In this weeks post we have a very special guest writer. Krista, aka @my.gut.instinct is someone in which I have admired from a far for months now. I have been following her Instagram for months now and I have really loved looking at the way she lives her life with Crohn’s disease. Krista offers a perspective that I could not speak to, that of a teacher and an ostomate. I thought that getting her perspective on my blog would help some of you who are considering teaching as a career or considering an ostomy. I hope you enjoy, and make sure to follow her on her Instagram @my.gut.instinct.
Hi, my name is Krista. I’m 27 years old and I’ve been living with Crohn’s disease for eighteen
years. I’m going to share my story and how I cope now with my ostomy as a new teacher. I have been teaching Kindergarten for four years and every day is different and full of surprises. It wasn’t always the most idealistic job for somebody with IBD.
Let’s rewind to the last couple of years where I had just started my teaching career. My disease really started progressing in my early 20’s as I attended University to become a teacher. My main symptoms were nausea, incontinence, abdominal and rectal pain, I also became anemic, underweight and malnourished due to my symptoms. I struggled a lot with being at work. I would spend an hour before work running to the bathroom. I wouldn’t eat anything because I didn’t want to have an accident, even though I wore an adult diaper every day because most days I would have an accident. I became very anxious, leaving the house was a huge trigger and especially driving to and from work. When I was teaching, I would have to run into the hallway to vomit in a trash can. I knew I couldn’t keep up living this way, not only was my physical health suffering but it started affecting my mental health. Seven months ago, I decided to undergo surgery. I made a huge medical decision after years of debating. I had enough of letting this disease take over my body and my life. I begged my doctors for an ostomy surgery, where I would wake up to pooping in a bag. Yup, I chose this because I knew it would give me so much more life. It has allowed me to be myself again, I am finally feeling happier, healthier and stronger.
How Do You Cope with Your Ostomy as a Teacher?
Now that I have an ostomy, I get to enjoy teaching so much more. I am not worried about
finding a bathroom or trying to figure out when I can run off to use the bathroom. I simply
empty my bag right before and after class. I barely have any more nausea, I’m able to enjoy
food again. I pretty much do my teaching job the same but the only difference is that I’m
healthier and able to be 110% present with my students. I am open about my ostomy, all of my coworkers knew about my surgery and supported me during and after. When I went back to work which was only eight weeks post-op, I had another teacher in the classroom with me to support me to make sure I would be okay. I think knowing that I had so much support helped me get back on my feet and made me feel confident that I could take this task on again so soon after surgery. It really does take a community!
How Do You Deal with Confidence with an Ostomy?
Honestly, I think my confidence with my ostomy comes down to how much better I’ve been
feeling since surgery. My ostomy hasn’t held me back but it has actually helped me move
forward in my life. I can actually say that I love my ostomy and I think that a big part of the
reason is because I chose this. I didn’t have emergency surgery or anything like that. I had the opportunity to mentally prepared myself for years before it actually happened. Some people might think that this would ruin my life but it actually changed my life for the better. I might not always like the way my ostomy looks but I can tell you that I love the way it makes me feel.
How Do You Manage Work, Life Balance While Having a Chronic Illness?
I was forced to reduce my hours at work to part-time when I got really ill three years ago.
Doctors told me if I continued, I would be back in the hospital. Working part-time allows me to be able to have afternoons off where I can come home and rest or attend appointments. I find at least one thing to do for myself every day. Some days, I need a nap, or a bath, maybe a walk, reading a book, or going to get my nails done. I have become better at listening to what my body needs and when I need to slow down. I like to use the weekends to recharge and do fun things like going for walks and hikes in the mountains, going to the market with my husband or catching up with my girlfriends. I feel like I can only be my best possible self when I fill up my cup, I put my health in front of everything else because without it I have nothing! I try and remember that it doesn’t matter the pace I’m going as long as I am moving forward. I can’t wait to see what my ostomy will allow me to do in the years to come!
Thank you so much Nathalie for reaching out and asking to share my story!
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Your Trusty Gutsy Gal,