This post originally appeared on Cancer Owl.
About 12 years ago, when my wife and I were still college-aged and planning to marry, we had a running joke that neither of us ever pooped. It was a joke, but it was also a clever way to keep the rosy courtship going full steam. And of course, a year into marriage and several stinky bathrooms later, my wife ditched our clever joke and embraced the idea that she poops, poops often, and does it well.
I, on the other hand, kept this joke running way, way too long. Not that anyone believed me, especially when I started growing a tumor in my butt and I couldn’t seem to stop making duck sounds.
So, after I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in November 2014 and had all kinds of doctors and robots in my butt, and talking non-stop about my butt, and bowel movements, I had to face the dirty truth about myself: I’m human like everyone else.
Having an ostomy will force you to tell the truth, and the truth will set you free. And the truth did indeed come after my resection surgery when I was given a temporary ileostomy. Now there was no way I could joke about not pooping, especially when my wife was scrubbing the kitchen floor when the bag exploded open.
But the funniest thing happened though; my wife kept telling me how sexy I was. She said the bag made me sexier because it meant I’ve survived cancer and have something to show for it. She wrapped her arms around me and my bag, while my stoma belched loudly. She kissed me like it was our wedding night. The truth can be sexy sometimes. I could get used to this.
There’s something attractive about honesty, and having an ostomy bag will definitely keep you honest. And this honesty led me to create Cancer Owl, a webcomic where I share my life with cancer and draw myself as an owl. And so far, I’ve had so many people telling me how my comics have touched their lives.