Saturday, November 20, 2010

What is Juliet Waldron Thankful For?

Years ago I first saw “Getting Old Is Not For Sissies” posted on the wall at my mother’s nursing home. It’s proved truer than I could have ever imagined.

A few years back, I had life-changing surgery which put an end to five years of suffering with ulcerative colitis. That’s one of those “down there” diseases, like colon cancer, recently out of the closet of unmentionable ailments. One of the worst things about UC—besides the pain--was becoming virtually housebound whenever the disease was active. Surgery left me with an ostomy, but brought about positive changes, too, freeing me from the burden all my ruined body parts. Once again I could travel, go out to eat, go to the movies, or even just out to the mall. I could ride my bike to the farmer’s market and load the bags with vegetables, or hop up onto the back of my husband’s motorcycle and go out to admire the rural Pennsylvania countryside for hours, a pastime we both enjoy very much.

I’d been feeling stronger every month for the last three and a half years. I could lug sacks of mulch around the yard, pull tough weeds that were hoping to settle in my garden. I was going to the 50+ classes at the gym, planning a trip back East and generally enjoying life again.

Unfortunately post-surgical patients of my kind are digestive Rube Goldberg machines.

Lots of things can (and do) go wrong. I considered myself well-educated about possible problems re-engineering might create, but I missed the early signals of adhesions, which are not uncommon after this surgery. Mine formed a complete intestinal blockage. I’m still emerging from a long hospitalization followed by a longer convalescence, crestfallen and weak. It’s far harder to imagine a nice seamless (literally!) future.

I’ve got to suck it up, though, and bravely head “onward, into the fog.” The beauty of the right-now-moment--a phone call from a beloved grandchild or the late blooming of morning glories—must take precedence over anxiety and “what if’s”. I’m thankful to have been given more time in which to celebrate the small daily wonders of this life.

Check out Juliet's website to learn more about her.


Ciara Gold said...

Wow, I admire your courage. Having IBS which isn't nearly as disabilitating, I can sympathize with your pain and suffering. But you telling your story is a great way to let others with the same difficulties know they aren't alone. More power to you and I hope you recover to the point where you can enjoy those simple things again, like riding your bike.

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting the blog today. There are many out there who needed to hear your story. I do hope that you get better soon. I think it's so important to celebrate the little things in life. Big hugs!


Charlie said...

I love the 'getting old is for sissies.' I agree it's true. I keep reminding myslf that age is just a number. I have to respect it, but I don't have to let it rule me. Glad your surgery has created a 'new life' for you! thanks for sharing.
C.K. Volnek

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Julie so sorry to hear of your health woes. My mother had Crohn's disease, same area as yours, so to speak, and it was horrible. You sound like a very courageous lady and I would like to wish you all the very best.



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