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Cancer, Life's Challenges

A Cancer Story: The Gross Stuff

My eye

(Photo credit: neuroticcamel)

Because of the surgery I had where they removed the tumor and part of my colon I was left with a temporary ileostomy. For those who don’t know, a colostomy has to do with the large intestine, an ileostomy with the small intestine. Part of my small intestine was now on the outside of my body (not where it was intended to be), and a bag attached to the skin around it caught everything that came out. Note: the bag adhered with adhesive which, yes, sometimes failed. Not good.

Pretty gross stuff, really.

The protruding intestine is called a stoma or more sentimentally referred to as a “rosebud” because someone somewhere thought it resembled one. It doesn’t. If it did no one would ever stop to smell the roses.

Let it be clear, I hated the ileostomy and everything about it. The bag was a nuisance, it was difficult to conceal under my clothes, the odor was anything but rosey, and it needed to be emptied at the most inconvenient times and places. The stoma was gross, it, too, didn’t exactly smell pleasant, it was sensitive to touch and developed a nasty rash around it from the adhesive. Did I mention I hated it?

But. BUT . . . that ileostomy gave my damaged and traumatized colon the time to heal that it needed. It served a purpose and one that was ultimately for the good. And because of that nuisance I learned to deal better with the discomforts of life.

This taught me that the most important lessons in life aren’t learned on the mountain tops, but rather in the valley.

If we’re paying attention, we can learn something from hardships and trials. But we have to go through the darkness with our eyes open so we can see the pinpoints of light that show us the way through. To cover our eyes and hold them shut in an attempt to block out the shadows and obstacles that surround us is only to prolong our stay and set us up for certain misery.


About michaelkingbooks

I write stories of faith and family, love and loss, heartache and triumph. Here I blog about faith, relationships, and genuine living.


7 thoughts on “A Cancer Story: The Gross Stuff

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It is indeed the small things that teach us to endure through the bigger things. My husband’s father died from a fast moving colon cancer that one Dr. failed to do anything about. The joys of Medicare and being older?? Another topic/story. My husband and his sister have both had precancerous lesions removed. They hate those more frequent colonoscopies but those are part of the minor irritations that keep them around a little bit longer for their families to enjoy. When we endure those darker moments with eyes open we can see there is more to our journey than this blip that interrupts. I have a few medical tests I need to get through and seeing you post this is giving me some much needed courage.

    Posted by heidi | September 17, 2012, 11:43 am
  2. You are spot on with you analysis of the ileostomy. Although I didn’t deal with that, I did have to walk around for a couple of weeks with a catheter. I experienced most of the same “gross” experiences you did and also learned how to better deal with the negatives of life. It’s clear to me that while we don’t like them, God allows us to go through tough times that provide personal growth, if we choose the right perspective. Thanks for sharing your life experience and for the growth others will experience because of it.

    Posted by Bruce Brady | September 17, 2012, 12:24 pm
  3. Enjoyed this perspective on such a difficult procedure. My mom had colon cancer, and though she didn’t have to get a colostomy, we would’ve been happy if she did in order to keep her around longer!

    Posted by Heather Day Gilbert | September 17, 2012, 2:54 pm
  4. I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer Jan/09 at the age of 48.My surgery sounds pretty close to yours and the description of the surgery and dealing with the “bag” after was dead on. I can’t count how many times I was in a meeting/presentation and had a leak. Not fun and I thank god it was only for 11 mo.

    Posted by Sue Adams | October 14, 2012, 1:29 pm

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