A pain in the stoma

It has been 24 weeks since my surgery. At this point, I definitely feel comfortable with the day-to-day routine. I’ve gotten the hang of how to deal with my bag, knowing when the right time to eat is, managing a leak, etc. At the same time, I’m still in the early learning phase of a life-altering surgery.

While the normal things are now pretty easy to deal with, there are still a number of unusual circumstances that pop up from time to time. I’m sure these are things that I will get used to in the future, but I’m still figuring them out at this point.

For example, a fairly common (although not necessarily often) problem can be a blockage. This is exactly what it sounds like: partially digested food that gets stuck in the small intestine and “blocks” everything from coming out. I consider myself very blessed to have not had to deal with a major one of these. But I think I got a taste of one this past week.

I’ve been waking up early in the morning and going to the gym to train for my half-marathon. Since I don’t want to have to deal with my bag filling up while I’m working out, I tend to skip eating until I get back. However, the mornings are usually an active time for my stoma (or the opening of my intestines on my stomach). I would assume it’s because your digestion slows down as you sleep and once you get up and become active again, so does your digestive tract.

I usually start running within half-an-hour of waking up. I also tend to get cramps around my stoma. I’m thinking that the muscle contractions are making it difficult for the food to pass through. I’ve had a couple of times where my stomach started to hurt pretty bad and gave me the feeling of having to throw up. Now this has been a fairly mild feeling; enough to be uncomfortable, but not enough to make me stop running. And once I’m done running, things operate as usual.

I’ve tried to be better and drinking lots of water to help flush things out. But it does make me a little nervous as I continue to try to increase my running distance.

Any other ostomates out there who have experienced the same thing? Is there anything you have done to help with the cramping and/or feeling of a blockage?

Sit down, stay a while. I'd love to hear from you.