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Size Double Zero Jeans for Christmas

Christmas After Colectomy

I smelled. I was gross.

It was December 23rd and I had just been discharged from the hospital the day before. I had been there for six months. My weight was down around 90 pounds which is not good for a female of 5’5″. During my time in the hospital my muscles atrophied so I was unable to climb the stairs up to my bedroom so we made me a “bedroom” in the living room. I used the pull-out couch as my bed and we moved a small TV and set it on top of the bench for the organ that I used to play. We had also dumped 6 months worth of bags filled with hospital crap: discharge papers, stuffed animals, other random gifts I had received, medical supplies, and the high calorie shakes I was supposed to drink. 

Christmas was in two days.

Clothes for My New Underweight Body

I surely wasn’t feeling very festive that holiday season. My mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I didn’t know what to tell her. 

Clothes, I guess.

I needed clothes that would fit my new underweight body. 

She took me to the mall to look for some clothes to buy me for Christmas and to my surprise I couldn’t find any jeans that fit until we went into American Eagle where they sell size double zero. I went to the fitting room to try them on and even though they were still baggy we went with them. I got a pair in 00 and a pair in 0. After that we found some extra small sweaters and called it a day because I was too tired to shop. For the next few months any time I needed to wear real clothes I would wear my double zero jeans with pajama pants underneath them to help hold them up.

A snow globe. Inside is a girl standing next to an IV pole and a pile of presents. She has an ostomy bag and a surgery scar

Coming to Terms with What Happened

Everything felt different after coming homeI was different. Six months is a long time but in a way it’s also not very much time at all. Not enough time to wrap your head around an ostomy, a J-pouch, what surgery does, and everything else that had happened. So while my hospitalization felt like it was forever, in the grand scheme of things not enough time had passed for me to adjust to my new body and my new life. In fact, I didn’t know what life would be like at all.

I hadn’t put on makeup for about 8 months. I hadn’t styled my hair in just as long. I lived in hospital gowns and sometimes pajamas. My hair had almost all fallen out and I had a tooth chip while I was in the hospital. My body was very underweight and my skin as pale as a ghost. I forgot what it was like to feel pretty. I forgot what it was like to be normal. To just do very “normal people” things like have routine – get up, shower, get ready, go to a job or to school and then come home and do things. 

It had been so long. My recent attempts at taking a shower involved turning on the shower and then not being able to stand so I’d sit there in the tub with my tale bone protruding so much that it hurt to sit there. Then I just let the water fall onto me. I was so worn out afterward I had to lay down for the rest of the day. 

Christmas morning came and I opened presents with my sister. What a surprise! I got size 00 jeans and some sweaters. Never saw them coming! Later that evening my parents, my sister (my brother had just moved to Tennessee), and I went to visit with my dad’s side of the family. 

What do people without colons even eat? 

I went. It was different. I kept thinking about everything I had been through. Weird thoughts like,

This is my first Christmas without a large intestine. 

Can I even eat any of this without a colon? 

What do people without colons even eat? 

My mind was so wrapped around how much had changed for me. I enjoyed time with my sister and my cousins but I was just so exhausted. This is the most I had done in so long and all I wanted to do was go home and collapse. My Aunt and Uncle ended up offering their guest bedroom to me where I went to lay down and fell asleep for hours until my family was ready to leave. 

Once home I slipped my underweight body into pajamas, set my blue hospital pad on my bed under me, and fell asleep. I was still having accidents every night and had a fear that they would never subside. On one hand I felt so lucky to be alive after all I had been through and on the other hand I was afraid that my life would never get better. 

And that was how I spent my first Christmas after colectomy.

My sister, cousin, and I sitting on the stairs. The bannister is wrapped in garland

Sara

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