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TRY EVERYTHING: I finally got up the nerve to wear my bag out!

This is my body and I'm proud of it.

TRY EVERYTHING is an ongoing series about ostomates who wanna, well, try everything!

Cate Luth with ostomy on the beach

A few weeks back my husband Rob and I took a little getaway to Florida to clear our heads. While we were there I started reading Sheryl Sandberg's book Option B where she writes about building resilience and finding joy after hardships. Many of these lessons apply to my own struggles having Crohn's disease and living with an ileostomy, and it has inspired me to do something for the very first time...

It took some encouragement, but I finally got up the nerve to wear my bag out! I've lived with an ostomy since 2005, but NEVER had the courage to just let it all out there. For me, it was easier to hide the bag behind clothes to avoid exposing what was going on underneath and being vulnerable. As I look at my pictures side by side, I see two different people.

On the left, Option A: someone who looks healthy from the outside, who has life figured out, who is confident, who is a normal woman in her late thirties. The picture on the right, Option B: an option I didn't plan for when I graduated high school, a life that I never saw coming, a part of God's special plan just for me. What came with Option B? Fear, low self-confidence, being judged a lot, being labeled, not being the norm, and feeling like an outcast at times. What did I gain with Option B? Courage like no other, strength I never knew I had, a will to live, and a new perspective on what really matters in life. So, since Option A didn't work out for me, I am truly blessed and humbled with Option B — even on my worst days. 

I believe there is a reason why I am here and living this special journey. This is my body and I'm proud to have an ostomy, aka my Poui-Vuitton bag! It has taken many years to get to this point, accepting it, but it happened. Because when you understand who you are meant to be, your purpose becomes bigger than your fears. Might as well make the most of it.

"Option A is not available, so let's kick the shit out of Option B!" – Sheryl Sandberg