New Year, New Job!

by Rakhee Patel

New Year New Job

Going back out into the world of employment again – 2 years after my stoma surgery

Last month - almost 2 years to the day after I had surgery to remove my colon - I started my new job. Up until then, I had been doing some freelance work from home but nothing close to full-time, 9-to-5 employment. Although I was incredibly excited to be going out into the world again, my mind was racing with nervous thoughts. Would my body be able to cope? What if I get ill and let my employer down? And the one it all boils down to... what if I’m not good enough?

I was so busy, I had no time to worry

As my start date drew closer and closer, the tension in my body and mind only became stronger. Yet, by some kind of saving grace, on my very first day I found myself completely free of anxiety. “How?”, I hear you ask. Well, when you’re dropped into a huge office with dozens of names to learn, a handful of passwords to remember and numerous different buildings to visit, there is little space left in the mind for worry. To quote Kimberly Wilkins (of YouTube fame) - “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” The power of distraction is indeed powerful.

A reminder that there is so much more to me than ‘just’ being an ostomate

Being back at work has reminded me that there are so many different facets of myself. I’m not just ostomate Rakhee or Rakhee with Crohn’s. I’m also Rakhee who’s good with Excel or Rakhee who’s super organised. I like it.

I don’t want sympathy from my colleagues

I do acknowledge that there is a part of me still lacking in confidence. It is the little voice inside my head telling me that my colleagues might think less of me if they knew my story and I still hesitate when people ask me what I was doing before I took on this position. Being vague only seems to leave people confused; honesty is usually a good call but I’m afraid of being labelled the “ill girl.” Sympathy is the last thing I need!

A whirlwind adventure and I’m appreciating every minute

Coming back to a professional environment after such a long time away from the world of work has been - and some days still is - a whirlwind adventure. Bar some extreme tiredness (meditation helps), my body has coped with the practicalities and the lifestyle change wonderfully and I thank it every day. Yes, I’m still a little unsure about how I want to identify and portray myself to others but that’s ok for now. I find that reminding myself that I underwent a 7 hour surgery and lived to tell the tale is a pretty good boost for my self-esteem in moments of doubt.

...Not that I’m boasting or anything :p

About the author

I'm Rakhee, I have had a loop ileostomy and now have an end ileostomy due to Crohn's disease. Happy to share my journey!

Recent Comments

  • Geetika Guleria

    Hi Rakhee, could you tell if you faced any complications owing to ileostomy. Where did you have your surgery performed?

  • Rakhee

    Hi Geetika, Thanks for getting in touch. I had my surgery in Leicester, UK. The ileostomy itself has not given me any problems at all. In fact, it has greatly improved my quality of life. Although the operation itself went well, one of my surgical wounds took a long time to heal. For this reason I had to wait a while before I could reap the rewards of the surgery. The decision to have the surgery was a very personal one. I felt that it was the right thing for me at the time and still do but each individual case is unique. Hope that helps.

  • Chetan Patel

    Hello Rakhee, My mother just had a stoma after a serious emergency surgery where she had blockage of her bowel due to scar tissue. She's not coping too well and very emotional especially when the pain increases. As you can imagine, it's a very emotional time for her and people around her as it's hard to see her in pain and not be able to help her. During this, your posts are very motivational. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Rakhee

    Hi Chetan, It is, of course, an understandably difficult time for your Mum what with being in pain then having to accept living with a stoma. If she is particularly emotional, I would say that is fine. It's all part of the process. I also used to cry a lot too but actually people who get called 'motivational' usually have been through an emotionally difficult time at some point in life. As for the people around me, the best thing they have ever done is believe in me and have faith in my ability to, not only cope but strive during whatever situation I am in. You sound like a very caring son. Much respect to you and thank you for your kind compliments.

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