: End of November 2014 :
Hello friends! Who doesn’t like a good story!? Yeah, that’s right, I’m doing a special storytime and shout out to my support group today! But this isn’t just any story. I’m going to share an embarrassing story… And I’m about to put it on the Internet (Oh, geez, what am I doing?)
Honestly, a part of me wants to keep this story a secret—to tell just my closest friends, and let only them get a kick out of this laughable misfortune.
However, not sharing this story wouldn’t be creating a bridge, would it?
Not sharing this story because it’s slightly embarrassing would defeat the entire purpose of this blog; it would make my mission of being open and honest null and void.
After all, the purpose of this blog is to find the comical!
So I invite you to sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and get a laugh out of my comical misadventure.
Envision this. A crisp autumn morning, the sky a slate gray with bits of sun trickling through and the onset of winter in the air. It was November 2014, and as you’re aware, I was very recently diagnosed with ulcerative colitis just a few short weeks before.
During this time, I was still in the process of accepting my “new normal.” I was guzzling a high dosage of Prednisone pills each day to keep my inflammation and pain under control. Since my ulcers were rebellious and quite out of hand, some days the pain and urgency still overpowered the Prednisone—it seemed to be a constant battle between my colon and the steroid. Also, due to Prednisone’s strong chemical side effects, I was struggling with chronic fatigue, heightened emotions, and disconnection from my friends.
So truthfully, despite the beauty of this November day, I really didn’t feel like going outside of my room.
But, gosh, I love friends. Friends always know when to step in and encourage you to do something that’s good for you. And on this crisp autumn morning, my new friend and roommate, Lauren, suggested we get out and take a trip to Walmart.
Though I can’t recall the exact reason we decided to go, what I do remember is that she and I entered the store searching for different things. Lauren ventured one way and I went another.
I meandered to the journal and stationary aisle. If you don’t know this about me, I am obsessed with journals. Leather-bound, recycled wood, bold and inspiring designs, minimalist…the list is never-ending. As a writer, I probably have an overkill of journals and notebooks at my apartment, but I keep buying them because their blank pages call my name, whispering, Write me a story!
In this fanciful dream-like state, I perused the array of journals, lost in my own world. My colon must have gotten jealous, because it rudely interrupted my pleasant thoughts and shot a searing and all-too-familiar pain down my insides.
Like waking up from a fanciful daydream, my muscle memory took over! My feet located the quickest way out of the aisle, and my eyes scanned the borders of the building desperately searching for the bathroom. Neither it nor Lauren were anywhere in sight.
I tried to control my body. Tried to nonchalantly gaze around the store for the large bathroom sign. But, dang, this pain was intense and I could feel my breakfast slipping through every part of my digestive tract. Hold on there, buddy. Why you making a run for my butt like this before you’re properly digested?
A few frantic moments went by, and I could no longer hold my casual composure. I began to panic.
The food was hightailing it toward my bum like the Tasmanian devil itself.
My colon like an active volcano, I knew my time was limited. I felt my face flush with a clammy sweat, something that happens every time my colon tries to squeeze items out my body while the rest of me tries to hold it in.
Now speed-walking around, I found a Walmart employee and practically ran up to her asking for directions to the bathroom. She gave me guidance, and I barreled it in that direction.
Though, I must admit, I could only walk so fast. Let’s just say, there’s a certain technique to walking when your colon is plotting against you and doesn’t even have the decency to grant you enough time to line the toilet with a seat cover. So I speed-waddled with reckoning force.
But good news! The employee’s directions were correct and I happily scampered toward the overhead bathroom sign with the finish line in front of me.
Just an aisle-length left to go.
Door handle in my line of sight.
My mind was starting to celebrate already.
But then IT happened. You already guessed it.
Even through clenched cheeks.
Even through gritted teeth.
I sharted myself.
Yep. I felt a warm liquid on my bum. Ugh, on my yoga pants, no less! The feeling of dread raged throughout my body, and I sensed hot blood racing toward my face in embarrassment. So kicking it into high gear, I literally ran the rest of the way. I thank God the purse I was wearing that day had a long handle, so I was able to maneuver it to cover my butt as I sprinted.
Finding the first open stall, I slammed the door. Ahh finally. I was in the safety of the bathroom and the privacy of a stall; but I didn’t know what to do now. The stool had breezed its way through the first line of defense (my undies) and was seeping through my yoga pants. Why did I have to wear yoga pants today!?
With 0% chance of me walking through the rest of the store with a slimy behind, I immediately texted Lauren. Please go buy underwear and sweatpants and bring them to me in the bathroom! Just buy the cheapest ones you can find and I’ll pay you back. Oh! And bring a plastic bag!
In no time, Lauren’s voice echoed in the bathroom and I raised my hand over the stall to give her my location.
I was embarrassed.
I was laughing.
She was laughing.
How can you not laugh at sharting yourself?
I dressed myself in my new neon pink polka-dot underwear and sweatpants that were simultaneously too baggy and too short. I threw my undies away and shoved my yoga pants in the plastic bag, believing they could be salvaged. (They were).
And then we left.
No way was I going to continue to browse the store with a bag full of soiled yoga pants and neon pink peepin’ through gray sweats. We left without purchasing what we came in for. But we left with something even better: A genuine “bond-with-your-roommate quick” outing. We overrode several levels of friendship that day 🙂
Lessons I Learned from This Experience
This incident at Walmart is my—what I like to call—WalShart story: A tragic misadventure turned epiphany that deepened my optimistic worldview.
As someone who always strives to find the silver lining, there were a few things I took away from this unexpected adventure that I hope inspire you along your journey:
- In the stall while waiting for Lauren, I texted my high school friend Victoria what had just happened (we often share our embarrassing moments with each other). I ended the text by saying, “This disease is 99% sucky and 1% hilarious!”
- So, to my friends with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s: Throughout your journeys, embarrassing moments, and uncomfortable situations, I encourage you to find and focus on the 1%.
- No, sharting in public is not enjoyable. In fact, finding the silver lining and laughing at such instances might feel like the last thing you want to do in the moment. But choosing to find that silver lining and deciding to be optimistic will not only change the way you see yourself, it’ll alter the way you view the world.
2. Deepening Your Relationships & Support Group
- This incident also deepened my appreciation for my friends and my support group.
- Lauren was there for me, supported me, laughed with me, and was willing to stand in line purchasing the most outlandish undies and sweats to give to her friend in need.
- Victoria listened to my story and provided supplemental giggles and unconditional encouragement.
- I cannot stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with friends, especially at the beginning of your disease journey when you’re still getting used to your meds.
- Focus on strengthening your friendships with those who you can be excruciatingly open with.
I think you also may find that your friends who reply to your raw texts and who are willing to go out of their way to buy you fresh underwear are the truest.
In The Comical Colon’s Facebook group, let’s start a conversation:
Does this story hit close to home? Have you experienced a situation like this throughout your journey? I’d love to hear how did you handle it and what you did to find your silver lining.
I truly believe the way to bridge this disease type’s chasm of alienation, fear, being misunderstood, etc. is to connect and talk about it. Let’s find that silver lining. Let’s come together and discuss our fears, our trials, our triumphs. Let’s learn to find the comical in the deepest, darkest crevices of our guts!