Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Where do I go from here?
I think it’s time to look back and reflect a bit on this experience. Now that I have got to what must be a stop or two above base camp.
I have been trying to remember how and why I made the decision to have this surgery. First and foremost there were considerable medical grounds for it. I can no longer have Ulcerative Colitis; I may have a few new things to think about, but that has gone forever. Also I was in a high risk group of developing bowel cancer, and that too, can never happen now. So there are two excellent reasons for the decision.
There are others as well though, the most obvious of which was that 2009 saw me at death’s door twice, and that can’t be good for you. I could still stand there again for some reason or another, but the most obvious potential causes have gone.
And for the foreseeable future at least, I won’t be constantly mapping my proximity to the nearest loo, no longer worried about getting a 40 second warning in the middle of lecture, or whilst operating a camera in some loo-less environment.
There is another set of reasons, and please don’t take this the wrong way, but getting shot of the medical establishment is a plus too. No more colonoscopies, no more 4 or 5 hour infusions of Infliximab, no more weird cold stunted conversations with doctors. I am through with that. There may be more to come, but in a sense I have moved forwards and away from their grasp in the long view. Was it Winston Churchill that said “If you are going through hell keep going”? Yes it was. I just looked it up.
Looking back on the experience to date, anxiety and fear have been my biggest enemies. Worse really than the hospital experience, and very undermining to a positive engagement with the actual moment of incision. Here I want to say that, for me, Hypnotherapy has been very useful, interesting, and powerful. True I was still scared as hell as I lay on the anaesthetist’s gurney, but I did at least have one or two strategies left in my nakedness.
There were also times when, on the run up to the operation, I was feeling physically and emotionaly happy, and I had to remember to notice and keep them. It might be happening tomorrow, but they weren’t getting me today. Just one day at a time.
I also tried hard to project myself forwards in time and remind myself that it would be different, that there would be another day. I am happy to say there is.
My own network of friends; people I love, people who love me helped hugely. It was good to take comfort from the support and warmth of these people. I love you all.
As for the future; who knows what it will bring. At the moment I am trying not to focus too clearly on the mechanics and plumbing of my new life, I am just doing it. I have enjoyed setting and achieving one tiny small goal – walking into town. This is like a little plant that will grow into my new gym, I intend to walk frequently into town, have a cup of tea and walk back. When that is easy I will do a different walk. Who knows I may even manage to run again one day.
In the future there is also the question of “reversal” in which I end up with a pouch inside me made from me. This would involve perhaps two more operations, and may mean that I am back to running to the loo. On the other hand it might not.
Who knows? Maybe I will end up fitter than anyone thought I would be. For the moment I shall aim for that.