I was at my dentist today getting a new crown. As he was injecting me with the anesthetic, I started to feel something warm on my side. My first thought was that the assistant had spilled some water on me but very quickly realized my bag was leaking, and leaking bad. My very first public spill and I had two people hovering over me very closely as it was happening!! I lifted my hand and told them to stop and said what was going on. My dentist, whom I like a lot, jumped out of his chair and sped to the door, standing there watching apprehensively. I thought that was kind of odd. His assistant was very sympathetic and asked what he could do to help. I asked for a towel and cleaned myself off as best I could and told them I would make another appointment. The assistant followed me out and opened the door for me saying that they will call to make another appointment.
Driving home I thought about what had just happened and more importantly, what was my reaction. Obviously, my dentist was not very sensitive but his assistant definitely was. Thinking further I was VERY surprised that I was NOT embarrassed, mortified or ashamed!! I felt absolutely fine and then I realized that this feeling was a first for me since my surgery to have the colostomy.
I fought like hell against having a colostomy. I had had a nasty bout with anal cancer in 2005. Before treatment, my oncologist told me that there is a 50% chance of me ending up with a colostomy. I said not me!! I have a good friend who had the same cancer and 15 years later he was fine. So he was my role model. But unfortunately for the next 7 years I had ongoing incontinence and debilitating and very painful constipation and it was not getting any better. In Jan 2012, I finally said “enough” and had the surgery. From that first day forward I have not had any physical problems, no pain or anything so the surgery was really beneficial for me. But I did feel shame and embarrassment about living with the pouch in spite of feeling so much better. It affected me deeply, isolating me and keeping me from some of the joys of life. As time has gone by those feelings have lessened somewhat but with the incident today, I can say conclusively, I have finally accepted my situation and it will no longer keep me down, isolated, embarrassed or anything!! And I *still* have the rest of my life!! Today was a very important day for me. Thanks for listening. Terence