The Healing Journey

Shelly Rondeau Heller Health Guide
  • Greetings to the HealthCentral community! It's spring, 2009, exactly eight years after the final of my three surgeries for ulcerative colitis. In numerology terms, nine years is a full cycle. So perhaps it is fitting that as I enter this final year of the cycle, I am joining HealthCentral's IBD team as a blogger.


    I have the dubious distinction of knowing far too much about abdominal surgery and healing, and it's all from personal experience. I look forward to sharing this experience with you, and answering your questions.


    I'm not a healthcare professional. I'm just an innocent bystander who was blindsided by an autoimmune disease I'd never heard about (see my Profile).

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    Eight years ago, when I woke up from my final surgery, I felt grateful beyond measure. I hoped I would soon forget everything. I hoped I could return to being the normal person I was before.


    But, I haven't forgotten, and I haven't returned to my earlier definition of normal. That year-long roller coaster rocked my world, permanently.


    The only way that year makes sense to me is in a spiritual context. Was it just a fluke? Maybe. But I prefer to think of it as a grand plan-or a journey-that I am slowly understanding. And the more I understand, the more amazing it gets.


    There are so many lessons hidden in the folds of serious illness. Fabulous books have been written on this subject. Mostly, these are people stories, stories of connection, of community, of help needed and given. In fact, if you have trouble receiving help, then please don't get sick!


    And there's the irony. I never would have chosen to get sick. But then I wouldn't have had the experiences I did, of being held, lifted up, and supported by legions of people, many of whom I had never met. My image of myself during that time is of me resting in an intricate web woven by hundreds of people. They weren't going to let me down.


    And so here I am with what I hope is an opportunity to pay it forward in some small way. I want to walk beside others who are treading the same path I walked years ago. As I begin my final year in this nine-year cycle, I hope I can accompany you on your healing journey, wherever it may lead.

Published On: May 21, 2009