Just when you think things aren’t going anywhere, life pulls you back in.
If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll probably know that I haven’t work since before my first surgery in May last year. In fact, loosing my job was a big factor is why I finally chose to have surgery when I did. There was a plan to retrain after I had recovered from my Right Hemiocolectomy but my body had other plans. Here we are, seven months since my ileostomy surgery and I finally have the strength – both mental and physical – and courage to try to get myself employed again.
This isn’t without its challenges; most revolving around my own self confidence and self-doubt. However, I now have a stronger belief in what I want to achieve with my life, what I feel comfortable doing, and what I feel acceptable to ask for. Basically, I have more focus and drive to go out there and seek opportunities.
On that vein, I can now let you know that I have been working in the background to get some things off the ground. The first being involved with the ROManTIC Trial PPI and being asked to a Patient Representative for this upcoming project. I am thrilled and it is something I am doing in my own time but has the backing of the trial authors and contributors. It is wonderful to have my experiences and journey as a patient with a chronic illness validated in this way.
In addition to that, I am doing some public speaking about my chronic illness and how life is with living with an ostomy for local Coloplast Care events. The first is taking place in a couple of weeks, so I am frantically finding the words in which to speak to other ostomy patients and encourage them. It is unbelievably humbling to be asked to speak about my life; I honesty didn’t think anyone would think it was anything special but I have been proving to my medical team, especially my stoma nurse, just how positively I’ve taken to ostomy life. This is why I have been approached and despite my initial shock, I am really excited to get up there and speak from the heart (when I am not bricking it over my nerves!)
I’ve also been asked to more public speaking for IBD too, which is also nice to get involved with. It seems now that I am well enough, my medical team are keen for me to contribute more; my opinion and effort within the community has some resonance. I am hopefully taking all this in my stride; trying to not let it get to my head and still remain grounded and humbled to even be considered. And in no way am I using this platform, my blog and this post right now to show off but I want anyone who reads this that being ill is just a small part of who you are.
Don’t get me wrong, being ill sucks. I’ve had five years of dealing with my illness in a daily struggle of wits and strength. Some days my illness got the better of me and beat me hands down, other day I fought and fought and fought. These days, my fights aren’t so long or strenuous, nor are they overwhelming. Nowadays, I can count my bad days on my hands, instead of my good days. It has been a tremendous change and I have welcomed it with open arms. I hope I show that and if you ever meet me or talk to me in real life; apart from a Birmingham accent, I hope you hear how positive I am about life now. I do understand that life isn’t always good or happy and I willingly accept that, but I do see my ostomy and the process I went through to get it, and my journey with Crohn’s Disease as part of me. It always has been and always will be part of me. It is a significant label I have.
But, my ostomy does not hold me back. If anything, it pushes me forward.
And it has been along time coming that I am happy and able to give 100% to my life. I was living in a state of giving a maximum of 60-70% when I really pushed myself. Even last year, when I felt relatively well at the start of 2016.
I am hopeful that this good feeling I have nowadays, is here to stay.
PS. I will keep you posted on all the adventures I’m having! 🙂