This is a question I’ve asked myself many times and I find it difficult to answer. The ultimate answer always tends to be no but I’m forever questioning whether that’s the right answer.

If the surgery went well and didn’t have any complications I’m sure that I wouldn’t be asking the question but as already outlined on the blog a few times, there are ongoing issues which have been causing issues both physically and mentally.

Physical issues can be a challenge to deal with but the mental issues are a lot harder, partly because it can be a combination of contributing factors that on their own may not be too troubling but combined can really affect you. And the physical issues can contribute to the mental issues.

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

Why Would I Regret The Surgery?

What if?

What if I hadn’t had the surgery and had opted to try other treatments? Would they have worked? If they had worked how long would I be in remission, and for how long? What if they hadn’t worked?

It’s surprising how quickly you forget how things used to be when in the middle of a big flareup. My quality of life was being seriously affected by Crohn’s and the surgery was meant to address that but right now I feel like I’ve traded one set of issues for another.

Does Electing to Have Surgery Have an Effect?

Prior to surgery I was confident that I was doing the right thing by electing to have life-changing surgery. I knew that once done, there was no turning back, no way of adding back what was removed, no way of ‘unstitching’ my bum. I was focussed on what things would be like afterwards, how I wouldn’t have to deal with issues that Crohn’s throws at you, how I could return to normality. But how often do you make a decision that can’t be undone?

For those that have to have this surgery due to a life or death decision such as bowel cancer, it’s a no-brainer. You have to have the surgery in order to survive so you would never regret having it done and any complications that arise as a result of the surgery would have been less of an issue because it would have been better than the consequences of not having the surgery.

So when I’m faced with a set of issues that I have to deal with, issues that are a consequence of electing to have surgery, did I make the right decision? I can compare the place I’m at right now to how I was during the flare up and despite the issues I’m experiencing, I’m possibly in a better place, but, there was a third chose available to me which was to try other treatments. At the time I had convinced myself that the surgery would be the best option based on trying other treatment options and them failing but I didn’t take into account the complications that can arise because of the surgery.

And, perhaps, to make things even more complicated, when your specialist sees you after surgery and tells you that not many people with my particular type of Crohn’s elect to have surgery, that really doesn’t help answer the question of whether you regret having it done.

Addressing the Issues

The physical issues I’m experiencing can all be fixed but it’s a double-edged sword. The hernia can be addressed (no guarantee that I could have the procedure) but doing so means going through a similar recover time as I’ve already been through, which means setting me back again, which means missing out on the things I enjoy, which means not being able to plan again, and that isn’t good for my mental health. And not addressing the hernia is also not good for my mental health.

The Ken Butt wounds that are taking an eon to heal can be addressed. The one wound will eventually heal completely but the other wound – the pilonidal sinus – can only be addressed (with no guarantee) by opening everything up again and consequently going through the same process that I’ve been through for the last 8 months. The alternative is to ‘put up with it’.

So, I have two main issues that I’m trying to deal with (that doesn’t include the issues that come with a stoma – nobody likes waking up with faces on the bedsheets!) and the solutions carry no guarantees and having the potential of long recoveries and possible complications.

Mentally it’s hard knowing that the solutions to your problems involve going through more of what have been the cause of your mental issues.

So, Do I Regret Having the Surgery?

I still don’t know, but having to deal with these issues is not easy, it’s not good for my mental health and knowing the solutions that are available to me mean going through more of the same means at present there’s no light at the end of the tunnel – or at least it’s very dim.

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Diagnosed with IBD in 2002, I have experienced the usual ups and downs of having a chronic disease and tried numerous medications but the time finally came in 2018 to elect to have surgery to improve my life. I had the surgery in 2019 and this is my journey having a 'New Bum'.

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