I feel very blessed that I have had such a positive experience with having my colon removed and living with an ostomy. Especially compared to many of the others out there that I know with an ostomy, I really haven’t had any major issues arise. However, there have been a few things that have caused me to worry a little.
Let me start by explaining a little about my previous surgery. When I had my colon removed last May, the doctor left about six inches of my colon inside me. This part is tied off and is usually left to allow for the possibility of reconnection. Basically in some cases (usually if the patient has ulcerative colitis and not Crohn’s disease), the surgeon can reconnect the small intestine to what’s left of the colon and your digestion should function in a more normal way, eliminating the need for an ostomy. I talked about this with my surgeon at our follow-up appointment a few weeks after my surgery and wrote about it in one of my blog posts, Doing A-OK.
In my case, those few inches of my colon are still pretty diseased. I can tell: I still have that feeling of needing to go to the bathroom and I fairly often still have blood in that area. Plus, leaving that portion of your colon in for many years can increase the risk of cancer in the future. I have come to terms with the idea of having it removed and making my ileostomy officially permanent, but had planned to wait until after having kids to have another surgery.
But like I said, a few issues have come up recently. There’s the joint/muscle pain that I’ve been dealing with, that could be due, at least in part, to there still being inflammation in my body. Plus, I’ve had some irritation problems in that area since pretty much just after my surgery. The final straw for me was the inflammation in my eye. Having that come up made me worry about having active inflammation in my body and what else it could possibly cause.
The week that issue came up, I called my surgeon’s office and said, “It’s time to book the surgery and the sooner the better.” I also said that I had committed to this half-marathon and I wanted to wait until after that. So we booked for as soon after that as possible: 2 days after, in fact. Just one month from today, on June 3rd, I will go back in for my second surgery to have the rest of my colon completely removed.
The recovery should be fairly similar to my previous surgery. I should be in the hospital for 5-7 days and have another 2-3 weeks of recovery time after that. Having any surgery makes me a little nervous, but I’m just ready to have it done with. Honestly, I’m not even sure that this is the root issue, but if it is, then I just want it gone, but if it’s not, then at least I will know and can move forward from there.