Valentine’s Day… a wonderful holiday in which the exchange of chocolates, notes of love and giant teddy bears are given as a sign of affection to those we love. I love Valentine’s Day (don’t judge me!)… mostly because it gives me a reason to spoil my husband. I will freely admit to you that despite the fact that I’m a Tom Boy at heart, I’m also a hopeless romantic. I didn’t always love it, though… there was a time that I hated everything about it. I have very good reasons for it, too!
Valentine’s Day 2001
Picture this… 16-year-old girl, going to the orthodontist. No candy for you, little girl… you have to get a device of torture installed in your face. Yes, that’s right. Braces. I remember the pain and begging my mother to take me back to get them taken off. I will NEVER forget that pain. I cried and cried. It was awful. I know, I know… “That’s nothing!” you say. Well, when you’re young, have never had any big physical injuries, no ulcerating colon (at that point anyway), no broken bones, braces is a big deal. The worst experience I had before that was having my wisdom teeth removed and that was horribly unpleasant, too.
In my mind this was the worst Valentine’s Day ever… Little did I know…
Valentine’s Day 2006
Fast forward to five years later. Twenty-one years old… I was supposed to have my very first Valentine and Valentine’s Day date. I was excited. I couldn’t wait. We were going to get ice cream. I got all dolled up. 7 o’clock rolled around. 8 o’clock. 9 o’clock. 10 pm, he calls me. Angry, hurt and crying I don’t answer (he had been rude to me earlier that day… angrily told me he was going to call me about it when he was ready to go). To this day I have NO idea why he was so angry. After he called several more times, I answered, he blamed me for the cancelled date and broke up with me on the spot. No explanations. No excuses. Nothing. Then I got fussed at for writing “Happy Valentine’s Day – Love, Amber” on his window… but I didn’t. Someone else decided they’d do it for me without my knowledge or his consent! There was no point in explaining that it wasn’t me… someone had signed my name to it.
I was crushed. I pined over that one for a whole year. My “first love.” Looking back, I’m thankful it never happened. I thought he was the one (oh young, naive self…). But he wasn’t. And I’m so thankful for that. He was verbally abusive, manipulative and selfish. God saved me from what would have been a devastating and broken relationship. I would like to tell you that this was the worst Valentine’s Day ever… and in a sense it was… but fast-forward to five years…
I was 26 years old. The week before, I had my first colonoscopy, various blood tests, stool samples, a blood transfusion, etc. I have a horrible fear of needles, and was stabbed with a needle upwards of 11 times that week. I even remember writing on Facebook, “If I get stabbed with a needle ONE MORE TIME, I’m gonna scream!” Thankfully, my boyfriend (now husband) was with me through most of that. It was our second Valentine’s Day “celebration” together and I was sick the whole time… And then I got a phone call telling my my diagnosis: Ulcerative Colitis.
Valentine’s Day 2015
Now let’s talk about today. Last April I has surgery to remove a very unwelcome (yet vital) organ: my colon. It was neither easy nor fun, but I am actually feeling better. This week I actually attended my first Martial Arts lesson in years! It was great… and I might even go back. Also, I’m spending this Valentine’s Day on vacation with my husband and our friends. Because we knew we wouldn’t be in town for Valentine’s day, we exchanged gifts. I got him tickets to Comic-Con. I am enjoying the slopes (I LOVE SKIING!) and having a blast… free from the cursed colon that tortured me. I can’t believe it’s been FOUR YEARS since my diagnosis, but I am finally piecing my life together. My j-pouch has been so good to me… and I’m hoping it stays that way. I will let ya’ll know all about how the trip went when I get home.