Surgery seems like such a distant memory. In the nine weeks since I had the proctosigmoidectomy having a colostomy bag has become a normal part of my life. Changing it is not an issue, having to clean up poop from around the stoma is not an issue and people seeing it is not an issue. One issue, however, is wind. The stoma is can be quite vocal!

State of the Stoma

Lately the stoma has been particularly vocal, especially on a Monday after the excesses of the weekend. Most of the time the wind that exits the stoma is quiet (just a rustle of the bag!) but on occasions it toots a tune. I haven’t had to deal with a loud fart on many occasions in public but I’m becoming less conscious about it. I could start a food diary to try and determine what is causing the wind but I’m reluctant to eliminate anything at this early stage.

In terms of appearance, the stoma has been pretty healthy but over the last day I have experienced bleeding around the edge of it. In the early days of having the stoma I experienced the same but that was largely down to the healing process and was told that as long as the bleeding is outside the stoma then there’s nothing to be concerned about. I’m not sure why it’s suddenly reappeared but I’m not concerned at this stage and will just keep an eye on it.

Stoma’s Looking a Little Bloody

Proud of my Stoma

Only last week I was saying something similar. In a way I’m proud of my stoma. The little new bum on belly is working hard to make sure that I can live a more normal life. In just a short space of time it has already eliminated so many bad things that I was experiencing and allowed me to return to a more normal life. 

It doesn’t look pretty (one friend referred to it as a Jammy Dodger when seeing a blurred photo of it!) and it can play up a little from time-to-time and decide to go into overdrive with the amount of wind it trumps out but it’s still doing a fantastic job and over time I’ll learn to understand its little quirks.

As of yet, apart from having to learn how to best handle the stoma, I am yet to experience any downsides to it and only positives. I regret nothing! 

The Ken Butt

Let’s not go there! 8 weeks and I’m still seeing a nurse DAILY to have the dressing changed. I’m on first name terms with pretty much everyone in the surgery! It is improving a lot so there is light at the end of the tunnel, well not quite as there’s no tunnel left.

Fitness

My aim is to get back to fitness so that I can return to doing the same runs and races that I enjoyed before the flare up. I have been continuing with brisk walks throughout the week and swimming once or twice a week completing 30/40 lengths. 

Two weeks ago I completed my first 5K and have completed two more since. Running is still quite difficult in terms of my fitness levels and my legs not being used to running but my abdominal area seems to be coping ok. Yesterday I headed out for at least a 5K run but if everything went well I would go a bit further. After around a mile everything was feeling good so I chose a route around a river that would require me to run around 4.5 miles in order to get back to the start. 

My legs were definitely not used to running that sort of distance and they were letting me know but I was determined not to stop. My breathing was improving although my heart rate was fairly high for the pace I was running. I guess that’s to be expected whilst I’m regaining my fitness. 

I was maintaining an average pace of around 09:30 /mi which in the past would have felt slow to me but right now it was still feeling like I was pushing myself. When I reached the 5K mark in under 30 minutes (around 29:30) I couldn’t resist the urge to push on to 10K and aim for sub 60 minutes. I would have to run the same pace to make the time. I pushed on and maintained the 09:30 /mi pace but it was tough. It was probably a bit further than I should have gone but the urge was there to test things out. And apart from having legs that feel like they’ve run a marathon, everything feels good. 

No Runners’ Trots

After not being sure about whether the runner’s trots I used to experience was related to Crohn’s, it’s becoming more and more apparent that they were. I can’t recall being able to run for an hour without having to stop to use the toilet and yet know it’s even something that I consider!

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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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