Having surgery is not the end, it’s a new beginning – Crohns Blog – Having Surgery

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It’s now over 4 years since I had life-changing surgery for Crohn’s Disease. Looking back at that time I tend to see it all now with somewhat rose-tinted specs. I mainly remember the funny stories and daft things I said under anaesthesia, because these are generally the tales I tell people about. They always seem to go down better than the gory details. Can’t for the life of me think why…

Around the start of 2011 as a new year had begun, for me it seemed like the end rather than a new beginning. I was utterly hopeless, I’d been in so much pain for so long and the idea that I would have to go through horrific surgery (yes I dramatize EVERYTHING) with the possibility of months of recovery ahead of me, a potential colostomy bag and a life-long scar was almost too much to bear.

By the time the date of my operation rolled round my condition had escalated and I had become seriously ill. I had, within the 6months prior, rapidly gone downhill. I was not eating (it wasn’t physically possible) I was in gut-wrenching agony every day (no form of pain relief could touch it), I couldn’t sleep or walk further than a few steps without almost passing out, and most vitally; I’d mentally given up.

The pain of my disease was consistent and unbearable. It frequently reduced me to tears. It was becoming almost impossible to hide the fact that I felt that something was slowly but determinedly ripping my insides out from the inside. I gradually came round to the idea that not only was this operation essential; it may actually serve to make me feel better. This seemed such an unlikely resolution that I chose not to focus on it and instead worried intensely how I would cope with a potential colostomy bag and how brutally unattractive I’d be with a massive scar down my front. (I didn’t at any point say I was thinking logically.)

I really needn’t have worried; on either front. I didn’t end up with a colostomy and my scar hasn’t put my partner off the idea of jumping my bones on a regular basis no more than perhaps having my head and limbs removed might. (That probably wouldn’t either mind you). I’ve come to accept my scarring as a part of my body now, much like my long and decidedly repulsive E.T style toe. Although the toe-acceptance took much longer than 4years.

I often mentally relay this story to remind myself that giving up never solved anything. I have felt low due to my illness since, and I’m sure I will again, but accepting those feelings is where I will always fall down. And stay down. Myself, and anyone else in my similarly diseased boat must remember never to give up hope. It may feel that you are fighting a losing battle with your body but try not to think of it as a fight – that way you are constantly setting yourself up for a fall. Having surgery is not the end; it should be a new beginning. I wish I’d looked upon it that way before I went under the knife, so I would encourage anyone facing a similar situation to try their best to see it as a new start. Crohn’s is an incurable disease – it will always have the upper hand, but you have a functioning mind and if you choose to use it positively it will always win out.

Thanks to Kathleen Nicholls for this Crohns blog post. Kathleen is on Twitter (@kathfantastic), has her own blog on Facebook as well as at http://crohnologicalorder.blogspot.co.uk/ and has her very own website http://kathfantastic.weebly.com where you can find more about her, further inspiring blog posts and other great content.

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