It’s come down to this. There is a body part that needs removing due to a large, hideously unattractive tumor that has just, well, gotta go! Years ago (more than a decade, less than a century) it made its presence known similar to now. With a couple surgeries and double-digit colonoscopies to remove said growth and/or tiny polyps over the years, it has come back, the little bugger!! Excuse me: the big bugger!!
Who knew I could be so attached to my rectum! All that spiritual “I am not my body; I am Free. I am as God created me?” is really being put to the test now. Why? Because the whole thing–the offensive body part known as the rectum has to be removed, tossed aside. That, and part of the colon. Not to sugar coat anything, I am sputtering mad! Pissed!! Angry, Infuriated! Fuming!
Sometimes I feel monstrously sad. Recklessly marose. Initially, I was in shock for a week or two after hearing the news. Shock was followed by several more weeks of tear bursts, crying jags, spontaneously and uncontrolled. At this stage two plus months after the initial news and a week away from the actual surgery, all strong emotions have diminished.
This is not to say, I haven’t cried. Or been fiercely scared, confronted with becoming “the bag lady” where I live, although colostomy bags are a far cry from homelessness and the hobo scavenger’s life. Still, the situation is sobering. Sometimes pity-party inducing. My little bag experience will be with me permanently.
Sometimes I wonder, will it weigh a lot when filled? Will it bulge? I will be able to get some new clothes, of that I’m sure; that’s one good thing at least. I may have to start wearing dresses! Or big billowing blouses. I’ve thought about developing a line of designer colostomy bags, along with blouses and dresses, the clothing line a bit gauzy and girly, foo-fooish with a peek-a-boo ‘window’ to show off the designer bags!
Having a significant body part removed, one that has such a nefarious reputation at that, does not feel quite the same as having an arm or leg being plucked. Or even a breast! Make know mistake, I don’t want to minimize the trauma of anyone losing an appendage of any sort. It’s traumatic. But they at least have prosthetic parts that can compensate for the loss of the real one. There’s no prosthetic rectum. Or colon.
I thought about asking the surgeon could he try a pig’s rectum as a transplant? After all, they mine heart valves from hogs to replace human valves that have gone bad. But then I thought better of asking, knowing of course it wasn’t really an option. It might sound silly. It is becoming clear to me that I am making my way towards acceptance, though it seems to come in fits and starts.
My slow acceptance may possibly accelerate once the fecal reservoir has been removed. I hope so. But as I write this I begin to feel a wave of sorrow swelling, rising to the throat. I tamp it down, if only a little, to focus on sentence structure, punctuation, the actual writing of the feeling that I’d much rather deny or at least suppress.
Holy Shit! (Sorry) I just found myself laughing at my maudlin self, at my honest sadness yes, but I can tell it’s more shallow than deep, more transient, lighter somehow. Oh Jesus, I think to myself. I may survive the absurdity of it all, my soon-to-be rectumless bottom notwithstanding. It really isn’t the end of the world even if it is the end of my rectum.
Leaving the Land of Sorrow, Edging the World of Joy
Oddly, I have become very aware of people in far worse physical and situational losses than I: my friend’s son who became paralyzed from the waist down after an ATV accident, veterans from fill-in-the-blank wars that have lost all kinds of limbs, and others. It continually creeps into my consciousness that the real me, the part living inside that has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with grizzle or bone, loses nothing. Not one damn thing.
Somewhere deep, in that place we truly know ourselves, wordless and strong, a monumental silence that knows all is well, in spite of the contraption, this container my spirit inhabits, all is well. And even if there are times I am to feel sad, angry, sorry for myself once I become the bag lady, I know it’s temporary.
As are all things. Temporary. Except for the permanence of life that continues beyond. Infinity. World without end. Amen.
(I feel weird adding this but there’s worse things to feel weird about. Anyone wishing to contribute, I’m forever and ever grateful.)
This is great, Rosalie! I love the humor of it. Humor is how we get through what must be dealt with and you have a good sense of it, my dear. You are doing a wonderful job dealing with what has been dealt to you. Love and good humor conkers all.
Will you have to have chemo? I’m finishing Natalie goldbergs book Let the Whoke Thindering World Come Home. Pretty rough even in her words but definitely a story of endurance and refusal to quit. Like you say, this stuff is everywhere. I can’t say how many people I’ve known who have the bag. And maybe you will design a pretty one! Someone has to. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️?
Not to my knowledge. They’ll probably biopsy the whole shebang once it’s out. I think I’ll pick up that book later on, you mention; Goldberg’s. I’m thinking about how I can make ‘the bag’ popular, sexy, the 1% elite! HA!!
Thank you for writing this and my best wishes for you always. You have done a wonderful job of capturing and sharing feelings in a situation many go through for many reasons. You do this and it educates us. If in no other way than to show ways how to be strong, resolute, and pursue that which are the positive things in life without leaving behind what makes us strong.
Thank you, Taylor. I greatly appreciate your words.