I’ve been spending the past few days in upstate New York. My husband’s family lives up this way, so we’ve been enjoying some time with them and celebrating at his cousin’s wedding. It has been a wonderful time, but unfortunately, it coincided with a very important day for me: World Ostomy Day.
World Ostomy Day is meant to be a specific day where ostomates around the world come together to spread awareness and to show that their ostomies are not slowing them down. As an ostomy blogger, I kind of feel that every day is “Ostomy Day,” but it is important to have some time set aside to talk about it as a larger group. And I am still reeling from all of the awesomeness I saw happening yesterday and the stories that were being shared.
While I’m so glad we got to be a part of this wedding and I wouldn’t have changed anything about this weekend, it does make me sad that I was not able to participate in the day as much as I would have liked. I am disappointed that I did not get to run in the first WannaWearOne Ostomy AWEARness 5K in person, even though I still ran a 5K yesterday morning as part of the virtual run.
And I did keep up with the things that were going on for Ostomy Day, even if just on my phone between the ceremony and reception. And as I sit here on the back porch in the crisp fall, New York air, looking over one of the most beautiful views, I think about how thankful I am. I think about how thankful I am that I am not alone in this. That there are others out there who have dealt with some of the same things I have in the past, who live with some of the same struggles I do now, and who have found a new life living with an ostomy. I feel like that’s the real point of World Ostomy Day: to show others that an ostomy is not a death sentence.
I am so proud to be a part of such a strong group of people who are living life despite being dealt a pretty crappy hand and who are making the best of a difficult situation and who are learning to not be ashamed of being different, but rather to embrace the freedom they now have. These are people who inspire me and continue to push me forward. They give me strength to sit here and write and to share my story and to never, ever apologize for who I am or whatever may be hanging off of my stomach.
And I pray that this continues long past World Ostomy Day. I pray that people continue to tell their stories and not let having an ostomy hold them back from anything in this life. I was talking with my friend the other day and trying to brainstorm some good ostomy hashtags and she came up with one I love: #OstoMYstory. So I asked her if I could steal it!
This blog is where I tell my story, but I want to encourage you to not be afraid to tell yours, too. Be proud of what you have come through and the things you have fought against. Show the world that you can still live a fabulous, beautiful life with an ostomy! Happy Day-after World Ostomy Day!