A good friend of mine who has experienced a loss gave me some great advice when he found out about my ostomy adventure that I’ve found to be true and inspiring. Here’s what he said:

Nobody gets to leave this world with everything they entered it with. However with loss there is gain. You find out just how resilient you are. You learn you can take a punch. You discover that you are capable of more. In fact, you discover that you have no idea what you are capable of. You stretch and you reach because you are unafraid. You start to believe that you survived for a reason. That sends you on a search for that reason. You are no longer aimless. You find purpose in finding purpose. You no longer waste time. You pack your life with important things. You become happy and calm. And when you are challenged again people will marvel at how well you weather your troubles. You will marvel at how well you weather your troubles. Then when you are old like me you will be able to offer wisdom to someone else. Hey, maybe that is our purpose after all!

– Len Esparza

It’s okay to grieve!

After he sent me the above, I asked if he had any tips for grieving as I’d realized I had started to grieve the loss of my colon and didn’t want to find myself in a downward spiral. Here are Len’s tips for grieving a loss.

  • Grieve. Get pissed. Feel sorry for yourself. Say ‘why me’. As much and as hard and as fast as you can.
  • Wake up one day and realize you can’t be sad forever. Resolve to be sad but never, ever for more than a couple of days.
  • Wake up one day and realize you were born and you were spared and that there is a reason for that. Resolve to find the reason.
  • Read everything you can read about loss and rebirth. Be careful, there is a lot out their that is written for people that want to stay fixed in their tragedy, and that is poison. You will know these when you see them. 230 pages of loss and 5 on rebirth. Also, stay away from people that only talk about loss or feel sorry for you. They may mean well but they are not going to help you.
  • Wake up one day and realize you have been made harder and tougher by your experience and feel less fearful of what the universe may do to you. Maybe even think about getting even!
  • Grieve again but remind yourself about step 2.
  • Become more fearless. Stretch, reach, search, set goals, risk, achieve goals or set new goals. Repeat.
  • Forgive the universe for what it did to you.
  • Help others.
  • Live like there is no tomorrow, only a future.

The power of the mind is incredible; convince your mind that your ostomy is your best friend and nothing can stop you!