Four weeks after surgery and I’m feeling good! I’m in a much better place than where I was pre-surgery. Right now I have zero regrets and I haven’t experienced all of the benefits that the surgery brings. Just wait until I can start running without worrying about the dreaded runner’s trots! Sure, I’ll experience issues along the way but I see those as part of the learning experience and the positives will far outweigh the temporary negatives that can be easily solved. 

It feels so good not having to rush to the toilet, not feeling down, not worrying about where the toilets or trying to hold it in and inevitably failing! Even though it’s only four weeks since Crohn’s was consigned to the bin, it seems like a distant memory. 

The Stoma

My unnamed stoma (thought it would probably be a bit weird naming it) is still pretty angry looking! The area around the stoma is still quite irritated and still bleeds around the edges. I’ve been reassured that this is normal. I’m presuming that the irritation is still to do with the size of the hole on the bag and it not fitting perfectly. I’m relying on the stoma nurses to cut the bags to the correct sizes and am visiting them again in a few days for a review of the size of the stoma. I’m hoping that a closer fitting hole will help with the irritation as it’ll be one less thing to worry about. 

View The Angry Stoma

The skin around the stoma is still irritated and you can see some remnant of blood. The stitches are still there and I’m not sure how long it will take for them to disappear. I have got a bit of a belly but you can see a shape around the top right of the stoma. I’m still not sure, and neither are the stoma nurses, whether this is permanent of will reduce in size.

Bags

The first bags I was given post-op were from a manufacturer called Coloplast and from what I can recall, they appeared to work fine. When my stoma started to shrink the bags were replaced with ones from Dansac and I quickly realised that they didn’t work as well. The adhesive stuck well but I would get wrinkles which on a couple of occasions contributed to some leakages. I want to be confident that when I’m out and there’s only a small amount in the bag that it doesn’t squeeze out of the top when I sit down – this happened yesterday!

As the stoma was still shrinking a little, I was given a Dansac convex bag to try and I instantly didn’t get on well with it. I had trouble sticking the top of the flange to my skin although that did improve. The fact that this bag, and the one previously, weren’t sticking well didn’t give me much confidence for going swimming or taking a shower.  Also, the large plastic flange on the bag protruded quite a bit meaning that it was more visible beneath my clothes but also I was more conscious of the bag and that’s not what I want. I want it to fit well enough that I forget it’s there. Perhaps the convex shape wasn’t for me.

The adhesive on the convex bags appeared to be different which proved more troublesome when removing, especially as I have a few hairs on my stomach! It may also contributed to some small, painful cuts on my skin away from my stoma.

The latest bag that I picked up from my stoma nurse today is also from Dansac and is their Nova range. The bag has a slightly different shape (which looks like it could fit better with clothes) and has a different shape flange so hopefully will still better. 

The Ken Butt

This is taking soooo long to heal. The holes at the top and bottom of it are still leaking fluid and sometimes blood on contact and require daily dressing changes by a nurse. I’m on week three of the dressing changes and there’s easily a week or more left.  It’s still uncomfortable to sit on and there are random shooting pains which must be my body reminding me that it still hasn’t healed. 

I have been asked where the photos of the Ken Butt are? I’m brave, but not sure I’m that brave!

Pain

Things are definitely improving in regards to pain although I’m still getting some minor discomfort when walking. In a way it’s good as it’s a way of my body reminding me to take things easy whilst it’s healing. Strangely, I’m getting more pain on the opposite side to the stoma. Less work was done on this side of the body although it was the site of a drain so a tube did have to pass from my abdomen to my ken butt. 

The pain can be quite sharp and on numerous occasions I’ve felt a shooting pain whilst turning in bed. As there is a risk of hernias I was concerned that it might be the start of one but I couldn’t feel anything and neither could a nurse. The pain has been there in some form since I was in hospital and the surgeon wasn’t concerned then so it may well be due to the body healing from having the drain in place. I’m seeing my surgeon next week so he’ll be able to take a better look. 

Wind?

Lately some of the pain I’ve been experiencing has been, I think, down to wind. Yesterday I was feeling a lot of discomfort right across the abdomen particularly when sitting in certain positions. Taking some Wind Setlers has appeared to have helped so it could have been a build up of wind causing the discomfort. I’ve been eating and drinking pretty much anything so could well have been a build up from a combination of different foods. 

Mobility

4 weeks after surgery I’m finally a bit more mobile as I’ve started driving. I could easily have driven earlier as I was confident that I could perform an emergency stop without feeling any pain but played it safe. It’s also nice been chauffeured around! 

I’m doing plenty of walking each day (around 4 miles combined throughout the day) but still trying to walk more slowly than I’m used to. Today I was able to climb to the 7th floor of the hospital due to a large queue for the lifts and apart from being puffed out from a lack of fitness, I didn’t encounter any issues. 

The next step in getting fit again is to try some aqua jogging. This should help build up fitness again and help with the recovery. I will check with my specialist before getting into the pool just to make sure it’s safe at this stage of the recovery.

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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.

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