Called out by my 4 year old granddaughter as I walked into the living room. Honesty from the mouths of the innocent little ones. With chuckles and laughs, I peeked into the mirror, and she is right! I’m in the 6th decade of my life journey and my body is reflecting the mileage, pain and wonder, of a life that was almost cut short several years ago.
When my stoma Percy was created there was instantly a rupture in the normal course of my life. It was an emergency lifesaving surgery, and I was left stunned into incomprehension. Ostomy had never been discussed, I didn’t really know what an ostomy was, I only knew some folks eliminate in a pouch, whatever that meant. The tragedy of the illness that brought me to that point, and the physical alteration the would be permanent, sent me on a turbulent intellectual, emotional and physical, pilgrimage to discover the meanings in and of my life.
Although my colon was no longer connected, my whole being began to reconnect as I began to recount and then discover what is important to me, what is meaningful, and what is not meaningful anymore. The pain revealed things not otherwise had ever been seen by me. When I arrived at the core of my pain it marked the moment when what was unseen in normal circumstances became more visible.
My pilgrimage continued, I stepped beyond the core as I expanded my insights through the communication and connection with other ostomates. Their experiences and observations became my teacher. Through the teachings I progressively modified my own knowledge base and my attitude.
With each new pain, tragedy, joy, and life triumph experienced during the bonus times of this life journey, I am alive. With each experience I am given the opportunity to expand and enhance the depth of meaning of the beauty of life. The beauty of living life large, living every tiny piece of intimacy, and living life to the fullest, in spite of it all.
With a moustache, wrinkles, bulges, sags and my stoma Percy, I am not an extraordinary person. I am rather, an everyday person, an average Jo with a deep love of life. I never expected this turn in my life journey. But as I have learned, in the heart of any and all human pain, tragedy, joy and triumph, there are things that we never dreamt and imagined.
Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
“Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”