Two years!

November 8th marked the two-year anniversary of my ileostomy surgery. It had been a hectic week, and I was in the mood for some quiet reflection time. I climbed a mesa near town, took in the scenery, and sketched and wrote in my journal.

As great as it was to quietly contemplate my two-year stoma anniversary on top of the mesa, something more festive was definitely in order. Once I got back home, I threw a little party with Doug, complete with  homemade culinary delights: chicken pesto pizza and a cake decorated like a colon.

Looking back, I am still in awe that it has already been two years. In those initial months after surgery, time crawled by slowly and every bit of my attention was focused on healing and getting used to the changes to my body. I thought of nothing but my ostomy and appliance. Now all those hard times seem to have gone by in a flash. My stoma has become part of me, and large portions of the day go by when I don’t think about it at all. When I do think about it, it is often with a feeling of gratitude. It may sound crazy to say I love my ostomy — but I really do. This day marked a special anniversary, but everyday is a celebration of the health my stoma has given back to me.

Celebrating my two-year surgery anniversary. It is hard to not look at the cake and map out all the areas where I had colon inflammation over the years. I chose the cecum for my first piece of cake. 🙂

10 thoughts on “Two years!

  1. Congratulations!

    Your strength towers over the tall buildings of Denver and the peaks of the Rockies. Your courage with the support of Douglas is taking you to even greater summits.

    1. Stephanie,

      Congratulations on your recent anniversary as well! I think making it past those first six months is the biggest milestone of all. Things got so much easier for me at around six months. For some reason, that is how long it took my small intestine to finally adapt to all the changes. All of a sudden, I didn’t have as many dehydration issues, I stopped having to get up in the middle of the night to empty most of the time, I could tolerate more foods and my ostomy became really predictable. Prior to that time, things were definitely harder. Before you know it, it will be your two year anniversary and you will be a total pro at managing your ostomy.

      I have been following your blog too and am so happy that you are feeling well and enjoying life to the fullest again. Best wishes for the upcoming half-marathon!


  2. Thank you so much for this post! I just got a colostomy a week ago and I’m very much looking forward to getting to a point when it’s not the main thing I think about. The fact that I’m a very impatient person doesn’t help!

    1. Rachel,

      Hang in there! It gets so much easier. Those initial weeks are so incredibly overwhelming. I thought about my ostomy just about every minute of every day during the first couple of months. But that is okay! There is a lot to figure out.

      I learned that it was really important to just take things day by day and to only focus on the issues that presented themselves at any given moment rather than focusing on all the what-ifs of the future. I could barely get an appliance on in my bedroom and my mind already wanted to jump ahead and worry about how I was going to change appliances on a backpacking trip in a remote wilderness. I ended up causing myself a lot of anxiety, and I had to change my mind frame to realize the importance of taking smaller steps.

      It is hard to fathom how you are going to get back to the things that you love when you are at the beginning of this whole journey. Just have faith that you will get there!

      Best wishes as you heal up!

      Take Care,

  3. Heidi congratulations. You are such a role model. Your spirit and positive attitude is so helpful
    to everyone. It absolutely rubs off on others. I am so lucky to have gotten to know you over the past year or so. You are my inspiration. May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Cant wait to see you on Tuesday at the ostomy support group. Hope to talk to you soon. luv eileen

    1. Thanks Eileen! So glad to have met you too. You have been through so much, yet no matter what, you always have that great smile on your face. That is inspirational my friend! Your stories always make me laugh too. Green beans are the devil ha ha. See you on Tuesday!

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