Day 17 Prompt: I often read online and hear people say in person that, “IBD does not define me,” or, “My ostomy does not define me.” Usually when these phrases are said or written, they imply that a disease or an appliance is not all that we are – and that is 100% true. However, is it a bad thing if IBD or your ostomy has helped make you who you are today? When we say that something doesn’t “define” us, are we always implying that such definition is negative? (Full Frontal Ostomy)
Hmm… this is an interesting thought. I know I’ve said a number of times that I’m not defined by this disease or this ostomy, and I’d still say that right now. But to say it has had no part in defining me would be untrue.
I think of it this way: I am not Stephanie – the girl with the ostomy. I am a wife, daughter, sister, friend, who also has Crohn’s disease and an ostomy. I don’t think I would ever want the first thing that people think about me to be that I’ve dealt with illness. I’ve worked very hard for the better part of my life to never have that at the forefront of who I am. But if you were looking up “Stephanie” in the dictionary, my crohn’s/ostomy would be there.
I’m proud of how I’ve dealt with these issues over the years (maybe not every minute of it, but overall). I could never wish that I wasn’t diagnosed with Crohn’s because it would mean that I would be living a completely different life. I can even trace back meeting my husband to a series of events and decisions that stemmed from that diagnosis.
So I guess for me, IBD/ostomy is a part of the whole. You cannot get an accurate picture of who I am without it, but there are a lot of other aspects in there as well, equally or even more important.