I had my surgery two years ago. Time really flies... It’s difficult for me to remember the first months with my ostomy and the first difficulties that almost everyone experiences during their convalescence. However, one specific memory always comes back to me as if it were yesterday... The day I took this picture at the end of the corridor of my department at the hospital in Sherbrooke. This photo is engraved in me, in my DNA. It represents "day 1" of the promise I made myself. A declaration of faith in a way. Since that day, I have tried to respect it every day of my life.
But I guess you’ll ask yourself "What is this picture?"
Mount Orford in its entire splendor. During that first walk the nurses forced me to take in order to get back on my feet as soon as possible, I saw this panorama. After about 60 meters, I was able to see this magnificent view at the end of the long corridor. It was a painful walk but something clicked in my head at that moment. Being an obstacle course runner (military-style running races, taking place in the mountains most often, very popular in recent years), I was running all over this mountain regularly before my surgery for training and competitions. I recalled my preoperative meetings. They explained to me that I might not be able to do obstacle courses anymore because they are quite extreme tests (crawling under barbed wire, climbing 10-foot walls, jumping in water and mud, etc., for miles) in which we’re pushing our body to a competitive level. Being very pig headed, I promised myself that I would be able, next spring, to run, to do some competitions again and, why not, to perform better than before. I promised myself that my ostomy wouldn’t change my life. My ostomy was rather going to save my life. In the end, it’s only an accessory in the same way a handbag is, neither more nor less.
Following this promise...
I forced myself to walk up and down this corridor and each walk was a victory in itself. I decided it would be like this for every challenge I was going to face. If you are an ostomate, you know what I’m talking about; the first times going to the bathroom, the first pouch changes, the first leaks around the pouch, the first skin injuries... There are also the first kilometers of walking, the first sit ups, the first miles of races... They are all fine victories.
The year after my surgery, I got back in shape and completed my racing season. I considered it a year of adaptation with a lighter schedule of only 8 races. This last year I did 13 races, including a race planned for the end of October to close the 2017 season.
Good for everything...
It goes further than ostomy problems. My resilience helps me on a daily basis and in all the spheres of my life. It’s like mental gymnastics that must be nourished and a vision that must be remembered often because the human brain is made this way. The positive attracts the positive and it works. Use something that can move you forward: a goal, a vision, a dream or, like me, a photo.
Since my surgery, I have changed my pouch for a model more adapted to my lifestyle and activities (I also do Taekwondo). I learned that the fear of change and judgment only makes us shut down.
Be positive and embrace change. You will see; it pays off.
Brought to you by : B Braun