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The article ‘The Rise and Fall of Circus Freakshows’ begins with the following –

In 19th century America, gawking at people who were born with deformities was not only socially acceptable — it was considered family entertainment.

P.T. Barnum made millions by capitalizing on this. His “freakshows” brought together an amalgam of people considered to be curiosities — bearded ladies, tattooed men, the severely disfigured, and the abnormally short and tall — many of whom were unwillingly forced into the industry as young children.

In my post ‘I remain grateful (Reader Discretion Is Advised)‘, I wrote the following –

In 5 days, this coming Monday, I will no longer have control of my urination.

Let me be honest, one more time, I have always been honest here on my blog and at times direct.

In 5 days, this coming Monday, I will have a stoma or also referred to as a urostomy, an ileal conduit or urinary diversion.

I will have a pouch or bag on the outside of my body to collect my urine.  I will no longer have control of my urination.

In today’s post, I write the following –

In yesterday’s video post, I mentioned the physical strength is slowly becoming better, but at times my mind is weak when dealing with the changes made to my body.  As with the physical strength, I know the mental strength will increase as well.

A comment on yesterday’s post from my friend and fellow blogger Osyth included the following words –

….your psyche is bound to ricochet back and forth but you are endeavouring and doing your best and that is all you can ask of yourself.

This is a great description of what my mind is going through during the past several weeks and most likely weeks to come.

I am home recovering from my surgery and at times my typing continues to be a little slow and at times the computer is limited because I need to rest.  During rest sometimes I will voice record my thoughts.

About a week ago, I voice recorded the following –

It is in the afternoon and I decided to take a nap and I lay here by myself because Gary is at the gym.  I feel the urostomy bag touch my waist area and I start to cry.  I cry because I do not feel – I no longer feel whole, I feel defective.  I feel like a freak.  I feel unattractive and this is just something I have to become accustomed to.  But these are my feelings right now.  I know there are many people in the world that have bags on the side of their bodies to collect urine and other body waste and maybe other things I don’t even know about.  But this is me, this is new to me and though my recovery from my surgery is going well, my physical body and the emotional part of it is going well also – I still have my moments.   I still have my moments where I just feel different, I don’t feel myself. 

I feel like a freak.


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54 thoughts on “Freakshows

  1. Hugs, dear. I remember when my dad had cancer (the 2nd time) and chemo. I had to help him daily for a few months because chemo made him too weak to drive or pay attention for long periods. He’d always been incredibly fit and healthy, and I think it embarrassed him that I had to see him like that. It scared me a bit, too, those first few days, and I learned to wake in a moment because I was so worried about screwing up and sleeping through the bell I put at his side.

    He couldn’t (or wouldn’t) talk about it, though, to let me know what was bothering him the most, which made it difficult. I didn’t expect him to pour his heart out or anything, because he never did anything like that and was rather reserved, a born deflector. It would’ve made it easier–maybe for both of us–if we knew how to talk about it. At least he was totally honest with the nurse that came to visit on home check up days about his symptoms and all–I really would’ve freaked if he’d been withholding anything.

    So, you’re doing something good here, even if it’s restricted and you’re not sure about it. You’re being honest, and though it’ll be ups and downs (and you had a doozy of a down, it seems), you’re healing in other ways.

    Hugs again, and be good to yourself and those around you. Rest, breathe, love, eat, etc. Have a better one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate your understanding and know what has taken place with my body, I will grow accustomed to it. This is new to me and I will go through my range of emotions and then all will be better. I appreciate your comment and stopping by today to read. Hope you have a great day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First I am humbled and glad that my words spoke fairly and accurately of the way you feel. Second, of course you are not a freak …. you are a different version of you but I cannot imagine how it must feel to be this different version of self and I will not insult you by saying it’ll all be fine and you’ll get used it or any other platitudes that might make ME feel better because it ticks the box of trying to make you feel better. You have been deformed, defaced necessarily but it is still cruel and it will take time and many emotional swings before you accept the new version of you, the version which doesn’t anymore do things that most of us take for granted. You have every right to cry, to sob, to scream to holler and shout and to dispair. All the while I will be here just being a support from afar, never belittling you and not telling you how you should feel. I will be your Friend because you are that rare thing in my life …. a real friend. So Mr Flamingo, you go ahead and feel as you feel and I will go ahead and stand firm and stout and hold you up with all my might. Hugs (or as we call them here bisous) from France which I still intend to show you some day. So there

    Liked by 3 people

    • Osyth, always a nice comment with support and words that bring a smile to me. I will adjust and grow with the changes to my body and accept. Having friends such as yourself help me tremendously through this tough time.
      Merci mon ami! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Terry – your feelings and emotions are very very normal. But remember – cancer cannot change YOU – the real YOU – your heart – your soul – your being – your physical body may change, but YOU are still wonderful YOU – and that is what we all love most! Physical appearance and changes are fleeting – hearts and souls and realness are forever! xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Of course, you do, it’s normal and natural, and it totally sucks! Having the urostomy bag, sucks! And you’re totally allowed to have these thoughts and feelings, never apologise or feel prompted to add, “but I’m getting more positive.” We know you are strong and confident and that these thoughts are all part of the healing from a terrible situation and surgery. Thank you for your honesty, keep healing my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Anyone who minds doesn’t matter, anyone who matters, doesn’t mind. Nothing about YOU has changed, just a bit of your physical self and while that’s uncomfortable, in time you’ll become used to it. I’ve said before I’m envious on some level…no more midnight dashes to the pot, scaring the dog and tripping over things in the dark. We love you just the way you are!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Terry, the emotions of a drastic change must be a constant roller coaster. At some point I imagine it will coast to a smooth run. Time has a way of healing, both the body and the soul. May you weather this roller coaster ride and find a comfortable place. Positive people like you have more strength than most of us. Bless you, hang in there, and keep writing. We will keep reading and being there for you. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my sweet friend, firstly you are not a freak, and will never ever be a freak. I fully understand the havoc that is going on in your mind. That is understandable completely. A part of you has changed, you deal and see this change every minute of everyday, it cannot be easy. In time though, I am sure you will adjust and mentally things will improve. I fully understand, that you have your days and your moments, you are human. You have gone through so much, you have had to deal with so much, at some point, you are allowed to show emotion. Physically you are improving and mentally you will improve, just take one day at a time my friend, Big hugs x

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Freak? Nope! When you’re feeling blue, try to think of yourself as having had a remodelling. Sending hugs and virtual spoons, but don’t wear those spoons out in public or people will think you’re weird. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Well you certainly know that WE do not think of you as a freak, but I can see how this drastic change can be hard to process. Even when I had lip surgery to remove cancer, I felt I had to hide my face from the stares (they left the wound wide open, saying it would heal better that way. It did, you don’t even notice a scar!) That being said, as others have expressed, give yourself some time to process your “new way” of life. Mine was only temporary, so your adjustment will take much longer. We are hear to listen! Gentle hugs, Terry.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Most of us can only imagine how you feel and how this bag must suck. But you are not and never will be a freak because of it, dear Terry. Your mind is playing tricks with your psyche these days, but this will pass. As soon as you´re feeling better your own perspective on things, especially on your appearance will improve too. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The mental healing is as important as the physical healing. Give yourself time to mentally cope. If you’re mentally strong, the physical body will have a better chance to progress in it’s healing process – even if it doesn’t perform as it used to.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This post made me cry Terry. Know that you are not a freak no matter what is happening. You are an amazing man who inspires people with your words. Your journey is a testimony to your strength to endure and your love for Gary. You both inspire me. Sending you lots of hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think I would feel much like you but modern life allows us to be saved with new treatments and I am very glad that you have survived such a long operation. After my hysterectomy I felt relieved but even more painfully aware that I could never have children and that something was missing, even if it was defective and tumor filled. Much love K xx
    PS Sorry I have been absent but I just couldn’t cope with anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s perfectly normal to feel that what’s going on with you is not normal – it isn’t! But it’s the best option under the circumstances, and cognitively you understand it. Emotionally, though, every change is traumatic, and what you are going through is traumatic to the extreme! You are doing a great job adjusting, and you will, in time, adjust. Meanwhile, allow yourself to cry, if that’s what you feel like. That’s normal, too. It’s not a sign of weakness, but only an adjustment process.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Even though I can not imagine how you feel, I have had more than one person in my life that had to live with bags to collect body waste and fluid…..was it difficult to become accustomed….you betcha….and to this day they have days where they are down….all I know is that like everything in life, they adjusted to their new reality, do they like it, nope, is it a pain in the arse, most time…..but I know one thing….we, your friends and family are happy that you are here and are all trying to understand what your going through…..and I am glad your here fighting and working on getting back your life……I am so sorry for what cards were dealt in your hand of life….but sure glad your here and my friend…..xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxkat

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have taken care of patients after a surgery like that and crying was very common in response to the changes. I held a few hands in silence during those tears and would try a pep talk. But, pep talks only do so much when there are real emotions to process. I hope each day gets easier and easier!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I appreciate your understanding. It is becoming easier, though some days a little more difficult than others. As you indicate, real emotions to process – it will take some time.


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