chronic illness, ileostomy, inflammatory bowel disease, Uncategorized

Grief, Gratitude and Grace: Chronic Illness

Less than 24 hours before I’m in the operating room.

After 7 years of ups and downs with Ulcerative Colitis my story is finally coming to an end. 

I had hoped after the last surgery that my ileostomy would be reversed and I would be able to be “normal” again, but unfortunately my body had other plans.

My ileostomy is here to stay.

I was deflated when I found out.  Mostly because my expectations and my reality were clashing…

I flew rapidly through the stages of grief.

Denial: There’s no way my surgeon is right.  He should take another look.  The whole point of leaving my rectum last time was so this would not be permanent.

Bargaining: There are SO MANY medical advancements – there has got to be something else that can be done.  Maybe he is wrong.  Will he just TRY anyway?  (That was a solid, “no” by the way)

Anger & Depression: Why is my body such a piece of shit?!  Why the hell can’t I just be normal?  Nothing ever goes as planned.  I can’t believe this is happening to me.

And slowly, I’m coming to Acceptance.  “It is what it is.” 

The truth is that my ileostomy has given me more than it’s ever taken away. 

Prior to my ileostomy I was so sick.  I was on a multitude of medications – from pills to monthly infusions.  I couldn’t even take a walk around my neighborhood most days without succumbing to excruciating pain and embarrassing accidents.  Most of my communication with my family was had between the door of the bathroom – them on outside and me on the inside.  It was miserable.


When the toxic colon was removed from my body I healed tremendously fast.  I always joked that my body was just “ready” after so many years of torture.  An anticipated 5 day hospital stay turned into 3, and an anticipated 6-8 week recovery turned into 2.

Sure, I’ve had some embarrassing moments…. the moments when the bowel bag wants to leak… you know, on a new date, at a party, shopping, while I’m sleeping, in a meeting at work.

Luckily, I have a morbid sense of humor and an uncanny ability to laugh at myself.  My humor is a survival tactic I developed during my brutal journey.

49a371ecb5d74ecdf2232cef29c921b7But guess what I can do with an ileostomy?

Anything you can do without one. 

And that’s a much better situation than the one I was living in with Ulcerative Colitis.

So I’ll just wear my bag, until death do us part, with Gratitude and Grace. 

If you’re struggling with something, regardless of the circumstances, I challenge you to rethink your situation.  Look at it from a positive perspective.  Seek a way to grow from it, to change, to use it to impact someone else who is struggling.  It doesn’t matter what it is… we all have unique struggles that we overcome… let it be your testimony.

God Bless.


One Flawsome Momma

4 thoughts on “Grief, Gratitude and Grace: Chronic Illness”

  1. Life have it’s own ways. Do never give up. As the story says. When I first read it, I thought it might be a fictional story. But when i saw your photos on Facebook. I was shocked. May you recover soon. Stay strong. Jackie Ferguson.


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