“My Stoma Rears its Ugly Head”

FRIDAY
May 22 2015

I am starting to reach an understanding with my stoma, to be able to detect when it is about to erupt and the feeling that precipitates that. I should be more cognizant of what particular foods do to my digestive tract, but I am not sure I really want to know. I am feeling grounded – no lightness or heaviness, just standing firmly on the ground with practical worldly things to keep me preoccupied. It is not a place I enjoy. I could use some levity.

MONDAY
May 25 2015

Just when I was having such a lovely day, feeling like cancer hasn’t taken over my life, my stoma rears its ugly head to remind me that life has changed. I realized this morning that I had forgotten my emergency colostomy supply bag. Since I had a doggy bag insert, I thought I should be fine for a hospital visit and lunch. Sat down at 2254, a lovely nouveau tapas place close to the train station and didn’t need to empty the doggy bag until after lunch. I thought I was in the clear. The minute I step out of the restaurant, I get a warm wet sensation and feel like I have a major leak. Luckily, I reach down and nothing has escaped the bag yet, but it is pretty full and I am hoping I make it home before disaster strikes. By disaster, I am imagining that the bag full of diarrhea becomes so full that the seal between the disc and bag breaks and I am covered in my own excrement. The train comes in 3 minutes and my first stop should be the bathroom. So how am I feeling? Pretty Anxious!

I am also questioning whether my fancy schmancy lunch of unrecognizable foods plus dessert and coffee may have been overdoing it. My intestinal tract seems unsettled. Perhaps it was the scallop with carrot puree and orange essence or the foie gras with emulsion of chocolate and orange. So many helpful reminders here: don’t overdo it, too much complexity is a bad thing, and never go anywhere without supplies. 

TUESDAY
May 26 2015

Disaster did indeed strike yesterday on the train ride home. No need to go into the gory details, but it was indeed gory. Today was a much brighter day. No bag malfunctions, and getting to discuss groups and issues I care about with colleagues. Even talked to a headhunter today, about a potential job opportunity. Really not interested, but it feels nice to be sought after.

I am feeling the pressure of work tasks that I need to complete. Sitting down and committing words to a page is always difficult for me, particularly when the stakes are high and a line of work or a group’s funding is on the line. Words and language have always had a special power for me, so I strive to use them in ways that evoke that power for others. Matt has a rare and special talent that I wish he made more use of and could recognize. He is such a good man and an amazingly gifted writer. He just needs more grit.

The aggressive limit of time and energy is really weighing on me heavily. There is so much that I want and need to do, from learning Spanish to doing yoga to learning more about my cancer and ways to help fight it. I may need to take more time off than I had planned to take advantage of the opportunity that the cancer has presented me with to focus on what  matters most in life. 

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