The “Perfect Wedding Dress” Isn’t Made for My Body
In June 2015, I officially tied the knot. As I look back on my wedding photos, I see joy in my eyes, love beaming off my husband’s face, and my beautiful gown, which was big enough to cover the two ostomy bags attached to my body. My ostomy bags are my last reminders of one night that left my world forever changed, the day I became — as my surgeons fondly call me — a “surgical disaster.”
My medical condition is hard to quantify. I don’t have a formal diagnosis or illness. It began in 2005. It was a week before my senior prom. I had begun to receive my college acceptance letters. On the night of our family Passover Seder — a favorite holiday of mine, reminding me of Spring, renewal, redemption, and good things to come — I felt something that I had never experienced before.
It started off as a stomach ache, a simple stomach ache that escalated into excruciating pain, never ceasing, and only growing worse for two entire days. As the pain grew more and more intense, my father drove me to the emergency room for a routine x-ray, although my physician reassured us that it was only gas. On the way to the hospital, (as my mother has told me) my cheeks suddenly puffed up like a chipmunk, and I collapsed as soon as I tried to get out of the car. After that, I don’t remember anything else but the physical sensations of awful pain. All I remember is gradually waking up from a coma months later, faced with a crowd of doctors who told me I didn’t have a stomach anymore. On top of that, couldn’t eat or drink anything, and they didn’t know when or if I’d ever be able to again. What do you say to that?
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I was shocked.