What tips your iceberg?

Sometimes when we are confronted with a life-changing reality, we get stuck on the small things. It’s the same when a bunch of bad things happen and we take them in stride and then we spill water on our white shorts and react like it’s the end of the world. The straw that tipped the camels back. Whatever you want to call it, I believe we are all guilty of this on some level.

For me, in relation to having a total colectomy to result in an ileostomy, it was finding out that they were going to put a catheter in during the surgery. Funny, right? Cut me open? No problem. Remove my colon? PLEASE! Wear a bag full of poop forever? Sure! (The reality of that would hit me later, but at the time, anything was better than the pain and ill health I was experiencing.) “And then we’ll put in a catheter…”. Wait, what?! No thank you, please tell the surgeon I don’t want that.

It’s almost comical to look back at how much I freaked out about the catheter. In my defense, all I knew about catheters was an imaginary visual of how they work and where they go on a guy – which sounds incredibly painful. I didn’t even think girls could have catheters (yes, I’m admitting that – it’s embarrassing). What I failed to realize until much later, was that they put it in while you’re knocked out, and more importantly, that when you get out of abdominal surgery, getting up to go to the bathroom is the last thing you want to do. After surgery, I was so grateful that they had not listened to my “no catheter” request!

What was the small thing that rocked your boat?

4 Comments on “What tips your iceberg?”

  1. When I was first told that I could need a temporary ileostomy, I didn’t take the news very well. It was unexpected to say the least, but as I familiarized myself and saw that it could be a blessing, I went into surgery for a permanent ostomy with open arms – I was truly excited to be getting it done.

    The “six times” thing isn’t a big deal really. It takes maybe 30 seconds to empty your pouch if you’re really taking your time.

    I can understand how some people could be put off by certain aspects of the surgery or having an ostomy, but education and learning from the ostomy community (both online and at your local support group) can make a world of difference.

    1. Yea I don’t think people realize how often they use the bathroom in a 24hr period to begin with. I think the surgery is really scary, even once you psych yourself up about it, and so some people channel that fear into funny excuses. Thank goodness for education and the support of our websites and all the others that we tap into when we have questions!

  2. I don’t think anything could have stopped me from wanting surgery. I was actually more afraid that something would come up that would prevent me from being able to have the operation. However, I did have one thought that bugged me beforehand. It really bothered me to know that the little area of skin around my stoma would forever be covered by an appliance and would never get air or sunlight for more than a few minutes again. Of all the things I should have been worried about, I was thinking about that! Too funny.

    1. Totally a legitimate concern! Poor peristomal skin, on the plus side – it won’t get a sunburn so we’re saving it from skin cancer!

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