The First Surgery: One Month Later

by on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 22:15
This entry is filed under: Ileostomy

It”s been exactly a month since the divorce. To clarify: Divorcing from my colon. My colon doesn”t phone, it doesn”t even write letters to me. I guess it”s over. The break-up was pretty bad I suppose, considering they had to sedate me for all the pain. So here we are a month later and I barely miss that drama queen of a diva. I have a few questions scattered through out the update, and I would appreciate any input : )

The Scars:

I”m amazed by how well the laproscopic scars healed up. They look like tiny papercuts. Well, except for one. The largest of the lapro scars (on the left, below the previously existing scar) is still healing and has a long way to go. It might get infected, so to avoid this I have the band-aid on. This particular scar is a jerk when you compare it to the other ones. The large, main scar above the pubic bone is healing up nicely. The small purple spot is where the JP Drain was. Not too shabby, considering they shoved a tube in there. All in all, I welcome the 6 new scars (it will be 7 once the takedown surgery patches up the stoma). I”m still bloated and lost some definition, but I think it”s hilarious that the LoveNox injections I give myself in the love handles (for a tiny blood clot incident) are leaving more marks than a massive surgery. Yay, fear of needles!

1) Lapro: super tiny and disappearing; 2 and 3) Lapro: almost gone; 4) JP-Drain; 5) The Big One; 6) Oh look an intestine sticking out 7) Lapro: Band-Aid protecting scar

1) Lapro: super tiny and disappearing; 2 and 3) Lapro: almost gone; 4) JP-Drain; 5) The Big One; 6) Oh look an intestine sticking out; 7) Lapro: Band-Aid protecting scar

The Stoma:

Do you feel left out for not having an ileostomy? Do you get made fun of for not having a stoma? Well I”m here to help! Simply glue a red Dots candy to your stomach! It”s pretty much the same. Expect my Dots candy likes to poo when startled. And to poo just for fun.

The medical community is telling me that my stoma is fairly tiny. I guess there are varying sizes? It”s between 7/8″ and 1″. The stoma”s opening itself is close to the surface of the skin, so this causes skin irritation close casinogates to that area. I haven”t named my stoma yet, although the name Stomie “Squirt” Stoma, P.I. is winning so far. I”m open for suggestions! I do have a character profile in place. Stomie “Squirt” Stoma, P.I. solves mysteries each week with it”s crazy detective and observational skills. Sort of like Murder, She Wrote but with more.. poo. Last week we solved the mystery of the missing Pringles! It turns out I ate all of them.

Left: Eww gross yuck ewww; Right: Yay!

Left: Eww gross yuck ewww; Right: Yay!

The Ileostomy Bag And J-Pouch:
One month, zero leaks. Yes, I realize the leaks are inevitable and I came close to getting leaks. But I have had no emergency patch jobs yet. To make up for this, my body (who is holding a grudge against me for not enjoying cheese cake during my hospital stay) is sometimes leaking through the bum when I sleep. Apparently when you sleep, your muscles are relaxed and you can have discharge through the J-Pouch. It”s not regular clock-work leakage, and it”s not exactly gallons of fluid, but I play it safe and have a pad thingy available when I go snore away. How common is this for folk with the j-pouch? Will the leakage stop once my bum clenching muscles wake up?

The Home Nurses and Costco:
For some magical reason, my insurance covered all of the surgery and hospital bills but won”t cover the actual ileostomy bag supplies. I”ll have to pay out of pocket for these goodies, but until then am blessed with Home Nurses and what I can only describe as the equivalent of Costco”s sample stations, but it”s Ileostomy Bag samples. They bring in all of these samples for me to try. I”m still finding out what works best for me (a convex two piece velcro baggy seems ok so far), and I”m enjoying the free samples while I can. When I”m going to buy the supplies, I”l be dang sure it”s the kind of supplies I like. I have a belt strap thing that helps keep the bag hugged to the body, but are there any other crazy goodies I should know of? Any hot tips? These bags don”t seem to hold their shape, so I”m always cautious about half holding the bag when I walk around. And for those with ileo bag experience, how did you uh… exactly empty it? If you”re too high up from the toilet bowl, it will splash toilet bowl water everywhere. In order to get close to the bowl, you have to kneel or aim veeerryyyy carefully. What gives?

Left: Newly changed bag with the awesome strap/belt thing; Right: My interpretation of 30 minutes later

Left: Newly changed bag with the awesome strap/belt thing; Right: My interpretation of 30 minutes later

Diet
Oh Bratwurst. I miss you. And any sausage with casing, for that matter, which just happens to be my favorite food. But nay, I shall not become depressed! Instead, I”ll drown my sorrow in meatloaf. I”m still having inconsistencies with my poo. Sometimes it”s thick-ish, sometimes it”s pretty liquidy. I”m still finding that balance as to what works, but out of curiosity, what fiber supplement works best? BeneFiber? MetaMucil? Colon-Blow?

The healing process is an amazing thing. I can”t wait to see what my progress is a month from now.

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14 Responses to “The First Surgery: One Month Later”

  1. avatar

    Cindy says:

    June 11th, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Your stoma kind of looks like sponge bob.

    [Reply]

  2. avatar

    Elise says:

    June 11th, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Brevin, Bravo, love your post :) Dennis has many helpful videos at UCVlog.com One of his videos talks about how to empty the pouch :) I love Dennis’ videos :) I know you aren’t supposed to name your stoma till you see it, but I think because I a am such a girlie girl and lover of expensive handbags, I must name my stoma/baggie something like: Prada, Burberry or Louis Vuitton! Less than two weeks for me till surgery one, eeeeeek! Do you have a tentative take down date yet??

    Super fragalistic E
    (Elise)

    [Reply]

  3. avatar

    Brevin says:

    June 11th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Elise sent me the videos via Facebook, but they are too awesome not to share.

    Cleaning the bag

    Clothes with the bag

    [Reply]

  4. avatar

    Lizz says:

    June 12th, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Well, it’s been a while for me, but I liked the convex wafer, but it’s all a matter of body shape, stoma, and personal preference. The leakage will stop, but if it is a concern to you ask your doc. I mostly sleep through the night now and I don’t take any fiber supplements, never have. Careful with the food for a while. When you do start w/ sausages, start slowly. Have you thought of putting googly eyes on your stoma? That’d be sweet! Although I really liked your illustration:)

    [Reply]

    avatar

    Brevin Reply:

    Look behind you!
    (hiding my 30lbs stash of sausages)
    Convex is definitely working best for me as well. And I think the leakage thing is stopping. That last two nights wasn’t a concern, so that’s awesome.
    So you don’t need to take fiber? I wonder if UCSF has a secret tie-in sponsor with BeneFiber, so telling patients to take fiber allows them to pocket some commission. Foul play!

    [Reply]

    avatar

    Lizz Reply:

    They tell a lot of people to take it, and a lot do. They gave me lomotil, etc. right after, but I dunno, something about post-surgery thickeners made me nervous after I got a blockage, plus, the liquidy poo didn’t really bother me at first. Sometimes I still get it if I eat certain things, but I have good control. I don’t really mind going to the bathroom several times a day. (4-6 ish) I rather enjoy the feeling of being “cleaned out”, but I often have freakishly normal poos, just from eating fibrous foods. Now that I’m well past the surgeries and low-residue diet stage, I eat tons of veggies and fruits, so I don’t really require any additional fiber. If it helps you though, do it fo sho.

    [Reply]

  5. avatar

    Chaz & Lori Burton says:

    June 13th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Chaz used the convex moldable wafers…..no glue or anything needed!!! They were really nice….made by Convatec. They mold right around your stoma & easy to use.

    He did leak sometimes a night, but it was closer to the time of the takedown. It is totally normal. He noticed he would leak more if he laid on his side to sleep. That’s why he spent most nights in the trusty recliner. 😉 Since his takedown he has not had one accident!!!

    He took Cholestyramine twice a day in the beginning. Then as time went on he controlled his output by diet. He didn’t like it to be too liquidy, but then again if it was too thick that was a pain as well.

    He sat down to empty his bag & then had a small glass of water that he would pour in to swish it around to clean it. Kind of a pain, but he thought it helped it to seal better with the velcro part all clean.

    Hope this helps,
    Lori

    [Reply]

  6. avatar

    J-pouch Life says:

    July 2nd, 2009 at 9:40 am

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

  7. avatar

    RT Elkin says:

    March 11th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Fantastic attitude & you’re funny as hell! I’ve still got a semi-colon (which is good because I teach English), so maybe my ostomy doesn’t translate into ileostomy circles, but colace (generic just fine) is great at regulating poo consistency, & disposable tan pouches (attaching like tupperware to a pectin-ringed foundation) are by far to me the psychologically preferable method to deal with the regular removals of the pooservoir. As to anal drainage, I’ve got a Hartmann’s pouch which insists on being drained of mucus by the formerly conventional method of sitting down on the bowl several times a day.

    [Reply]

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    April 30th, 2014 at 2:23 pm

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  11. avatar

    Tomasz Banasiewicz says:

    July 27th, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Hi, I’m surgeon preparing the bok for students and residents about stoma. We also will have some chapters with psychological point of view and acceptation of stoma. We are looking for interesting pictures showing a different point of view for stoma problems. Can we use your pictures – they are really great!
    Of couse, if you accept it, we will send you the draft of the chapter with your pictures
    regards
    Tomasz Banasiewicz

    [Reply]

  12. avatar

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