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the cancer has humbled me

Christy76's picture
Posts: 30
Joined: Feb 2019

When I was in my early twenties I went through a deep depression. I stopped working and I slept all day and did nothing. My family and eventually the therapists I got sent to all told me I was lazy and needed to get a job. I got some minimum wage jobs that paid next to nothing. I ended up living in motel rooms and sleeping on co-workers couches while driving cars that should have been off the road at least ten years prior.

After several years of living like this I got tired of it. I managed to find some blue collar work in a warehouse that paid a living wage. It was hot in their in the summer and there was a high school mentality amoung the employees but I stuck it out. From then on I worked at one warehouse or factory or another. I learned to drive the lift equipment I was so afraid of in the beginning. I learned how to be responsible and I got on my feet an stopped living in motel rooms. When a problem reared it's ugly head I took care of it myself. I put money away in case of unexpected bills, I made sure the rent was paid and so I had at the very least a warm permanent place to sleep at night. When the transmission on my car went out I was ready for it and so shifted it into a gear that was still working and drove it to the dealership and traded it in, problem solved.

Now I have cancer and the doctor told me it is ideal that I do not work. My income has been severly reduced and the sugreon said he recommends a permanent colostomy that will make me inable to return to the work I used to do. I'm right back where I was in my early twenties only now I'm in my early forties. 




SandiaBuddy's picture
Posts: 1187
Joined: Apr 2017

Christy: Your independence and self-reliance are admirable and are likely a trait that many here understand and share.  Please do not get ahead of yourself in deciding what the results of surgery will be.  For example, I went into surgery expecting they would remove 60% of my colon, but once they got in there, they only removed 25%.  There are many things that cannot be estimated in advance.  Also, I believe many people on the board will be able to comment on what you can do with a colostomy.  Sometimes it is easy to live your life focused on the past or the future.  If one can learn to focus on the present, it can open the door to a richer life.

JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Hi Christy,

I'm sorry about your diagnosis, it's a devastating thing to be told. So hard emotionally. From your story you're obviously a scrapper and that will help you a lot in this. I know people with colostomies and they're doing normal things and nobody would know. The only reason I know is because I have an illeostomy so they've told me. I hated it at first but now I'm grateful for it. It's kind of handy not having to pass solids or pass wind! I had IBS forever before this and now I don't, it's great! A drug that gives me diarrhea? So what. A food that might bother my tummy? Whatever. I joke about it, especially the not passing wind part. I thought it would bother me but it doesn't. At first I was horrified but it's just part of life and part of what's making me better. 

I was told before I got mine that there's a local bullrider with one and he still competes. I was worried I wouldn't be able to ride my horse but nothing has changed in what I can do because of it. It doesn't hurt, it's just there.

To be honest, now I wish they'd done a colostomy instead of an illeostomy because I still get some drainage out of there. But it is what it is.

Take care. Surgery is the best way to deal with this, things like chemo and radiation are secondary.


KarenMG's picture
Posts: 109
Joined: Jun 2017

Wow, you have been through a lot. It sounds like you are strong and independent and that will definitely be an asset to you through this. I'm so sorry about your cancer diagnosis, it is quite a shock to hear.

I went through about 7 years of a totally disabling mental illness also and got better, was never able to return to a nursing job, it's too demanding for someone with a serious mental illness, even if you are pretty much recovered. Talk about stress!

Yes, and it was just 5 years later that I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. I thought my symptoms were the results of getting off the psych meds...that was traumatic. However, that was September '16 and I'm still here fighting. I also had severe depression and I think that it makes this all the more challenging, but like you I am prepared for a fight. I've had a lot of different kinds of treatments, maybe not done as much as I could have and put off some treatments. I once said I would never do chemo due to my experiences working with cancer patients, but you never know what you really will do when faced with something like this.

I feel like the emotional wreck of this board, maybe not, but I'm sure more vocal about than most I think! I recommend getting a good therapist to talk to, it's good to get all that out and they can make good suggestions and referrals. I finally found a wonderful one.

My best to you and don't be afraid to reach out if you are feeling low.


Kazenmax's picture
Posts: 453
Joined: Feb 2016

i had to get a permanent colostomy as well. I think you will have to be careful with your recovery. No lifting heavy things.i guess that’s why you will not be able to work. But perhaps after you heal, you can lift more. I can understand that it concerns you but it sounds like although you may take a break from life, you dont totally give up.

take it one day at a time. It’s very hard to predict what the future holds. Cross that bridge when you get to it....

(I don’t know if anyone has noticed but I’m pretty good at using metaphors! Lol)

We are with you all the way.

take care


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