A New Years New Attitude – Thank You Ms. Patti LaBelle

Lisa - Brooklyn, New York
Entered on January 4, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50

I never wanted to know this thing called an ileostomy. I never wanted to be sick, I just wanted my body back. It seems God had a different plan. Frankly, I’m really pissed off!!

At 41 this was supposed to be the happiest time in my life right? WRONG! The radical hysterectomy that removed a tumor, also removed a piece of me. Once vibrant I became frustrated, angry, depressed and for the first time the person who ‘fixed every one else’s problems’, couldn’t fix my own.

Four surgeries and the ‘waiting and hoping and wishing and praying’ only to be told that it didn’t work…this time. Of course I’m expected to keep it together, a brave face, to be ‘strong’, keep moving on with life because after all…it’s not ‘really cancer’…as if the loss of a body part and what it signifies, is any less a loss.

This roller-coaster ride wouldn’t stop. The highs were so high; I was hopeful. The lows so low, that I survived as it were, on 3 hrs of sleep. So many areas in my life suffered including a joyous time for a friend. Not just any friend, my BF. In all my frustration at surgery #4, I couldn’t fully embrace her pregnancy but I tried. The woman I shared everything with, the person whose secrets I know and who knows mine, I couldn’t share this with her. I would never feel a baby kick inside me, and that hit me like a ton of bricks.

If one more person tells me “Well you can always adopt.” I’m going to SCREAM…LOUDLY!! Even though, maybe one day I will.

Wanting to rejoice, I withdrew. I found it hard to look at her growing belly. Wanting to be with her, to fuss for her I couldn’t. There was so much self-pity involved. Why couldn’t people understand what this was doing to me (mentally, emotionally, physically)? Why was my life moving backwards? The answer was simple…Why Not Me?!

On a cold-grey day, 4-double scotches, feeling desperately alone and more tears than I can count, I came to grips with what will be my new life. I had a choice. I could continue to feel sorry for myself, or I could embrace the changes I’ve gone through and would continue to go through. I could ask for forgiveness not only of my family and friends, but also from myself.

So 2009 is going to be my ‘re-do’ year. I hope I will continue to move forward and life will be as it’s meant to be. To be able to love and laugh freely and with a light spirit. To reach out to people and say, “This load is too heavy, can you please help me.” The key is to accept whatever level of help they can provide, without expectation but with gratitude. For a very lucky woman living in a city I love, with family and friends and finding the strength to control the only thing I can…Me.