life with an ostomy. candid, not sugar-coated. empowered, not embarrassed.

Mar. 20, 2006

People I haven't seen in over four years

Occasionally I'll come across these people, and of course, they don't know about my pink button.

This happened on Friday night, when I ran into a woman I used to go to junior high with. We used to hang out a fair bit back then, and if I had my ostomy back then, she would have known about it. I've run into her several times over the past year and chatted, but this time we decided to really hang out. We were with a couple other people, having a really good time, and she and I went into her bedroom to get dressed up to go out dancing.

When we were changing, it felt weird to not tell her. And then I got this lump in my throat- this total block- because it was bothering me so much that she didn't know. So I told her. Since she had known me when I was first diagnosed with Crohn's, I started with some history. I explained how the scarring got worse and worse over the years with recurrent inflammations and Prednisone usage. I said how in the end, it all just had to be taken out, and then I told her how my stoma was formed by my surgeon.

She was really sympathetic. She knew what a colostomy was, and my guess is that she had probably had some laughs at the expense of some hypothetical ostomate before... but she also looked me in the eye and said that if I ever needed to talk about things, she'd be there for me. And then she totally opened up to me about a health issue she was having.

On top of it just being nice to have this heart-to-heart, I felt like I had come clean. We had done so much catching up about everything else; by avoiding discussing my ostomy, I felt like I wasn't being true to myself or to her. Once I told her, I felt so much freer to be myself.

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