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When Your Doctor Says the S-Word: My J-Pouch Story (Part Three)

The day of my sister’s wedding had finally arrived. Everyone was happy and excited. I was, too. but I also had more pressing issues on my mind. Surgery was in three days.

I was on so much medication and the sickest I’d ever been

I was on tons of medication. Biologics, steroids, something for the pain and muscle spasms, anti-diarrheal and hemorrhoid cream. All in the name of love for my sister. My joints were swollen and achy. My face was puffy. I had hemorrhoids the size of grapes and I was the sickest I’d ever been. But I had to fake it. This was her day.


I kept avoiding the questions of surgery. I kept telling other people, “This is Crystal’s day! We will worry about me when the time comes.” The truth was, I didn’t want to think about it. Although Crystal’s wedding was a great distraction, surgery was constantly on my mind. I knew I’d break down into tears if I thought about it for too long.

I was also constantly thinking about how I looked. I was pale, my hair was thinner than ever and my face was huge. I felt ugly and out-of-place surrounded by the beautiful decorations… and of course, my sister looked like Barbie! You are so vain, Amber! I thought to myself.

Pain and heartache from ulcerative colitis

And so the wedding began. It was beautiful. As my sister and her husband made their vows, I looked out to where my husband was sitting. No one quite knows what they are getting into when they promise to love, honor and cherish someone for better for worse, in sickness and health. My husband, thankfully, has never wavered in his commitment. Despite all the pain and heartache ulcerative colitis put us through.

The reception was equally beautiful. I smiled and cried as I watched Crystal dance with our dad. I felt a twinge of envy as everyone else made it out to the dance floor and partied the night away. My steroid-riddled knees wouldn’t allow for dancing and I was far too weak to try.

Using the bathroom was excruciating and painful

Any time I went to the bathroom it was excruciating. Despite all the medications, my bowels were determined to rebel against me. The pain, cramping, burning, throbbing that was a constant in my life. It’ll all be over soon, I kept telling myself.

By the time the night was over, I was completely exhausted. But, I made myself useful and helped clean up afterward anyway. Strange, isn’t it? You can be the sickest person in the world and still feel guilty for not doing enough. I was so ready to get some sleep.

Surgery was constantly on my mind

My husband and I started saying our goodbyes. “Bye, Mama!” I said, hugging her, “I’ll see you Monday.”

I’ll be there, Baby.” She replied with tears in her eyes.

I’ll be there bright and early!” Dad assured me with one last hug.

My husband and I got in the car and began the long drive home. The whole way there, I kept trying to distract myself. But it was impossible.

How are you?” My husband asked.

I still don’t think it’s sunk in yet.” I said.

Read Part Four

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.