I did it. After several years of being restricted by a disobedient bowel program, I traveled solo for the first time after the BCIR procedure.
With a spinal cord injury, everything is planned around a schedule. And when part of that schedule cannot be managed, it throws all of life off.
Am I Ready?
After having surgery in 2018 to be able to manage my bowel program with a continent ostomy, I was wondering if I had actually lost my life rather than regaining it. Slowly I’ve been getting back my pre-surgery strength and endurance.
But when the president of the organization I work for asked me to attend a conference, I was hesitant to say yes. All of the “What ifs” came to mind.
Could I empty my new pouch in an unfamiliar setting? Would I be able to eat food that wouldn’t complicate things (since my diet isn’t quite back to normal)?
I decided to live up to my motto: If I’m not living outside my comfort zone, then I’m not really living.
So I signed up for the conference and booked my plane tickets. Of all places for this conference to be, it was in Orlando, Florida: the state I was in for my 15-week stay in the hospital. God certainly has a sense of humor.
I Did It
Even with my concerns, everything went smoothly. As always, I had to modify my surroundings to make it work. I still don’t feel comfortable intubating (emptying the pouch with a catheter) in a public restroom. Thankfully, the hotel was very close, so I simply ran over and back before dinner. (Okay, I rolled over, if you want to be technical.)
I’ve proven to myself I can get back to traveling.
I was free from worry about “accidents.” Eating the food served was not a concern – I simply skipped a few side dishes to be safe.
Although I was exhausted upon my return, I put into practice some good self-care. And after some introvert time, I was back in the office.
Hopefully, this is just a glimpse of more great things to come.