My Thank You!

So, I’m getting close to my three-month anniversary of being given the gift of life through my permanent poop bag. And while I’ve talked to many people about how they fear the bag, I explain how positive and freeing it is for me. I was at my son’s baseball game the other day, talking to a friend about cancer and how I can now poop anywhere, at any time. I even said, “as a matter of fact, I’m pooping right now!” which was true. She said, “you know, I’m kind of jealous.”

My chains are gone. I can do things. I can live life. And I am grateful for my poop bag.

Now, while the poop bag part is good, not all of the long-term effects of my cancer and cancer treatment are good. For example, chemo sent me through menopause at lightning speed (yes, I’m now postmenopausal) so I ended up trading tampons for a poop bag. Another example is that chemo messed up my nerves so very badly that I will likely struggle to walk barefoot in the grass for the rest of my life. And my hands will still fail me from time to time. My hair came in thicker than it was but since I wasn’t able to color it and since the color wasn’t holding any more, I allowed my hair to turn whatever color it wanted to, which is a sort of weird light grey/dark grey combo. And then there’s the whole damaged pelvic floor and PTSD stuff that most cancer survivors seem to have.

And what all of this did to my oldest son is yet to be determined. But what I do know is that any time I say I’m not feeling well, the first question out of his mouths still is, “are you going to the hospital?” I don’t know if that will ever go away. I don’t know if he will always carry a bit of fear that I might get sick again or I might die. I don’t know if my son will be petrified when it’s time for his first colonoscopy. But I feel confident that the fear that his mother might die has changed him in ways that will be revealed as he ages. My two littles have really been too young to understand any of this, but I’m sure it will play a role for them as they get older.

I have spent time talking to my partner, my therapist, and my friends about how my cancer journey really wasn’t THAT catastrophic. It could have been so, so much worse. I’m not saying I got off lucky. But what I am saying is that I was able to take this really shitty situation and gain as much information and knowledge and understanding as I possibly could. And I really believe that once I reached the level of needing to advocate for this cause, my cancer knew that it had done its job.

At the end of the day, I’m grateful for all of it. And I’m grateful for you, yes YOU. Thank you for your love, kindness, and support, whether you knew you were giving it to me or not.

Namaste everyone.