Another view of Heidi’s story

My name is Doug, and I’m the lucky one who is married to Heidi, the champion of the effort called Ostomy Outdoors.

When Heidi started this blog six months ago, I didn’t imagine that I would be writing in it myself. You see, I’m not an ostomate. But I live with an ostomate, and I’ve become intimately familiar with a whole new world of experiences, vocabulary, and feelings related to ostomies, surgeries, and recoveries.

We digitally recorded a happy moment between a painful wound-packing session and a slow recovery walk last winter.

I found out from Heidi that it’s not just people considering ostomy surgery who are reading this blog and watching the videos. Some readers are people like me: intestinally healthy friends, family, and acquaintances of those who have IBD, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and/or ostomies. So, I figured it was time to diversify the writing a bit on Ostomy Outdoors, and try to provide not only a different perspective for this readership, but possibly serve as a sounding board for the “others” who are in the lives of readership.

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Celebrating my first year as an ostomate

Today is the one-year anniversary of my ileostomy surgery. I thought about climbing a mountain to honor the 0ccasion, but decided to celebrate by enjoying a normal day. After all, as much as I love getting outside to challenge myself, it was the simple everyday things in life such as being able to go to work, eating a regular diet, and hanging out with friends and loved ones that I most longed to do when I was sick and then recovering from surgery. So, today I woke up and enjoyed my drive up to the park where I work. On the way, I could see the freshly snow-dusted mountains of the Continental Divide in the distance and was grateful for such a spectacular commute. At my job, I contentedly worked on an kid’s owl night hike that I will be presenting soon. After work, Doug and I had dinner with some friends. We joked that we should have a party with stoma-shaped cookies and a commemorative all-liquid dinner, but we opted for pizza and beers instead. It was a wonderful day, and it was the perfect way to top off my challenging yet life-renewing first year with my ostomy.

Enjoying pizza and beer on the 1-year anniversary of my surgery.

Last year, the day of my surgery was full of much different experiences, but was also a celebration of sorts. I remember waking up in the morning and breathing a huge sigh of relief. As we drove to the hospital at 5:15 a.m., I was scared and nervous, but also felt a profound sense of peace as I rested my head against the window and gazed up at the stars, pondering what my life without the sickness and pain of ulcerative colitis was going to be like. I checked into the hospital and made my way to pre-op, finally feeling secure that nothing was going to get in the way of my surgery.

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