I have been so caught up in this defensive mindset the last three months that I have almost lost sight of why I have had to go through all of this. By defensive, I mean tackling each new challenge as it comes. Once one is gone, I await the next. My attitude toward my health has become nonchalant, almost numb. While looking through a copy of my hospital records given to me by my doctor I could be heard saying things like, "Oh, I have ovarian cysts, too? How funny!" or "My appendix is severely inflamed? Can't wait for that surgery!" I didn't react in a normal fashion, or a healthy one. Sure, it's good to not let life knock you down. But there's also this deep, dark place where nothing can hurt you, nothing matters. I'm sure many of you have been there, too. And let me tell you, I'd rather cry enough tears to fill the Amazon than feel that empty. But now, finally, for the first time in almost ten years...I no longer feel like Humpty Dumpty.
This experience has also given me a pair of balls that I certainly didn't have before all of this. I figured, hey, if I'm losing my colon, I may as well get something in return. It's the Law of the Conservation of Mass, right? Having experienced high levels of pain, low levels of hemoglobin, and the opportunity to get chummy with my intestine that was sticking through my skin, how bad can a shark bite really be? Or a run-in with a hungry black bear? One thing that has become abundantly clear through all of this is that life is short, don't live it in fear.
On Friday night I will take my last dose of Augmentin, the antibiotic that has been clearing the infection from the abscess. I will still have a hole in my side that is slowly filling in, reminding me in a cautious manner that I will soon be whole again (pun intended!). Several doctors have told me that at that point I can safely have my scars revised by a plastic surgeon. They aren't going anywhere. The mind forgets pain very quickly, but I want there to be a reminder. When I see that bear running at me in the woods, I want to be able to look down and think, "I can take him."