They “prep” you for surgery; you hear that a lot in the weeks and days leading up to an operation. Medically, you should be fit enough to withstand the trauma your body is going to under take. You should be aware of the potential dangers, prepare yourself for things to be different than what you’re expecting, what you’re thinking could happen; even if you’ve had surgery or this surgery before.
What about mental preparation? Do the doctors ever prepare you for surgery? Apart from what I’ve mentioned above, how does anyone prepare for surgery? I was a novice to it all in May, there was a morbid curiously of what was going on around me, and in that period, I didn’t really feel my pain. I didn’t reflect on what was going on, what had happened, what was going to happen. It was all so foriegn to me. I had new feelings; my skin was cut and it needed to heal, it hurt a great deal. I remember feeling that bubble of a familiar emotion; something I hadn’t felt since I had been in counselling. An overwhelming fear of needing to greieve. That a part of my life was over and in order to accept my new life, I should cry. I should feel sad and angry, then move on.
My ileostomy surgery happened in a whirlwind of emotions; most of which involved making sure everyone else around me was happy with this new thing happening to me. Not if I was okay. I assured everyone I was, I had to be didn’t I? I wouldn’t make it – make it through – without an ileostomy. I wasn’t scared my life would be over – I knew so many ostomates prior to being one myself, I was happy I was becoming part of their special, private club – but I didn’t know what it would now mean. I didn’t know what my life would mean.
Are you ever mentally prepared for surgery?
Are ever mentally prepared for the outcome of surgery? The aftershocks?
It keeps hitting me like a wave lately, chipping away at my strong façade. Was I prepared for this?
Have I had time to greive my old life before accepting my new one? Was what I had a life, even? This period in my life is infinitely better in every which way I look at it – I just happen to poo out of my abdomen into a bag, no big deal everyone, its nothing new, it’s been done for decades! No seriously, it has! – why would I need to grieve?
But I know I do. It might not happen today or tomorrow, next week or even this year, but I do. Accepting this – all of this: the good, the bad, the ugly, the late nights, the paranoia, the laughs, the shit, the bags, the stoma, the skin, the rashes, the products, EVERY-FREAKING-THING my life now is – is going to take time. It can not be rushed. But I would love for it to just tap me on the shoulder and tell me when it will begin. And tell me that it’ll begin slowly at first. That it won’t keep coming and going like the sea in a storm; pelting me with memories and emotions I thought I’d buried long ago. I hope it will be kind.