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

Mar 10, 2006

Sometimes things happen that reinforce my belief in God

This was one of those times.

When I first had my surgery, I was grateful that I was in a relationship with someone I really loved, because I knew it would be so tough go through the whole dating thing with a bag a poo hanging off me. I thought we would get married. But as the months went by, it became clear that we weren't really that compatible, and things ended.

My first date following that break-up was fear-filled. I was looking forward to it, but so many things were going on in my head before the date. What if I like him? How long will I wait before I tell him? I think I'll have to become one of those girls that doesn't have sex for like... gulp... months... maybe years into a relationship.

Well, the date started out nicely, we had a delicious dinner at some Italian place and I managed to completely skirt around any discussion of my Crohn's disease, my ileostomy, or the fact I'd been hospitalized for nearly four months the previous Spring. But then we went for a walk after dinner...

It was hard to talk about any major stretch of my life from the age of 10 to the present without bringing up the Crohn's Disease. And that was something I was never ashamed of, so I let it out.

Then, the most beautiful thing happened.

He said, "Oh yeah... I used to date a girl that had that. She actually had one of those, those... what do you call it... hmmm, oh yeah! ...an ostomy."

So many things rushed through my mind at that point. WOW! How lucky was I that the first new guy I went out on date with after the surgery had dated a girl with one, plus, seemed completely casual and non-judgmental about it!

We actually ended up seeing each other for about five or six months. It was a respectful relationship and the sex was amazing! It was just what I needed. I have some great hybrid relationship/ostomy stories from that period of my life, but I'll save them for a later post.

What I am going to share now is part of an email that I sent to very close friends the night I got back from that first date:

Alright, I went out on this date. I wasn't going to mention my ileostomy- but the fact that I had Crohn's came up. XXX said, "I know someone that had that... well, actually, I used to date this girl. In fact, she had one of those bags... I think it's called a colosto.. no, wait.. an ileostomy." Dude... I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I listened to him talk about it for a bit, and asked him a couple questions... and then told him that I had one. It was just so cool because it really made me feel like I wasn't so alone. He knew exactly what I was talking about, and it wasn't a big deal at all. We talked about it some more, and then we just changed topics and it didn't really come up again... except for the few times I asked him some more questions about his ex's experience with it, and how I thought it was so crazy and unlikely. ... it just made me feel great. And I wanted to share that with you, because you've been there so much for me. In case you were worried that I might get hurt by someone who wouldn't accept it, this experience was a giant step in me gaining back my confidence.

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