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Hoping to garner some insights, a penny for a thought.

Well I'm returning to work next week. Physically I'm in wonderful shape considering the surgery. I'm cancer free. My son is doing well, he's finishing his classes and getting his certificates in February. My niece has moved in and has been a blessing the last several months. Both friend and family have been here for me. I've had so much support and here I am feeling sorry for myself, I should be ashamed. I dwell on a fizzled romance like a silly teenager and I picture my wife looking down on me shaking her head in wonder. Please don't misunderstand. I too must shake my head in wonder. In my condition I'm certainly not going to be considered as an intimate and that is whats causing my heartache. How shallow of me. I honestly don't want to be alone the remainder of my life and I'm dreading that prospect. I ponder who would be with me now and why. Can I expect a degree of intimacy and is that realistic. Isn't that silly. This is what I concern myself with.  I have so many good things happening in my life and all that concerns me is that women will reject me and I'll be alone. For crying out load! I've been given literally decades of extra life. Somebody talk some sense and explain to me if and how I can get past this. Thanks for reading and letting me express my anxieties. Any and all comments will be appreciated.
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well, i dont think your concerns are silly, everyone has the desire to love and be loved.
why do you think your ostomy will limit your desireabilty..? i can tell you that i have had
relationships with both ostomates and non-ostomates since my surgery many years ago.
so far i havent found a woman who could put up  with me{that isnt the womans or the ostomys fault} is simply mine{ i am a proud and STUBBORN man}. still hope springs eternal.... if you beat cancer.... what can stop you ?? there can be no victory, with out a fail on occasion is not even try is unacceptable. would you agree??
Congrats on going back to work - just remember to take easy - I myself have just started back (ileo since Nov 2010) yes i have been off for 18 months if you do the math. I started off with two weeks of half days and starting this Monday full time. Not sure I'm ready but I'm willing to try. Expect to be really really tired for the first bit - I was exhausted and I sit at a desk. It's great news about your son and that your niece has moved in with you - I live alone with a cat who has a 200lb attitude. It sounds like your family and friends have been just wonderful and supportive of you. What makes you think that you will not be able to find a woman outside of your circle who would not feel the same way about you as your friends and family? It doesn't sound like they treat you any different than they did before the op. I too understand your fears, I have the same fears myself - I had then first when I developed cervical cancer in my twenties and had to have everything out - then the fear was Who would love me when I can't have babies - now that I've had my ileo it was Who would love me when I have to wear a bag of shite on my stomach. Maybe you will end up without someone to love - who knows what the future holds - there are all kinds of people who live happy and fulfilling lives without a intimate relationship. They revel in the comfort and love of family and friends. But for a woman to reject you because you are an ostomate is a woman who is selfish, cold, uncaring and ill equipped to deal with real life. That is a woman you are better off not having. I am sure that there are scores of people on this site who have intimate relationships with ostomates and non ostomates - just like mild mannered - although it sounds like he is not so mild mannered LMSO (laughing my stoma off) after all he says that he is stubborn..Just kidding my man. My advice may sound simple and trite to you but I think that it's solid. Have you put yourself out "there" perhaps you will find someone on this site? Maybe go to a match maker or join something like Match.Com - my brother found his bride that way - and we all thought that he would never ever find anyone. Don't let the fear drive you into accepting just any one - I have read some very insightful advice here on dating - find it and give it a rip - never give up hope. Anyways that's my two cents - I hope I've helped - let me know how you make out and all the best - Terry
Thank you for  your kindness and insights. I must admit I'm a tad nervous about the return but will still myself for the inevitable. I do hard and physical labor so as I plan for my return I'll be prepared to leave hubris on the shelf and heed the eternal, like Doris Day says "what will be will be". And when, while I'm falling on my face, I'm hoping to do so with style and flair. Yes family has indeed made a tremendous difference in my outlook through this recent challenge. Perspective adjusts and all considered I'm feeling pretty secure in meeting my tomorrows with confidence in all aspects of my life. Again thank you, your example adds a positive note and may fortune continue to smile at you, greet you with open arms and plant a big wet smooch smack dab on your pretty face.

not to hijack the tread, but if you job is physical you are going to want to irrigate.
belive me i speak from experience, it will make you life so much easier. are you familar with this?? you can go to youtube and search "colostomy irrigation" for a short video.
Thanks for the tip. I'm a bit new to the differences and changes. Insights are not only welcome but invited.

Consider reading my profile.  Maybe we can write.  You might find some parallels in the relationship area.
You seem to be handling everything well except the idea of having a relationship again, or your own self confidence in this area.  If you had relationships before, you will have them again.  Are you a reader?  or writer?
2 pieces of reading material I'd recommend for anyone:

A.  It's in the Bag and Under the Covers   by Brend Elsagher  available at Amazon, but check with your ostomy support group.   We hand the books out through our lending library. It's a collection of stories by ostomates, dealing with relationships and sex.

I also liked her book, If the Battle is Over, then why am I Still in Uniform? But this is about Brenda's whole journey from diagnosis out the other side.

B.  I know the Livestrong Guidebooks  are for those who have had a cancer diagnosis and you are cancer free.  Whoo hoo!!  The guidebooks are available for free, just pay shipping from  You might benefit from the journal.  Pass along the 2nd book to someone who has cancer.
Thanks for the reads, I'll certainly try and catch the A. suggestion. I can use all the help...

Dear T,

   I'd love corresponding with you. Understand the chance your taking though. You might have noticed I tend to prattle on if I have an audience. And wow a musician, that certainly sounds exiting to me. As mentioned earlier I prattle and wouldn't you know it , I find myself in prattle mode, sorry.
   I just got home about 45 minutes ago. It was my second day back at work and boy I'm whooped. I work in the cafeteria at the local middle school as a custodian. I've been out since last June so I missed the start of school this year and as exhausted as I find myself it's been great being back. I've been getting all kinds of big hugs and kisses, my co-workers and the students have been wonderful. My niece is in kitchen cooking and the aroma is drifting in. Hamburger Helper Stroganoff and it smells delicious. You know I almost feel content. I'd best be careful I believe the Greeks have a saying about people being a little too happy and how it invites turmoil. Oh well, I think I'll go have a bite. I'm hoping you'll stop back by, please let me know if you do.

All my best; Chris.
P.S. hey are we pen-pals ? I hope so, I'd like that.

Pen pals? of course!!
But I don't have a full membership so I can't access your link for a more private chat.  If you do, please access my link.  I'd be more comfortable if things aren't all in the open; anyone who looks at the Forum can read our exchanges.
Once you contact me, I can respond to you - silly system set-up.
In the interim, I'm muddling through a self-styled cleanse for a diagnostic on Monday morning to pinpoint a crappy little complication from my takedown.  I'm cranky as anything as I haven't slept well for 6 months - 1st from cancer recurrence dx & surgery, then recovery, then excitement over takedown, then what should have been about a month recovery from that has turned into at least a few weeks more.  It's hard enough to learn to sleep with a bag or two; wore when other parts of my bod try to go wrong. grrr.
Then of course there are the fruit/roof rats and fleas that moved in while I was in the hospital, and my little doggie lousy with fleas from the babysitter...poor thing.  She wanted to much to sleep in my lap as I tried to doze in the recliner, but of course the fleas are all over the upholstery from the rats, then her fleas jumped on me.  Thank god for a vet who gave her a flea tx, the exterminator who coached me on the phone through rat trapping, and the bug guy with the reasonably priced concentrated pesticide.

Wait - you wrote that you could ramble on??  You've met your match

But let's end with a very fun discovery:
35 yrs ago I bought a beautiful pen & ink art piece of all the instruments I play (and then some) arranged on a piano, lying on a snippet of Oriental rug.  The only colors in the piece come from the rug which is primarily red.  It's been turned to face a wall for the 3 years since I moved to this old place.  1960s mobile homes have "paneling" that requires a drill just to hang a nail, and I've had tremendous difficulty making this place "home" with my small collection of professional pieces as well as my grandmother's watercolors.  With all these windows you think there'd be more light...

Going on:
I had asked my physician for a recommendation for a good therapist to help me work thru this ostomy/cancer thing, as I've done well caring for myself physically by intelluctualizing everything & drawing on my medical training.
Mark referred me to a man who's turned out to be a classically trained psychodynamic psychotherapist (think Freud, Jung, object relations theory ala Margaret Mahler, transitional object ala Winnicott, etc).  He has a reproduction of Freud's analysis chaise (black velveteen) and uses dim lighting and the "therapist out of sight" technique.  
I have a BA in psychology and studied, superficially, most of that in which he specializes.
And I LOVE that chaise - I'd have bought a red velveteen, similarly styled, a few years back, had a had more $$.  
In any case, a search online for reproductions yielded photos of Freud's chaise on display at a museum, that draped with oriental carpets and throws.  I presume the couch beneath is black velvet, and the photos are not in color, but I'll bet some of those orientals are red!

So I found a cup hook, managed to get it into the wall beside my bed, and hung my precious piece where I see it each time I walk into the room.  And while I can't see it as I recline, I'll use my therapeutic imagination

write back on that inbox link.
T (ps my real 1st initial is K; T is middle name)
Good Morning T, how nice to wake up with a chatty girl. {thank you} What a pleasant surprise. I've just retrieved my coffee {cream & sugar} and discovered my son absconded with the last two doughnuts, I certainly believe he should have left me one of them. Heads will roll !!! Oh well I suppose I'll get over it. Any way its Super Bowl Sunday, big doings round these parts if you will. Shawny-pop, Hippy Dave and my nieces bow, Pat dropping by for the game, making some stuffed green peppers for the occasion. I am after all an extraordinary cook and these folks have come to expect tasty treats round here so I mustn't  disappoint. I'll be joining the site as dues paying member soon and hopefully we can continue in a more discreet fashion more sooner than later. Irregardless I'll stay in touch. Updates are imminent.
Again Thank you for the lovely surprise.  Warmly and Happily yours; Chris.

aha -- we're both broke/cheap/whatever
I considered membership but was then lashed out at by 2+ people saying I was giving "medical advice" when I listed medical information - nothing more than you'd find if you bothered with an online search from a reputable site such as Johns Hopkins, Mayo, etc.
Or  - pick up the phone and have a conversation or two with a WOCN nurse (and ConvaTec's ladies are amazing, and they tell me alomst all I need to know for free).

My favorite/only Superbowl was 1985 when the Bears won.  I was sewing tropical clothes for an upcoming trip to Hawaii.  1st time for 3 events:
1. never travelled to Hawaii before
2. never able to tolerate the irritating noise level of TV sports before
3. never gave a rat's behind about a team winning

1. repeated once or twice (hoping for another trip sometime before I die)
2. can watch a game of two now if I like the company - and have a beer
3. sometimes I pay attention, sometimes I don't

I'm not a sports person per se, but somehow if there's a little beer involved and either good company, and especially a nice day (e.g. baseball in nice weather).  If in public, I should have someone knowledgable beside me, as I tend to cheer for the brilliantly successful play, and not necessarily which team benefits.

My Superbowl "celebration" will be watching House MD reruns.
I'm writing a paper re relationships between House/vampires/psychodynamics of narcissistic personalities/color theory as it applies to the plot (and maybe advertising).
Here's an example of a couple of things:
- House just diagnosed a guy's problem with his exceptional hearing (like a bat??), immediately followed by an ad for the Bose Wave System.
- House only takes cases that "feed him" - either feed his mind or feed his heart (vampirism is such a two-fold disease - of blood and circulation); he seems heartless because he's hurting and the cases that really grab him by the proverbial throat entail symptoms that mirror his.  House is a Johns Hopkins alumnus (see why he likes Foreman?); in the movie "Something the Lord Made" with Alan Rickman, the dr's work revolved around Tetralogy of Fallot, a 4-part ultra-complex congenital heart defect.  His black assistant, Vivien Thomas, helped Rickman in the development first of how to make a "blue baby."
House regularly enrages Cuddy & the team, wanting to make someone crash or provoke a new symptom in order to render a final dx, much like "Thomas" & Rickman.
Abraham Van Helsing was an expert at "obscure diseases" and kept a "pet" bat for experimentation; House is a differential diagnostician and acquired "Steve McQueen" the rat.  I'm sure you know the famous closing scene from Great Escape involving a motorcycle...

See where I'm going?
There's a ton more, and I'm hoping this is good enough to get someone's attention so I can get a scholarship for "med school" of some sort: either nursing or clinical psychology.
We'll see.
Let me know who wins the game - I don't even know who's playing.
And hey, since I need to be on a "clear liquid diet" today, does that include beer????
ciao - K
Well I've gotten into the laundry, one load down, countless others in the que. Oh when will the madness end! Rooting for the New York Football Giants to upset the cheatingest pack of evil maniacal football minds ever assembled, the dastardly New England Patriots. Eli's coming! You know what I admire most of the narcissists mindset is the total lack of empathy. Far to often we act on our emotional soft-sides and disregard the impending consequence. Hey I resemble that remark as perhaps Ive been that mark before {poor me, but hey my consequence and you most likely get what you paid for}.  Wow,  interesting thesis and I like the emotional vampire aspect. Now you've got me thinking about Hugh laurie and I'll be digging out the Black Adder DVDs before to long. So we have "blog police" do we, well please continue to post any way the life you save with your 2 cents could be mine. And when we do take advice or seek it here I'm sure we take the time to research and explore all aspects of said advise and like the man says " You pays your nickel and you takes your chances". Please have a terrific Sunday and thanks for being my Pen Pal. Its nice to have someone checking in with me, I hope you feel the same. Its a good feeling. Thanks Chris.
Dear T,
  Giants win! It was a close well played game. Giants beats Patriots 21-17. I had a real nice day accomplishing a good amount of household chores. Had several people over for the game, prepared and served some tasty treats and we all enjoyed ourselves, even Dave, who's money Pat & Shawn happily took at the end of the game. Dave's a bit of a gambler, but not always a good one. Well I think I've got everything in order. My niece has kindly agreed to tidy up come morning and that leaves me free to twaddle at the computer for a few minutes. I hope your day was a successful one.  I do hope your not knee deep in text books puzzling over obscure dissociative disorders while Hugh Laurie sucks the life from his co-workers. Remember the fine sparkling American Lager awaiting you in the fridge. And try and get a good nights sleep. I've taken to the Sleepy Time tea before bed lately and it does seem to help. I know your quite contorted and I'm sure its difficult for you, my flippant suggestions aside, I do want you to know that I will cheer for you and be on your side. The competition for scholarship and grant monies has got to be a daunting challenge for you. I hope you'll be checking in and look forward to hearing from you tomorrow. I'm getting a goofy little smile just anticipating you. Its great, thank you. I'm happy and your a big part of that.
Good night, sweet dreams. Big hugs and soft smooches, your pen-pal Chris.

I'm not mired in texts.  I watch the shows, make notes on what strikes me.  Haven't written one sentence yet.  And I try to really relax and observe. and not agonize over every tiny tidbit.  AND I shut off the TV even if there's another show upcoming, unless I remember something intriguing.
In between I read psychodynamic theory but it's in gentle forms such a "Drama of the Gifted Child."  Am getting some other really interesting reads cheap from - nothing is thought ahead; I follow my heart/gut with what to watch/read.
Then the medical texts are used to garner ultra-correct assumptions e.g. what exactly is dissociative disorder. rapprochement.  
One of the coolest connections was ketamine - it's a "dissociative anesthetic"
House could be said to have a dissociative disorder.
The girl from the car accident who couldn't feel pain but did have tactile capability - that's "dissociative syndrome."
VERY cool, and I didn't have to work to find any of that - all I did was look up ketamine.

Today was tough.  The radiologist who did the diagnostic for my fistula was absolutely wonderful and the procedure wasn't that bad BUT...
Because of the fistula, peristalsis pushes everything out the wrong opening, and fistulas are not continent by any means.
So I went to my therapy session today wearing an adult you-know-what...
rather ironic, since the first goal of good psychoanalysis is a form of regression resulting in transference.  Norm is amazing and treats me like a colleague, so after just a few sessions I'm able to tell him "anything" - except I didn't mention to diagnostic.  I was able to get into a real "little girl space."
In addition to the leakage, there's an acidic quality to the escaping fluid that is terrifically irritating to the delicate tissues that it's never supposed to touch.  Fortunately, time and immodium resolve the problem (I don't suffer pain as long as I don't have thinned-out know what I mean).
After 16 hrs things are starting to calm down a bit and I went to bed around 10 thinking I might actually sleep; woke up @ midnight and now here I am.
But this too shall pass.

One hindrance to a good therapeutic experience is intellectualization; when Norm found out I was reading all classic analysis, he was afraid I'd climb back into my head, which is the place that saved me from the pit of despair for the last 6 months, dealing with 2 ostomies and a 2nd cancer dx.  But he gets it now: the level of work that he does is much, much more like diagnostic medicine.  And if I understand what's going on (esp transference) and that I know some of the signs/symptoms, and also know that it's perfectly right and safe, then I cen let myself be vulnerable to Norm so that he can help me learn how to be vulnerable in the world.

I have at least two "gifted children" of "my own" - not biological, but I had them with me during very formative years.  Both musicians, one maybe a poet now (waiting to hear if the email link I found is indeed hers).  The boy you can look up: Anthony Baron at the link for Rider college that includes "bravo Baron."  No, I didn't teach him piano, but he came to me to learn sax & I provided opportunites for him to to sax and piano improv, as well as (I hope) shape his sexuality into good places.  He was originally 12, brilliant and completely innocent, then hit 12.5 & started flirting shamelessly, bumping his knee against mine and elbowing me off the armrest in my Firebird [where is that hot midlife crisis car now when I could really use it?].  Now he's 22 and going to Eastman school of music.  Wow.

Elise studied flute & performed with me regularly; also danced.  I think of her from time to time but a google search yielded a poem & the email I mentioned.
I have a tape of Elise and Anthony playing for a state music competition.
I'm going to go recline with my 4-legged child (black toy poodle Esther), have some marshmallows (I'm told they not only help slow down the system but soothe it as well -- oh yeah, chamomile tea - will make some of that) and watch Anthony & Elise.

smush to you too - k

PS - very important and wonderful that I reconnected with two old, dear friends from Chicago over the weekend.  One is my "mom" but is only 1 yr my senior, the other my 1st love from high school, who unfortunately went gay on me.  Rats.  Will always love him, though, esp. since he not only never teased me about loving Barry Manilow, but would call the raiod station and request Barry & Helen Reddy in my honor.  What a romantic, huh?  (I never understood this much of him in high school - my loss).
Dear K.T.
  Perhaps I'll call you Kate {a little more grown up than Katy} or maybe Kay, no that's so staid. Please let it be Kate. To me you must be Kate.
   After such an arduous day and barely a long nap you poor thing. Are you allowed over the counter remedies? You seem to have taken a reflective mood, I'm glad the memories seem sweet.  It's nice to know you've made a difference and please know you still are.
    As of late I've taken to referring to problematic or difficult situations as challenging. I suppose it helps me cope a bit better. You know, make it a small game with myself. Well I think I might need a new word for hard because I seem to have forgotten why they call it hard work. It's 'cause it's hard Chris...  ...oh ya, right. Well boy I worked hard today and I'm whooped. I think I'll call it dynamic, doesn't that sound better than hard. I'm going to give it a go. Wow, what a dynamic day I've had. Hey. That works.
    I'm really so fortunate. It's great that I've got a job to be tired with. I might of forgotten that a bit as well. I know it'll take some time to get myself back into "work" shape. But boy! at times I just have to take heart and I seem to rejoice, it's like I blinked and I'm back. I know that's not the case of course. Things are quite different, I'm different. Not just physically but as old as I am, it's kinda of nice to think I'm still growing.{And not just old.} Oh, I do go on, so sorry.
   I hope your tomorrow finds you an easier path and dreams greet you happily tonight. Please do stay with me here. It's so nice to know your here. Thank you, and quiet forehead kisses so you'll have sweet little girl dreams.  Love Chris

You're so intuitive --
Yes, it's Kate.  (and stick with that, pls - I finally got a guy one time to start that for me when I shared "Kiss Me Kate" the Shakespeare inspired musical).  Took me 30 yrs & 3 moves out of state to get away from the heavily inflected "KA-thy" of my mother's voice.  You spelled the other nickname Katy, with a "y."  
This is sweet, as my psychodynamic healer calls me Katy and I found he spells it as you did (saw the bill for the pittance he charges, bless his heart, though he may not even get that).  No one ever called me Katy as a child; I longed for it, so for Norman to address me as such is a wonderful happy accident of our therapeutic healing relationship.  Plus he's about the age my dad was when he shot himself (well, there you have it).  Quite another Freudian coincidence.
He recently told me straight out that, no, not everyone on the planet thinks in such a multi-faceted way as I, finding connections and interests and being a jack-of-all-trades.  I said "Norman, are you saying I'm a diamond? a little gemstone?"  He made some noise in his throat (the dark-room version of scuffing his feet) but yes, that's what he meant.  If it weren't for a strong understanding of transference/counter-transference, I think that analytic couch might be used for something else (ha ha, forgetting that my body is not capable of that any longer).
A woman replied to my fistula blog, saying it took her 12 yrs & 10 surgeries to resolve -- but then she referenced something that I took to be about dr's outside the US.  I don't see any reason why my Miracle Mitch the surgeon can't resolve this on the first try.  The thing that may help is that I'm going to beg Mitch to remove what's left of the vaginal canal (only 3-4" right now as it is and who needs that?).  When the cervix is lost, the canal flops around in space and it looks like the tip is where it fell onto the sigmoid J.  
Sleep?? what's that?
I know I have another rodent in the cupboard, though it avoided the trap.
At least my little doggie is coming back to herself.  The fleas seem to have abated, the skin infection cleared, and after sleeping like a dead thing for a week, she's perking back up.  She is 8 after all, so I can't expect puppy-level bouncing, but the fact that she insists on being in my lap most of the time is a wonderful sign.

I see my urologist today (it's 5:45 am Wed - like I said, what is sleep?) the same sweetheart who diagnosed the recurrence.  We'll be discussing lithium-induced diabetes insipidus.  NOT something to worry over.  Either we add a drug (probably amlopidine or amlodipine - too tired to get it right) or I go to the shrink on Fri demanding a psychotropic change from lith.  Either way, I win, at least this time.  Plus I get to see Mark, whom I've adopted as the Baby Brother I Deserve and Should Have Had.
He wanted to read the OR notes from the giant surgery, which is cool as they came to me and I learned a pantload, so he gets a copt and I get to keep mine.

I did have a pretty good nap today - dreamt I was stretched out in my chair, which is a posture that's comfortable but I've never napped in.
re OTC, I can take anything I want.  I'm educated and they all trust me.  But not too much works in the face of this level of stress.  Gonna ask Mark for a xanax refill or something similar (ambien gives me nightmares; maybe I'll ask to try lunesta or something).
I also see Miracle Mitch on Mon, who can help with HRT regulation (menopause, esp surgically induced, is a common cause of insomnia; then add all this stress and, well...I'm a mess)

But of course, I'll stick with you - and if I had a digital camera, I'd show you the little changes I've been able to achieve around the house .  In betwee music & medicine I studied interior design.  Would make neat photos to show before/after of just the window treatments and the bookcase that was disheveled (not by me) but that I fixed.
Should go lie down and at least be horizontal for awhile - under my lovely red drapes I finally found and hung above the bed.
xo - k
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