Today marks the 2 year anniversary since I had my old bum sewn shut and had a new one installed. It’s been a long journey but as I enter the third year with a stoma I feel as though I’m now on track to something closer to normal.
What’s Happened Since the First Anniversary?
The first year was very tough both physically and mentally (perhaps more so mentally). It was a struggle coming to terms with having the surgery and I often questioned whether I had made the right decision to elect to have it done. I had reached some very low points but with with a combination of counselling, time and some great advice from a number of surgeons I accepted the decision I had made.
I was also not getting on well with the New Bum and having accidents during the night or having to change it throughout the night was contributing to me resenting it. After conversations with my stoma nurse it was recommended that I try colostomy irrigation so on January 8th, 2020 almost a year to the day that I had the surgery I started irrigating. You can read about a year of irrigating here.
The year started much the same as the previous year with daily visits to the nurse for the never-healing wound to be dressed and monitored but with the start of irrigation there was hope that the year could be better than the last.
The second year did see some return to normality with the high point being starting to run again in May with the blessing of my team of nurses. In October the never healing wound finally healed which was a relief but it also meant that I had to say goodbye my nurses after over 300 visits to them.
May 1st was a key date for me when I was given the green light to restart running and it didn’t take long for me to find my feet again and with the aid of a training plan ticked off some goals and ran a half marathon PB of 01:34:44 and a marathon PB of 03:27:00. I also successfully completed two 24+ hour challenges in December running at least a mile every hour and raised over £900 for Colostomy UK along the way.
Apart from just one accident, the stoma hasn’t caused any issues with running and compared to the runner’s trots I used to be plagued with prior to the New Bum, it’s a much more pleasant experience. The irrigation has greatly helped in making running a pleasant experience again but even without it the colostomy bag would still allow me to run even when the runner’s trots made an appearance.
It’s still there, just bulging out doing hernia things. Thankfully it’s not causing any issues at all, it doesn’t interfere at all with the irrigating and I can still run with it. Even though there’s a chance that I may have to have it corrected in the future, right now it’s just keeping itself to itself.
The hernia was a huge source of my mental issues in the first year and I was torn between getting it corrected and leaving it. I could either get it corrected and have a high chance of reoccurrence or not get it corrected and potentially face serious complications. Overall the general consensus amongst the surgeons I spoke to was that if it wasn’t causing any issues then just leave it. I’ve come to accept that large protrusion is now a part of me and I’m gradually becoming less conscious of it.
What’s The Third Year Got In Store?
This year is going to be about getting into the running in a big way and continuing with running challenges and ultramarathon distance runs either in a race setting or on my own. Thankfully I love running long distances on my own so during lockdown I’m not finding it a struggle to get out there on my own to train.
Along the way I want to continue supporting my chosen charity Colostomy UK and help spread the word that you stomas aren’t restrictive and with you can do pretty much everything you want to do and depending on your circumstances prior to having a stoma, maybe even more.
I do understand that there’s a chance in the future that the hernia may need addressing but for the time being I’m hoping that by wearing support garments when exercising, I’ll be able to keep it in check and have a good year.
Here’s to a year of achieving more goals!