I had a lot of very poignant reminders this week on how God works in all of our lives and how we all if given the opportunity have a story to tell. My bible study ladies hosted an event and share some very life altering testimonies on how God worked in their lives despite the circumstances they have been challenged with. Some of us illness, others relationship or financial challenges and the list goes on. The one commonality we all share as survivors we must stay focused and keep running the race even when it gets tough. I know when you are going through a struggle it’s difficult to see beyond the moment. Especially when the pain (physical or emotional) is so intense you often feel like resigning or giving up but dear ones don’t be overcome. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit who is greater than us and all that is in the world (1 John 4:4) by working in us and through us can we persevere.
The Battle that God Won for Me
As I mentioned earlier I had 22 radiation treatments only lasting 22 seconds each session. That’s why I think this was one of the hardest blog posts to write since it was such a difficult time for me in my journey and it reminds me all too well of how difficult the struggle and fear was at that time. Getting healthy and staying healthy requires a fight against not only the illness but the thoughts that get in the way of your mental and spiritual health. PRAISE GOD today when I look back at where I was then and where I am now I know that God won the battle for me! These words come from the depths of my heart I am forever grateful.
After surgery and radiation I began to adjust to my NEW life with a colostomy but it was only one year from my first surgery when my problems began. My stoma started to shut down and I was unable to eat or drink, everything was backing up and my body was no longer releasing the waste. My surgeon scheduled emergency surgery he discovered the complications caused by radiation burn which had destroyed so much (my uterus was burned and it kinked my urethra tube which attests to reoccurring battle with UTI’s) that he had to close off my large intestines. With my large intestines closed and 40 clips in me holding everything in its place I would now work with my small intestines ONLY and switched me from a colostomy to an ileostomy. Wow the battles I faced it’s only by the grace of God I’m here to tell this story.
Learning to live with an Ileostomy
For many years I was in and out of the hospital with blockages caused from food I could not digest. It was difficult alone to learn to adjust to life with an ileostomy which was quite different from a colostomy. When I first had the colostomy I could eat most of the food I was used to eating.
However, an ileostomy was quite different it really limits the amount of food (selection and quantity) that I can intake. Remember I’m working with my small intestines only. Some of the most nutritional foods that are good most people (vegetables, fruit, fiber…) cannot be easily digested by many people with ileostomy though all cases are different. It is important to eat small meals frequently throughout the day as the ileostomy never stops working so you can easily become dehydrated and have an electrolyte imbalance. I know this from experience. The waste out-put with an ileostomy is more liquid then the paste out-put that a colostomy produces. I had to be very careful ensuring I have enough fluids and in order to get the necessary nutrients I would lack from not being able to eat vegetables and fruit etc I learned to take 1-3 Ensure Plus a day. I also drink Gatorade to replenish electrolytes lost from having an ileostomy. Electrolyte imbalance can include loss of appetite, drowsiness, abdominal cramps and faint feelings. Seek medical help immediately! While most people should avoid salt I need to take an extra serving of salt to put back all that is lost from the fluid out-put of an ileostomy. For quite a while in addition to table salt I had to take salt tablets. Consult your physician about the proper amount your body requires. Taking pills are difficult too because even a pill can cause a blockage in the stoma so I have to crush all of the medications I take which I will review in a later post.
No life isn’t always easy but it sure is good to be alive! Live in the present moment and be grateful and seek joy and find ways to bring joy and help to others in need.
If you are feeling or experiencing something similar, I’d love to hear from you. I didn’t have anyone who could relate to me at the time and I don’t want that for you. Please send me an email or reach out to me via Facebook or Twitter.
TAKE ACTION, ask your primary care doctor for a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)[i] which can detect or prevent cancer long before the symptoms occur. Make your health a number one priority. You’re worth it and your family and friends are worth it!
Until next time. Luv you all!
Psalm 91:2, I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in Him will I trust.
Prayer I say, I proclaim, I confess that You, God, are my refuge and fortress. My trust is in You alone.