So Long, And Thanks For All The Poop

by on Thursday, May 7, 2009 23:34
This entry is filed under: Jpouch Surgery

Well, the first surgery is Monday, May 11th. The next time you hear from me I’ll be colon-free, equipped with a j-pouch, carrying a concealed ileostomy bag, and hell, while I’m at it, I might as well go with calf implants and a nose job. Never mind, scratch the last two bright ideas, although I’m sure UCSF has “The Works” packaged deal available at a discount.
Yep. This is it. Surgery. Yep. Surgery. And panic attack in 3… 2… 1…
<two hours later>
Breathe in. Breathe out. Ok.
Here are my quick updates:

The Pre-Op:

The pre-op went well as far as I could tell; it was a lot unexciting waiting mixed with even less-exciting waiting. I had the tests done, vitals checked, and got my stoma marked:

Left: Stoma marking. Right: Me leaving surprises for the surgery team.

Left: Stoma marking. Right: Me leaving surprises for the surgery team.

The nurse who marked my stoma made the extremely bad judgement call of sending me home with a marker designed for surgeons (see image above), but she also slapped on an ileostomy bag for me to get used to the placement and feel. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t that bad. I’m a small skinny dude and was worried that I had to start wearing XXL t-shirts to cover up the baggy (I’ll look like I’m preparing for pregnancy), but you couldn’t tell when I was wearing my “normal” clothes! I was very happy with the test run… until I tried to take it off. You see, the glue went on my body hair. Glue + Body Hair = Brevin’s Hot Tip of the Day: Softly sobbing tears over the area doesn’t really help as much as you would hope.
The CAT Scan went Ok I think, except for the three bottles of prep liquid I had to down. Dear Medical Science, can’t you make horrible prep liquids taste like grape soda? Is it that hard? The CT Scanning machine itself is pretty cool. It’s a giant robot donut that spins around you, and yes, having one in your living room would be a great conversation starter. Some of you might be irked by my simplification of the technology, but CUT ME SOME SLACK! STRANGERS ARE ABOUT TO SEE MY INSIDES!

The New Painting:
This piece was a coping mechanism to embrace the idea behind having an ileostomy baggy for three months, so I named it “3 Months”. The ileostomy bag in the middle of the painting is life size, but for some reason the painting’s colors look a bit different in the picture. Yes, the plumbing is inevitably leaking : )

"3 Months", 20" by 24", acrylic and ink

"3 Months", 20" by 24", acrylic and ink

A Question For The Community:
I’m reading on the site about people who are having long term complications after takedown. I know it’s not a cakewalk, but how common is severe discomfort for people who had the j-pouch? I’m just curious if everyone is having discomfort, or are we only hearing from the cases that need help. I’m hoping to get my quality of life back, so I hope you understand when I get nervous reading posts like these. Also, you refer to j-pouch BMs and how people have to adjust to them. Can you please clarify? What do I need to adjust to and what makes j-pouch bowel movements different? Thanks in advance!

The Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis 3K Walk:
Last but not least, a charity walk specifically for us. Stolen from their pamphlet: “This walk raises much-needed dollars to fund cutting-edge research and to support patients and families in our area. Take Steps will be held on June 7, 2009 at 5pm in San Francisco at Justin Herman Plaza.  There will be free food, drinks, a live band, and kids entertainment! Everyone is welcome to join in the fun and help us raise awareness about Crohn’s and Colitis.”
I’ll be there, limping along (or doing backflips on a unicycle while lit on fire, depending how recovery goes). I’m there to support the community, so if you’re in the area:

This is their official banner/logo, not a personal art project.

This is the official logo/banner, not a personal art project

These posts might also help out:

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

34 Responses to “So Long, And Thanks For All The Poop”

  1. avatar

    Elise says:

    May 8th, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Brevin!! good luck, I will be thinking of you Monday. I am sure you will sail through this! I am right behind you, scheduled for June 23rd, so please work out all the kinks for me :) I love the tic-tac-toe and shark etc…. how funny :) What are you going to name your Stoma?? I heard that they all should be named :)

    Also, I am right there with you worried about long term complications, pain, bulging body parts etc…., I just want it all to go well and work as directed!!

    L, Elise


  2. avatar

    Elise says:

    May 8th, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Hey another question, Are they already starving you?? Or do you do your GoLightly (nothing Go Lightly about it), prep on Sunday??


  3. avatar

    Sharen says:

    May 8th, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    You will be very surprised at how you feel after the surgery. I had mine done 6 weeks ago tomorrow. After the first week, I was really eating and feeling great. I started to gain weight, my blood levels are normal and I am a new person. The bag is what it is and once you “embrace” the idea and what it does and the whole process of it, your going to be okay with it. I have to have the J-pouch created in my next surgery. Long story, but I have a total of three not two surgeries. I’m okay with that. Good luck with the surgery on Monday and I know you are going to know that this was the right step. No more bad days. Just life staring at you and asking what you want to do.


  4. avatar

    trish says:

    May 8th, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Brevin: Good luck Monday! I’m following close behind (May 13) and trying to be EXCITED to get rid of this damn UC and not too frightened of what’s to come. I can’t believe you had to drink 3 bottles of that stuff for pre-op….I only had to down 1. I sympathize….And Elise: You have your surgery scheduled? Good luck to you too. Pep talk yourself continuosly….Sharen: you couldn’t have said it better – “Just life staring at you and asking what you want to do.” I want to get on with my life…..Colon or not. You guys are inspiring. Keep posted. Stay strong Brevin! I’m rooting for ya…


  5. avatar

    Elise says:

    May 10th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Brevin, tomorrow is your big day!!!! I know everything will go well!!

    I have a question for everyone that has gone through this, does everyone get an NG tube?? If so, why???


  6. avatar

    Jamie says:

    May 10th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    No – not everyone. It depends on your doc’s preference. My dog said everyone doesn’t need them so i didnt have one when i woke up. However, then i got sick and started throwing up which was attributed to the ileus so then they put one in. I really wish i had one right away as it is not a pleasant process when you are conscious.


  7. avatar

    Brevin says:

    May 10th, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    I got extremely fatigued and anemic three days ago at work, they had to drive me home and it was horrible (I had flashbacks of my “you’re getting an emergency blood transfusion” days). For some reason there’s a lot of blood in my stool recently, as if the colon knew it’s days were numbered and it’s going out with a bang. I’m looking forward to the surgery at this point, although I’m not looking forward to missing out on sausages for a while (some of my prep reading material recommended I avoid meats with casings because of blockage and such). So my “last real meal” with a colon consisted of a lot of bratwurst. As I’m typing this, I’m in between drinking the bowel prep “fun-juice” and craving my jello snacks. Until the day they make bratwurst jello cups or bratwurst-infused bowel prep drinks, we all suffer.
    Elise, you can’t name the Stoma until you see it. It’s like naming a child. What if I call the Stoma “Barry” when he’s clearly a “Steve” (or even “Michelle”)? So far, the top name choice is “Optimus Potter”.
    So… hungry…


  8. avatar

    Megan says:

    May 11th, 2009 at 6:46 am

    Hey Brevin, Mark and myself are sending you good vibes today! I can’t believe “this is the day, your life will surely change” – THE THE . Well, it is about time, you’ve lived sick for too long and now time to get back to health and being well. You are in EXCELLENT hands at UCSF, the nurses will take good care of you after the surgeons work their UCSF magic :) Keep us posted —


  9. avatar

    Moogan says:

    May 11th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Hey good luck with your surgery today!!! I hope everything goes well. You’ve got a great sense of humor and I’m sure that will be a big help to you during recovery. My surgery is coming up soon, too (May 29th). My Wound Nurse gave me an ‘X’ with a black sharpie so I’d have to draw all over my gut with black pen and it wouldn’t have the same effect I think ;P Looking forward to your post-op update!


  10. avatar

    Tammy says:

    May 11th, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Brevin, Everyone at work is thinking about you today. Please give us an update as soon as you can. We miss you…..


  11. avatar

    Elise says:

    May 11th, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Brevin I have been thinking and praying for you all day. I hope that you can tell us how you are doing very soon.


  12. avatar

    Elise says:

    May 11th, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Trish, how many days before the surgery do I have to start starving and prepping myself?? I want to have a farewell colon party the weekend before – my surgery is on a Tuesday.

    I know you will also do fabulous with your surgery, where are you having yours done? Please keep us posted we will all be looking for your posts.




  13. avatar

    Cindy says:

    May 12th, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Hi Everyone
    I’m Brevin’s sister and I just wanted to shoot a quick update. His surgery went well–doctor said his colon looked pretty rough. I’m sure there will be tons of tales to tell about that from his perspective when he gets better. They did have some trouble managing his pain when he was in recovery so his stay there was extended for a few hours before they released him to his room. Other than that things are looking good so far. Please feel free to email me if you would like his room information–
    If you are a local I’d say give him a good few days before dropping by. He is another kind of crazy when he is freshly medicated =)


  14. avatar

    Elise says:

    May 12th, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Cindy thank you so much for the update on Brevin. I hope his pain is under control today and he is recovering well. And yes, I am sure everyone will agree that we cannot wait to her his perspective :)


  15. avatar

    brevin via iphone says:

    May 12th, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I’m alive, and will update when I get my laptop in here. I still don’t know why I was in the recovery room so long to get pain under control (I don’t remember anything), but I honestly am only hovering around a 2 on the pain scale (10 being worst). Of course, it’s very painful when I get up and try to move around. I’m proud to say that i’ve already had 3 tiny walk sessions today already and hope to have one more before the day is over. Not bad for the first day! I’ll give a proper update later, since I’m taking a loooooot of pictures! Thanks for all the well-wishes!!


  16. avatar

    Elise says:

    May 12th, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Oh Brevin, It is so glad to hear from you!! I am glad that you arent in blinding pain, I was worried. I also can’t wait to see all your pictures, I think I am nominating you to be my mentor :) My pain and urgency are just getting worse and worse, I don’t know how I will ever make it till June 23rd! I just want it gone! If you are having trouble sleeping, I highly recommend oxycodone and Ambien together!! In fact that was my cocktail tonight and I think I may actually get some actual sleep. I really do hope you are doing well and that you are surrounded by people that love and care about you. Were they able to do the bikini line scar, or did they do the lateral around the belly scar? Ok I will leave you alone, but I am going to have so many questions for you Brevin :) Farewell to Brevins worthless colon!!!! Yay!!!


  17. avatar

    Elise says:

    May 12th, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Trish, good luck to you tomorrow! I will be thinking of you. I hope that you can give us an early update on how you are doing. I am wearing my got guts ccfa bracelet in your honor tomorrow. :)


  18. avatar

    Elise says:

    May 14th, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Any updates on Brevin and Trish???


  19. avatar

    Christine Chavez says:

    May 14th, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I’m glad to hear things went good. Keep good spirits and know everything will be okay. UCSF nurses were the best!! Walk, walk, walk, it helps with so much.


  20. avatar

    Cindy says:

    May 18th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Brevin was released today!


  21. avatar

    Aaron P says:

    May 19th, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Love the title. A good sense of humor will get you through alot of this.


  22. avatar

    Elise says:

    June 2nd, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Trish, you out there?? Wondering if you are okay?? I hope that you are doing well!!



  23. avatar

    J-pouch Life says:

    July 2nd, 2009 at 9:37 am

    […] has documented his recent surgery with these 2 active posts:   So Long Colon and the follow up with 1 month […]

  24. avatar

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