Boots' UC Journey Part 2

by on Monday, April 20, 2009 12:33
This entry is filed under: our stories

So part 2 of my 3-part surgery was scheduled for March 4th, 2009.  As before, we headed out to Ohio two days before the surgery to stay at my aunt”s. On March 3rd, we went into the hospital for the pre-surgery appointments, which included a check-up, EKG, bloodwork, nursing check-in, and a talk with the doctor. It was during this talk that we went over the J-pouch procedure, but my mom brought up the ileo-rectal anastamosis (IRA), which was a procedure he had talked about at my one-month checkup but didn”t think it would have been an option. At that one-month checkup he did a quick scope to see how things were and when he looked over his notes of that day, he started to think that maybe the IRA was a good option.

He asked about the output from my rectum and said that I only had mild colitis in my rectum at the checkup but that it could have been healed over by now. I was starting to get excited, because this procedure seemed like it was going to be easier. An ileo-rectal anastamosis is where they just connect your small intestine to your rectum. With the J-pouch procedure, they take the rectum out, so it can”t be done that way. But few people are able to keep their rectum and so a IRA would seem like a good option for them. Since I had dysplasia in my rectum, I would normally not be a good candidate, but since he said I was young and had good overall health, he didn”t see the dysplasia coming back very likely. Plus, he knew I was gay and was worried about my lifestyle, so with IRA, I would still be able to have sexual intercourse. This was like a dream and I started to cry in his office, because I couldn”t believe that this was an option for me and that I would be able to feel 99% normal and not lose any part of my gay identity.

He did say that if the colitis came back bad in my rectum or if I kept getting dysplasia, that I might have to get the J-pouch in the future, but since I was young it could buy me 5, 10, or 20 years. I was totally fine with this and just relieved at the opportunity. Also, you can start using the IRA right away, so they were going to take down my stoma and let my bowels start working again. So, one day before my planned J-pouch procedure, we changed everything and set up to do a totally different surgery. It was a little un-nerving at first since I had prepared myself for the J-pouch but was exciting to know that this would be my last surgery and I wouldn”t have to get a third one!

So the next morning came and I got myself ready and said goodbye to my stoma. We checked in for surgery and did the usual IV setup and heparin shot and all that good stuff. I was wheeled outside the operating room and asked the usual questions about allergies and anesthesia problems. But when they asked me what procedure I was getting, I wasn”t totally sure which one they were doing, so I had to list both just in case. I was brought it and laid on the table. That brought about my favorite part of surgery, which is right before they give you anesthesia, because you are still conscious, but you know that any second you are going to feel extremely relaxed, then unconscious, and then wake up what feels like two seconds later and everything that you”ve stressed about for the past several months is over with. To me, it”s a great feeling.

And that”s what happened. I woke up in post-op and immediately felt my stomach, because I wasn”t sure which procedure they were able to do, so I wasn”t sure if I still had my stoma or not. When my hand landed on the area, it felt smooth……it was gone!!! That means they were able to do the IRA and it was successful enough that I didn”t need to stoma anymore. This was the best result I could ask for! My mother came in with my aunt that we were staying with in Ohio. She came up to me and said “I got bad news…..you”re gonna have to go to the bathroom again!” Haha, it was her crazy sense of humor trying to tell me the surgery was a success.

My mom with me in the hospital room.

My mom with me in the hospital room.

I was brought to my hospital room about an hour later and setup with the usual things I need. Ice chips, the breather that you have to breath in 10 times every hour to keep your lungs clear. It was harder this time, since the lapryscopic pain was in my chest and diaphragm. The first surgery gave me muscle pain in the shoulders, but I guess most of it was in my diaphragm now and that made the breathing apparatus harder to casino online do. I also got the heparin shots twice a day as well.

Using the breathing apparatus to keep my lungs clear.

Using the breathing apparatus to keep my lungs clear.

Walking around the halls with all the machines and tubes connected to me.

Walking around the halls with all the machines and tubes connected to me.

I was dying to look at the new scars, so when they changed my bandage, I got my first glance. It was weird looking. The doctor told me, they couldn”t sew it shut, since it”s a high-risk of infection area, so they had to sew the underlying muslces, but the skin was left open. So it was like a hole in my stomach. It was about the size of my belly button and looked like a gunshot wound. I was really worried that it was going to leave a big scar, but the doctor said it would heal up pretty well.

The hole in my stomach.

The hole in my stomach.

One of my least favorite things was that I had both a catheter and a rectal tube. The catheter was fine, but the rectal tube was a little uncomfortable. I had thought that it was taped to my butt, because I felt a little tug,  so when I went to adjust it, I found that it was sewn in! Not sewn into the anus, but the tube was looped onto a stitch that went into my butt cheek to keep it in place. Haha, that made me very nervous to move. On the 3rd day, I got the catheter removed, but the rectal tube stayed in. I noticed that day that I was feeling a little bloated and asked for the rectal tube to be removed. They told me it would help pass things and should be kept in until I was on semi-solid food. I had that feeling all day and was not even hungry. I started feeling really tired and randomly slept all afternoon, which was not like me at all. By the time I woke up, I knew I reallllly had to go to the bathroom and so I got up and went to the bathroom, thinking I was going to need to do something about this tube. I barely made it to the bathroom in time (all that darn equipment and tubes you”ve got to take with you) and I just started going to the bathroom around the tube. It was like it was blocked and coming out anyways. Nothing was even going through the tube. I felt a little bit of relief and told my mom to get a nurse to take the tube out. Someone came in and snipped the suture and pulled the tube out, which made me have to go to the bathroom again. I went right back in and ALOT of stuff came out. It was a major relief and felt like I lost 2 pounds. It was mostly liquid, but no blood or anything.

With all that done and with me off the morphine and on solid foods and going to the bathroom fine, I was cleared to go home the next day, which was Saturday. I had really bad sleep Friday night since it was my first night without the tube, I was going to the bathroom like every hour. My new digestive tract was trying to get itself adjusted and just wanted to keep being used! It was kind of annoying, but I knew to expect it and I also knew it was going to get better. They said I should erratic bowel movements for about the next six months.

Home from the hospital with my bandage still on.

Home from the hospital with my bandage still on.

The next week was me going to the bathroom about 10-20 times a day, but it progressivley got slower and once I started experimenting with imodium, it helped alot. As for the scar, it formed a membrane within a couple days and then just was healing faster than I thought it could. It eventually became a scab and thats when I could stop wearing the bandages. There were no other cuts from the surgery besides the belly button, so it was a much easier recovery than the first one. I was pretty much able to get up and walk around from the time I got home from the hospital. And there were no blockages or problems with food, so I was happy with that. I would say my recovery time was really only about 2 weeks this time. I was still on a weight restriction, and couldn”t start work for 4 weeks.

As I write this, almost 7 weeks posts-surgery, my scab is gone, I go to the bathroom about 4-8 times a day, I”m back at work, and feeling better than ever. I had my follow-up appointment last week and the doctor said everything seems fine. I need to get annual scopes to make sure everything is still good that there is no colitis or dysplasia, but other than that, I can finally say that my life is normal. At least me health is, I can”t account for the rest of my life! Haha.

One week post-surgery.

One week post-surgery.

One month post-surgery.

One month post-surgery.

Seven weeks post-surgery.

Seven weeks post-surgery.

Seven weeks post-surgery. Mostly healed!

Seven weeks post-surgery. Mostly healed!

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7 Responses to “Boots' UC Journey Part 2”

  1. avatar

    Megan says:

    April 20th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Hi Boots, It is WONDERFUL to hear from you!!! And to hear such a WONDERFUL surgery outcome – a big huge congrats, hooray, hooray, hooray. I am thrilled to hear the IRA could be done. You’ve been through so much and this is incredible how well you look. Scars look good, you are looking good :) What happened with the break-up? Are you still living with your ex?

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  2. avatar

    Boots says:

    April 21st, 2009 at 7:41 am

    Yes, I am still broken up. I just moved into a new apartment one week ago and am now living by myself. I decided that he hurt me too much by breaking up with me at a time when I needed someone the most, so it was over for me emotionally because of that. But thanks for your concern and I’m so thrilled with the results as well!!

    [Reply]

  3. avatar

    Marianne says:

    April 23rd, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Hi Boots,
    You seem so happy now…glad for you that you found the best solution for you. I’m waiting for takedown having done 2 out of 3 steps for Jpouch. I had a similar experience to you with the relationship. My partner was unable to handle the whole ordeal of the sudden onset of UC last year and surgeries and recoveries. I was so dissappointed that he was not there for me emotionally during the hardest time of my life that I realize that separation is inevitable after takedown recovery. It’s when you have the big challenges in life that you see how your partner really is and how strong the bond/love is. We deserve better than this. It’s great that you were able to move with such a positive attitude. All the best, Marianne

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  4. avatar

    Brevin says:

    April 27th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Wow, your scars healed up nicely! Best part: you can tell people you took a bullet for someone (which impresses both the ladies AND the gents!). But make sure the story has you taking a bullet for someone cool (Obama?), instead of someone … you know, questionable (why did you save Kid Rock?!).

    [Reply]

  5. avatar

    David says:

    May 25th, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Hey Mike – First time I have checked back to this site in a while, glad that you were able to go with the IRA. That was presented to me as well, a while ago, though it was not very successful and at the time. I was not out, and I suffered from serious self esteem issues. Being able to explain my reasoning to get that specific surgery as a closeted 16 year old boy to his extremely conservative parents was out of the question. Nevertheless, I do not regret getting the surgery and bettering my health. Many years later, all is well on the home front. I would love to talk to you more about how you cope, shoot me an email! dmlove660@yahoo.com

    [Reply]

  6. avatar
  7. avatar

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    December 15th, 2010 at 8:04 am

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