Okay, so maybe attitude is not everything, but it does matter. Having a positive attitude when facing any situation has a direct impact on, not only how you react to the situation, but also the overall outcome and what you take away from a given experience. Just typing in a google search for “positive attitude and heath” supplies you with endless articles and research on how having a positive attitude can help with everything from counter acting stress to reducing your risk of cancer. I cannot attest to all the claims that are made on the topic, but I do believe that a positive attitude does make a huge difference when you are faced with a difficult situation.
Coming to terms with the fact that I was going to undergo 3 surgeries that would leave me without a colon and cause me to have a temporary ileostomy was terrifying. I didn’t know what to expect concerning the entire process. I had never had any kind of surgery, let alone a 5-6 hour major procedure that would impact the rest of my life. Once I realized there was no turning back, I knew a personal pity party was not going to help me. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t shed a few tears and mourn the loss of my colon, just that I decided to have a realistically positive outlook on what my life could be at the end of this difficult process. I had already survived nearly 8 years of suffering with UC and there was no end in sight– unless I went forward with the surgeries.
Below are two pictures that show just how positive my attitude toward my new ileostomy is. These were taken just two days after my surgery #1, and just moments after I emptied my ileostomy bag for the first time ( it was St. Patrick’s Day, hence all the green). This is not an occasion that is often so joyously celebrated, but going to the bathroom without pain or bleeding for the first time in months and knowing that those days were behind me was, and is, a triumph that I will never forget! Celebrating with me are- my beautiful sister, Mattie, my amazing cousin, Jane, and my wonderful husband, Kyle.