TRY EVERYTHING is an ongoing series about ostomates who want to, well, try everything!
In August 2016 I received a permanent ileostomy as a result of eight years of debilitating ulcerative colitis. The big question looming over my head and heart was playing sports. Would I be able to cycle again? Could I get back to regular serious training? The answer was a resounding YES! I started cyclocross racing again just two months after my surgery. My first racing experience after surgery was huge for me. Sure, I was in the back of the pack but I was doing it. I’m not sure who was more thrilled, me or my competitors. They were so happy to see me at the race. An added bonus about being public about my ileostomy is the support I received from the cycling community.
Once I had accomplished that first race in Ottawa, I truly felt unstoppable. What other goals could I set? How many more races can I get in before the end of the season? I was pumped! For the very first time, I realized how having an ileostomy was truly life-changing. In fact, I nicknamed my stoma “Reset” because it has given me a second chance at life.
Prior to my surgery, I wanted to believe that I could do everything I wanted, but it wasn’t until I started doing these things that I really believed it can be done.