Saying goodbye to the past 7 months – Welcoming the next stage

I would say this is a vulnerable post, but not as much now as it would have been a year ago. 7 months ago I was having a drain placed for an abscess (right lower pic). The abscess formed because the area near it was damaged from years of misguided nutrition, immunosuppressant medication and an unempowering autoimmune diagnosis. I knew thereĀ  was damaged tissue in my intestines for many years, but I was hoping the other intestines would be able to pick up the slack… they tried, but they weren’t able to compensate.

I was termed a ‘ticking time bomb’ by my surgeon, but refused to have surgery until I knew all my options were exhausted. I bought a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for my clinic and spent Nov-Dec 2017 in that baby… 40 hours in 30 days, not missing a day of treatment. I was also down to 96lbs and not getting nutrients, so I gave myself IV therapies often.

I knew January 2018 after the continued drainage with all self care measures attempted, that it was time for surgery. Time to cut out the old. Cutting to signify releasing of past damage to allow for new beginnings. I would not have been able to accept the idea of surgery if I would have done it on anyone else’s timeline. Yes, I’m strong and stubborn like that. I refused to look at surgery as an option until all other treatments had failed.

On February 2nd 2018, I had my surgery. This was 4 long months after having the initial drained placed. I opted to do open abdominal surgery vs laparoscopic procedure because I didn’t want to be under anesthesia longer than needed, and there was great risk for going in laparoscopic and then having to be opened anyway. Luckily, my trim belly allowed for smaller incisions to begin with.

I did a lot of mindful activities prior to going into surgery. I journaled to the body parts that were going to be removed. It sounds silly but I was grateful for how amazing they held together and for the gift they had always given to me. Each cell in our body is energy, these tissues removed from me where energy that I still have residing my body today.

I also immersed myself into guided meditations 3 weeks prior to surgery, visualizing how the day of the surgery would go, how the actual surgery would end up and how fast recovery time would be…. the best thing is that everything happened almost exactly how the guided meditation played out. The surgeon told Alex how impressed she was when she opened up what she thought would be a ‘time bomb’ but instead was a very healthy intestine, little inflammation and only a small part of damage (6cm removed). She sewed up the large and small intestine and right above that area, she pulled out healthy intestine and that’s when Char was born.

Char was my beloved stoma… she was initially named Charles until I decided I definitely needed something with feminine qualities sticking out of me (descriptive terms like soft, slow, easy, nice, loving, kind) ;). Not going to lie…. In the hospital and the first week at home I wasn’t looking forward to the next few months of healing. Emptying my ostomy bag and getting personal with my poop was something that I didn’t want to do. I’m not a poop person. As I was showering a week after I got home, I took my bag off and let my new stoma get wet and I looked at her and realized that we were on the same team. She was literally my intestine that works so hard for me every day. Who else gets to see the inside of their organs working?! Not many people. From that moment, I decided to give her a name and become friendly with her. Realizing the ‘nuances’ of having a stoma were blessings and I was thankful to be where I was. I viewed my journey as a science experiment. I would email my surgeon every once and a while and tell her some interesting finds I had. She would either tell me everything looked good or she’d say, “wow, that’s really cool”. I don’t think many surgeons get to see their masterpieces in ways like I was able to show her.

It was hard for my relationship for that first week or two as well. I’m a science geek so I love watching the peristalsis of my intestine literally on the outside of my body… It was COOL. Our bodies are amazing. But, my partner Alex, would rather not be involved in discussions on body parts, functions or fluids. I am appreciative that he was so supportive and comforting, but there was my Ego that appeared every now and then in that 3 month period where I didn’t feel sexy or strong. At the end of the day, it made us grow stronger as a couple.

Throughout the few months of having an ileostomy, I gained a well deserved and welcomed 15lbs. Back to my maintenance weight! It was amazing to eat and feel powerful and nourished.

What I learned (and continue to learn) through that experience, is an amazing sense of realness with my patients. We are one. We heal together, laugh together, cry together. I am not superior to them. We are beautiful souls living a human experience. Each of us has our own past karmic lives and our journey is based on our dharma (purpose in life). If I can give someone else the tools so they can heal themselves, they can pass on those tools to heal others. This is why when we are feeling stuck, we can overcome our ways by helping others out.

It has been a blessed 2018. Excited for the next chapter of this journey to unfold.

Namaste my friends <3

Stephanie