Reconnecting the Plumbing

It’s 400(!) days ATN and 92 days since the surgery that removed the tumor.

Reconnecting the Plumbing

The ileostomy reversal is TOMORROW! By some coincidence it’ll be exactly three months from the surgery date that created the ileostomy. The expectation was that I’d have the ileostomy for 6-8 weeks. I have a sneaking suspicion my surgeon went on vacation at some point and things got pushed back :-).

Most people assume I’m excited and relieved at the upcoming surgery, which is partially true. As with all things in life, you do adapt to circumstances and I’ve kind of gotten used to living with an ostomy. Routines change and I’ve always carried an emergency pouch change kit, but it’s not a huge inconvenience. Changing the ostomy pouch (and base since I settled on a two-piece system) now takes five to ten minutes, not the near hour it took when the home healthcare nurse was teaching me the tricks of the trade. The velcro cable tie seems to have put an end to the spontaneous pouch openings. The only real issue is dealing with gas. Come on ostomy pouch manufacturers – you really can’t make a pouch with a gas release system?! There are products on Amazon that let you modify pouches. Why don’t you just make pouches with them? (If you want to watch a video on how your digestive system produced gas here’s a good one from Institute of Human Anatomy’s YouTube channel.)

There’s also a bit of trepidation since there’s a question of how my bowels will behave. Things are expected to be off for a month or two after the plumbing is reconnected. Then the question is just what is the new “normal”? And what supplements or medications will be required to manage it? The possible side-effects include going to the toilet more frequently (not too bad), needing to go a second time since the colon/rectum didn’t completely empty (annoying), and not being able to hold thing as long once you have the urge to go (could be annoying to very bad depending on how long I can hold things in…)

At my post-op appointment a couple months ago I asked the surgeon if he could redo the ileostomy if the side-effects were too lifestyle impacting. He was rather taken aback by the request and said he was confident we’d be able to manage things with supplements and medications. He’s never had to redo an ostomy. Once he calmed down a bit he did say that if he were going to do one permanently (an “end”ostomy) he’d do a colostomy rather than an ileostomy. As you might expect a colostomy brings things out after the colon (but before the rectum). Water gets absorbed in the colon so your body stays better hydrated with a colostomy. (With an ileostomy you need to drink a lot of fluids.) In addition the “output” to the pouch is not as liquidy (since the liquid was absorbed) and happens at more regular intervals rather than constantly (more like regular pooping :-)). A colostomy would be ideal for long road trips. Or during pandemics that cause TP shortages.

Bet let’s hope we don’t need to head down that path.

In any case I’ll be in the hospital at least overnight. Possibly longer depending on how long it takes my bowels to start working again.

And now to do an emergency run to restock on TP…

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Categorized as Surgery

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