Hello, friends. What a month. And before I start: I make no apology for the small pictures at the bottom of this post; I know they'll help more people than they offend. I had my large bowel removed (yes, all of it) on August 16th by a wonderful surgical team at Bath RUH. Since then I've been getting over the effects of such a massive operation and getting to grips with my all-new body. Okay, so I've bounced back into hospital a couple of times along the way and I missed my son's first day at school, but nothing can keep me down.
I'm cured of ulcerative colitis and feeling much better than I have in years. I tire quickly, but apparently that's part and parcel of major surgery for about eight weeks. Come mid-October, I'll be fighting fit and back to writing properly.
A huge sadness has completely dissolved. I hadn't realised just how deeply my IBD had affected me, emotionally as well as physically. My life had been compromised, day in and day out, for so many years - but no more. Okay, so I have to live with a stoma for the rest of my life - but why mope about it? I've (re)gained so much more than I've lost.
LOST:Large and inflamed faulty organ - good riddance. Masses of nasty drugs - ditto. Excess weight - phew. Exhaustion. Sadness. Constant uptightness and never ending anxiety re. toilet proximity. Ability to eat nuts and mushrooms. GAINED: Control! Vim and vigour! My old, slim(ish) figure! Hope! The prospect of holidays involving aeroplanes with absolutely no anxiety re. toilet availability! Excuse to eat Haribo at will - doctor's orders! To fellow IBD sufferers out there: I hope medication or alternative therapies work for you; they didn't for me. If you find yourself facing frankly terrifying surgery and its body-changing effects, take comfort from me. On balance, it's really rather wonderful. Stay well, folks - and much love to @ColitisNinja and the brilliant #GetYourBellyOut campaign.