Just over a year since My New Bum was installed I was back in the hospital this week for another check-in with my surgeon and stoma nurse.
Over the past couple of years I’ve got on really well with my surgeon and each time I see him it doesn’t feel like a doctor/patient appointment, but rather we have very honest conversations. I feel as though he doesn’t hold things back and whilst he can’t fully commit to what he would do when it comes to make decisions about things like the hernia, he gives enough indicators so that you have a good feel for which direction he wants you to go. Through having these types of conversations I really do trust his judgement, and trust in these situations is crucial.
The Hernia Saga Continues
I’ve been through this so many times. Do I live with the hernia or do I attempt to have something done about it. After the last meeting with my surgeon it played on my mind constantly so I decided I needed to make a decision about it and decided that I would leave it alone. Then time went, the hernia obviously didn’t get any better, nor did it really get any worse, but it was still there and I was constantly reminded by it.
How I felt about it did change over time and I had accepted the appearance of it so wasn’t so concerned about the fact that it was protruding through my clothing. Some people that I spoke to suggested I get it down and whilst I value people’s opinions, it’s easy to make such a choice when you aren’t actually having to go through with it.
I wanted to get the most out of my check-in with my surgeon and the hernia was inevitably going to be mentioned and instead of just simply asking whether he thinks I should have it done or not, I wanted to check what the risks were if I was to do nothing. Apart for the low risk of a blockage (potentially minimised through irrigating), would careful management of the hernia prevent it from getting worse or over time would it end up getting worse as you can’t always be managing it (I’m sure there’ll be times when you inadvertently pick up heavy things or forget to wear a support belt.
When the subject was approached, it was clear that he was reluctant to operate although he was was always open about saying that if I wanted the operation he would do it. He said there are low risks of blockages and it may get bigger over time but right now he would class it as small to moderate in size. He also raised concerns about using a mesh to repair the hernia due to potential interactions with the Crohn’s Disease and would instead use sutures. Based on my very limited knowledge of hernia repairs, I think the recurrence rate is higher with sutures so it would be a procedure with increased risks.
For now, I just need to accept how things are. I’ll be having another appointment in 3 months time so I can still talk about it more if required.
Mental Health Update
Last time I saw my surgeon I was feeling really low and I made him away of that and following the appointment I went even lower. It was a tough time with lots of different health issues contributing to make things tough. I’ve been seeing a counsellor since November and it has been tough going but I do feel as though I’m starting to get into a better place, partly due to resolving issues with the stoma (e.g colostomy irrigation). It’s still tough though!
During the appointment he did ask how I was coping mentally and I’m not sure if he remembered the last appointment or had just referred to notes but I thought it was good of him to enquire about it. I mentioned that the irrigation had helped and he was curious as to why I had started it so I like to think that he was learning something new.
I was determined to try and wait until it had fully healed until I started doing any running and the wound reached a point where it was almost healed but then I fell off the wagon and thought I’d do a bit on the treadmill. The very next day one of my nurses commented that the wound had opened up a bit. I didn’t confess! Then I saw my surgeon and he mentioned that the wound was still long and thin (I couldn’t remember it being like that) so I had a photograph taken today and it has certainly opened up.
I’ve posted photos the wound below showing last week and today to show the difference but this means a bit of a setback for me and a few more weeks of healing (maybe more? Who knows). In the one photo it was so close to closing and then all that extra movement caused it to reopen.
Wound Photos for the Curious
Coming into this week both myself and one of my nurses thought that I was almost there in terms of healing and she even joked about which one of the practice nurses would have the honour of signing me off but it now looks like it’s going to be going into at least March. I’d already given them a thank you card and an extra large helping of Hotel Chocolat chocolates but maybe they’ll be getting more!