I have a wound on my abdomen, a literal open wound where my stoma was. Every night I undress it, removing long thin strips of gauze before replacing them with clean packing, manipulating the tendrils with sterilized scissors. It is graphic, visceral. But I prefer to do it myself. I prefer this active stewardship of my body.
It is healing, closing up along the seams that have formed on my skin, one on each side. I am participating in the act of healing my body. Soon the line will be continuous, all the tissue underneath knitted together. Just a line that keeps a secret, like lips sewn shut. No one will ever look at this scar and know I had an ostomy until I tell them.
My GI tract is trying to figure out how to work with this new continuity. It hurts. It feels like everything holding my abdomen together on the left side is trying to give out. I am starting the very slow and arduous process of regaining strength and routine. It feels like a lot on some days. Today it feels like a lot.
But two years ago this was unfathomable. Even six months ago, I thought I knew pretty well the path my life would take it, and it was a short road, a straight line to pain and anaphylaxis and liquids and soft solids forever. I still see that road, but it is longer and it winds its way more into the light.
I don’t believe anymore that there is any fear that is so wide and so deep that you cannot meet it. I just don’t believe it.