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Some final thoughts on the morning of permanent, life-changing surgery

I am scared and anxious.

I was going through my journal and came across these scrambled thoughts I wrote down on the morning of September 24, 2013. This is what was going through my head literally hours before having permanent ileostomy surgery...

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In a few hours, I’ll be heading back to the hospital. My home away from home. Soon I’ll be large intestine, rectum, anus, and inflammation-free... hopefully well on my way to being a much healthier and happier Laura again. So will begin a new chapter.

It’s all happened so quickly, yet it’s also been a long time coming. It was only a week ago, sitting in the surgeon’s office, that I made the decision (on mum’s birthday of all days — Happy Birthday mum!). I think mum and Michael were quite surprised when I suddenly said to book me in for next week’s surgery list, but really it wasn’t that sudden. It’s something I’ve been thinking and contemplating for a while now, and once I’d made up my mind, there was no point delaying it any longer.

Don’t get me wrong, it was not an easy decision, and even since making it there have still been times where I’ve questioned if I’m doing the right thing. Is there anything else I can try before taking this final, drastic move? There’s no turning back after this. It’s the last straw. It’s final. Have I fought long and hard enough?

The answer is yes. My mind and body are both telling me that it’s time. I know what I’m in for. I’ve had the bonus of seeing what it’s like living with a temporary loop ileostomy for the last four months, so I know what life with a bag is like, and I can handle that. It’s got to be better than the alternative. Of course, the recovery will take some time, but based on everything that my doctors have said, and from speaking to other people who have had the same surgery, things can only get better from here, and my quality of life will improve. I don’t have to worry about the horrible long-term side effects of steroids and other medication, or other potential complications or worse, and we can start living life to the fullest again!

I am scared and anxious. Hell, when I wake up from surgery tonight, I won’t have some pretty major body parts anymore. I am so scared of the surgery, and even of the outcome, but I have to remain positive in knowing it is the right thing. I’ve been tough and fought and gotten through a lot of (literal) crap the last few years. I can do this!!! This will be the best thing for me, and after today I can close the chapter on the last few years of pain and anxiety, and start looking forward. Onward and upward.

I also want to note down how overwhelmed I’ve felt from all the love, care, and support from my friends and family. I am truly blessed to have such amazing people in my life and I don’t think I could do this without them. My dad’s heartfelt email from across the seas in France. Not a writer or a man of many words, who touched me deeply with his care and emotions. Helen at work who sprinkled holy water on me yesterday before leaving. All the texts and messages from friends wishing me well and sending me positive vibes. The phone call from my sister who said she didn’t really know what to say. She doesn’t have to say anything. Just being there are knowing how much she cares means the world to me. Mikey and mum who I know will both be right there next to me when they wheel me off in a few hours, and right there waiting for me when I get back from recovery. It’s probably even harder for them than me. People who tell me I strong tears at my heart. I don’t want to be strong anymore, I just want to be better.

I felt it was important to write something down this morning. To try and describe how I am feeling. My mind is a bit of a blur as I haven’t had a lot of sleep the last few days, so I’m unsure how articulate any of this is coming out, but I need to acknowledge that THIS IS A BIG DEAL. I have every right to be having these emotional feelings, and I want to remember these thoughts as best I can. I know how quickly thoughts and feelings can change from day to day within the uncertainties of life, but the bottom line is that I have put up with feeling sick all the time, and the roller coaster of ups and downs for long enough now.

Here's to a new beginning. I am in good hands, and I can’t wait to feel well and semi-normal (as normal as I can be!) again. Please, let this be the right thing. Please let me have my life back. Positive energy, positive thoughts, positive vibes. See you on the other side!

Even (or should I say, especially) on the morning of surgery I still sound so hesitant and unsure, but I would not have gone ahead with the surgery if I didn’t feel it was the right thing to do. Three years on, it was definitely the best decision I could've made. So much has happened since that day, and I don’t regret my decision for a minute, not one little bit.

Article credit: Stoma-licious