Dealing With Illness and Ostomies: Late Night Thoughts
Do you have late-night thoughts? I think we all do at some point. There is always a night you can't sleep for one reason or another. It could be a Sunday night. You may have slept late that lazy Sunday morning. Or you may have things at work that are prying on your mind.
You may have a medical appointment. A meeting with your doctor. A scan or scope. Or have an imminent surgery date looming. Whatever the reason, sleep is sometimes hard to find despite being dark outside.
I live in Scotland, so hot weather isn't usually something we experience. I am a sun worshipper and spend my money and vacation time often traveling halfway around the world for a great sunshine fix. Tonight, however, it is unusually hot. We don't have air conditioning as it is rarely needed. Even with the windows open, I am struggling to get cool enough to sleep.
No "get out of jail card"
I have always been a warm person. I have found that since my ostomy surgery triggered the surgical menopause, I feel the heat more. I think my 2 ostomy bags add to my overall body heat too. As I write this, my husband is asleep and snoring beside me.
Tonight, I am in a very reflective mood.
I haven't felt myself all week, been nauseous, and even sick. I have been off food (which is not like me!) and even more not like me. I didn't even feel like my Saturday night gin martini – my husband said I really must be ill! It's not that I believe a cancer diagnosis gives you a "get out of jail card" for never being sick again, but I admit I take it hard.
Dealing with illness and ostomies
Firstly, physically, even a common cold takes so much more out of me than it would before. I also find that any illness (and touch wood, I am grateful I am not often ill) really fatigues me.
When I am ill or feel a bit off, I find the physical and emotional aspects of an ostomy bag change become harder. I often have leaks due to my stoma being retracted, which compounds the problem as I need to change my ostomy bags more. When I don't feel myself, I have less energy and concentration for the bag changes, and emotionally, I go down a rabbit hole.
I resent my ostomies. Yes, the ostomies that saved my life. Right now, however, the ostomies still need my attention day and night, regardless if I feel unwell. I begin to resent them.
In the clear light of day
I then started to resent the bladder cancer, which caused me to have them. All the raw emotions I felt in the early days come streaming back. At the moment, that's how it is. I can't, and in some weird way, I don't want to see it any differently. It is the reality of the situation.
In the morning, in the clear light of day, metaphorically speaking, I will see things differently. I will regain my gratitude for the ostomies who saved my life. That morning maybe tomorrow, or perhaps a week from now. I hope it is the former, of course.
For now, however, as my mind wanders, all I can think, as I hear the automobiles on the main highway about a quarter of a mile away, is how many people have 2 ostomy bags they have to manage while they feel ill.
The odds of that scenario are pretty low. However, looking outside the box, I am more than aware many of these automobile drivers or passengers, like many people reading this, will be fighting similar or harder battles.
With that, I find peace in myself, put down my phone, and attempt to get the sleep my body desperately needs. Goodnight.
Has anyone in your family been diagnosed with bladder cancer before?
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