I met a good childhood friend for lunch earlier in the week and he asked how my fiance Billy has been handling my surgery and how he coped with my disease. I responded by telling him how incredible Billy is and how he has been my rock (not to be cliche). My friend reminded me at this point how lucky I was to have such a guy and gently mentioned how most guys wouldn't be so strong and so faithful, how many people run away from challenges such as these and abandon those they most love. "Maybe people just have bad hearts," he concluded, "but I'm just not sure." We parted ways at this point, but his words stuck with me.
Truth is, I AM lucky to have such a steady, caring and patient man to share the rest of my life with. I adamantly believe that it is more challenging and difficult to be the caretaker of a sick loved one than it is to be the one who is ill. Billy and I are both so lucky to finally be rid of this disease and we are both looking forward to our new life together. Upon completing my surgery, Dr. Procaccino met with my parents and Billy while I was in the recovery room. He turned to Billy and said, "Everything went perfectly. Her colon was very, very diseased and I want you to know that she made the right choice. Your life together is going to be so much better because she made this decision." But this wasn't a choice I could have made alone. I have been incredibly lucky to have such a strong and reliable support network of not only Billy, my parents and my brother, but also my friends, family and even other Crohn's and Colitis patients that have been able to personally relate to me. Knowing that Billy would be by my side no matter what, having my Mom and Dad and brother next to my side 24/7 at the hospital, talking to several other panproctocolectomy patients that assured me the grass was greener without a colon. I couldn't have made this life-changing decision without each of them.
The grass is certainly greener, the sun is brighter, and the sky is bluer. Maybe it's because I am finally able to see the grass and look at the sky because I no longer live in a bathroom. But it's also because living with this disease and beating the constant challenges it has thrown my way has taught me of the delicacy of life and has endowed me with a much greater appreciation for my health than I ever could have hoped to experience if I hadn't stumbled into this hurdle called U.C. For all you Crohn's and Colitis patients out there, take advantage of the sunny days and don't lose hope during the cloudy ones. The rain can only last so long.