrified that I will choose wrong and the consequences will harm me. I’m also terrified that what I didn’t choose could have helped a lot. It is hard to know, especially for someone like me, with multiple unusual conditions, and big dreams. I count my big dreams as one of my conditions, something that must be accounted for. I have to be able to live with my choice.
After much research and discussion with my relevant specialists, I have decided on a surgical option. I am having some tests repeated in a couple of weeks, but they are merely to confirm what I already know. Almost exactly two years after I had my colostomy placed, I will be having the entirety of my colon removed save for a little bit of salvageable rectum. My small intestine will be connected directly to the rectal tissue and my ostomy will be reversed. If this fails, I will have a permanent ileostomy and accompanying nutrition problems for life, made worse by the fact that I can’t eat many of the foods used to mitigate this issue.
In the fullness of time, all your choices either fade into the ether or are absorbed into your being. If I choose wrong, it will become a part of me or become insignificant. Nothing is absolute. These choices become part of the constellation of our lives and you can follow the stars all the way through the story.
I wish everything wasn’t so hard right now. I feel like I am in the middle of a raging storm, the kind you get in New England summers, when the humidity is too much and the sky unleashes it. I’m standing in the downpour, lightning whipping and thunder crashing around me. It is awesome and terrifying. It feels like change.
And I’m scared. But I’m still here.