My IBD Story: Goodbye & Good Riddance!

My IBD Story: Goodbye & Good Riddance!

Hey everyone!

So this is it, my last blog post before I have my colectomy surgery tomorrow! I’m not totally sure when my next upload will be but let’s hope I won’t be out of action for too long. One half of me thinks blogging is probably going to be one of the only things I’m able to do in recovery but then the other half of me thinks I might want a proper break whilst recovering and getting used to my new body. I have no idea how I’m going to feel in any way which is why I haven’t set a proper comeback date, we’ll just see how it goes!

I’ve thought about and made lists of the things I am wanting and hoping to do when I’m feeling less unwell. The thing I don’t know is just how well I’ll feel which is why I haven’t yet uploaded a post or spoken about it much on here. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much as I don’t want to be recovering and be feeling super depressed that I haven’t for some reason turned into superwoman. I just thought I’d have a little chat today about my surgery, how I’m feeling and a little summary of my journey.

Technical Surgery Talk (Don’t read if you’re offended by a woman talking “gross” body parts)

Despite the title of this post, unfortunately I won’t be completely getting rid of my disease. As I’ve mentioned before, the entirety of my large bowel and rectum are riddled with inflammation and ulcers and they are only removing the large bowel. As of course there will be nothing passing through my back passage area once the bowel is gone, it means the disease should eventually start to calm. Because of the nature of the disease and the fact I have a heightened risk of developing cancer due to it, it means I’ll have to have another operation at some point to remove the rectum. It’s already a big enough operation removing the bowel alone so they usually do it separately to give your body the best chance of healing well in both instances.

Onto the actual operation and what it entails. They’ll hopefully be doing it laparoscopically which means they only make small incisions on the body and leave you with minimal scarring and faster healing. Every so often, they can hit complications during and have no choice but to perform open surgery so let’s hope mine goes smoothly! They’ll be snipping off my large bowel at either end which is approximately 4ft long (I’m only 5ft 3…) and obviously cutting all the nerves it’s connected to, too. Then they staple up the rectal stump on the bottom end and fashion a stoma up top. A stoma is when they cut through your abdominal wall and pull the end of your small intestine out of it. That is now where all my waste will filter out of my body into a bag! If you want to know a bit more about stomas, what they look like and how they work, check out Hannah Wittons YouTube videos. They are really useful and she’s incredibly open about her new life with one! A true positive inspiration.

Surgery Complications

There are a hell of a lot of possible complications. Some a lot more high risk than others and they don’t just disappear once the surgery is done and you’re healed. This surgery is of course a decision I haven’t made lightly, it’s going to completely change my life and my body forever. I’ve been back and forth wondering whether I’m making the right decision but I’m at a point where I’m thinking anything must be better than this pain, fatigue and extremely poor quality of life I currently have.

Immediately after surgery you’re obviously at risk of getting infections inside the body and on your wounds. I’ll also still be on some immunosuppressant medication aswell which isn’t going to help the situation. As we all probably know, the digestive system is really quite a sensitive area and the fact that some surgeons have gone in, moved it around and cut a bit out completely throws your body out of whack for a while. This can result in your digestive system essentially going into shock, freezing and refusing to work. Hopefully it’s only for a short amount of time if this does happen. There are also some other pretty grim sounding complications that I will not go into as it isn’t really necessary.

As for living with a stoma complications, the main risk is getting blockages or adhesions. Blockages are just where the food you eat gets stuck in your small intestine. It causes violent vomiting, insane pain and can possibly end up fatal – yeah, not fun. There are some foods you’re warned not to eat to avoid this because of the texture of them being well known for causing problems such as mushrooms and nuts. I will be making sure to chew my food super well at all times as the sound of a blockage really does not sound great. Adhesions are when parts of the small intestine start sort of binding together due to post-surgery trauma, causing a food blockage.

What I Will Be Happy To Say Goodbye To

As I said, I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to feel physically after surgery due to still partly having the disease and the fact my body has been being severely attacked for almost 2 years. My guess is it’s going to take quite a long time to build my immunity and energy back up but I really hope the fatigue I experience is at least slightly relieved as it’s debilitating.

Despite not knowing how I’ll feel energy-wise, I WILL NOT MISS HAVING AN INFLAMED BOWEL. I will not miss the daily extreme burning and cramping pains. I will not miss waking up at all hours of the night and sprinting to the toilet. I will not miss waking up at all hours of the night and rolling around in pain. I will not miss the anxiety that not being near a toilet causes me. I will not miss being high as a kite or feeling extremely nauseous from painkillers. I will not miss being afraid to leave the house. I will not miss not being able to plan things because I never know how I’m going to feel. I will not miss the dread I feel when I eat. I feel like I could go on forever but these are the main things I will not miss.

So What’s Happening To The Blog Whilst I’m Recovering?

If I was a sensible human being, I’d give myself a huge, well deserved break from it. I work so hard on this damn thing, day in day out. However, I have quite a lot of work lined up with brands currently and it’s what I absolutely love to do. On my schedule, I’ve given myself 10 days off. However, depending on how the operation goes and if there’s any complications, it’s possible (but unlikely) I’ll be in hospital for that long. So to be honest with you all, I’m not totally sure when I’ll be back posting again but I do hope it’s soon! Bearing in mind I’m going to be in a lot of pain and on a lot of pain relief so I can’t really tell whether I’m even going to be in the right state of mind or well enough to create content.

I’ve got a few posts that are almost finished, a few that are half finished and some plans for some post-surgery ones on how everything went. “My IBD Story” posts are going to be turning into “The Stoma Series”. Even though my IBD story is not yet coming to an end, I’m not sure how much I will be writing about it anymore due to the fact my stoma will probably be the more interesting and prevalent thing that I would like to spread awareness and educate people on. Who knows though, I may backtrack on my disease and still write bits about it!

There are quite a lot of things I wanted to put in this post but now I’m writing it, it doesn’t feel right to say a lot of it before the surgery. Things such as my worries and fears for the future aswell as my goals and things I am excited to be able to do again. Not to sound morbid but I want to know that the surgery has been successful before sharing these things with the world. Thank you to anyone and everyone who has read, shared, asked about or supported anything to do with me and my illness over this time. Although it’s such a huge part of my life and now I’m making a decision I’ll never be able to turn back from, I’m determined to not let it define me. Let’s hope I’ll be able to go back to leading an almost normal life!

Goodbye and good riddance to my large bowel and wish me luck!

All photographs by Rebeca Elen: Blog/Insta/Facebook

’TIl Next Time,
BTB Xx
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15 Comments

  1. Andrew
    20th September 2018 / 11:52 am

    That was a tough read and just shows again what a very brave, courageous woman you are Alice. Good luck tomorrow, we will all be thinking of you and keeping everything crossed for the very best results.
    Love A & G. xx

  2. Cara McCall
    20th September 2018 / 12:34 pm

    Best of luck for your operation! Wishing you a speedy recovery and as painless as possible time. Take as much time as you need to heal, your body will thank you for it. Sending all my love and positive vibes ❤️

  3. Miranda
    20th September 2018 / 1:48 pm

    Fingers crossed to you being back to the Superwoman that you already are. I am so proud of you xxx

  4. ruthinrevolt
    20th September 2018 / 2:50 pm

    Good luck, Alice! Take all the time you need to recover, we’ll all be here waiting for you. I really hope it goes well. Will be thinking of you. xx

  5. 20th September 2018 / 5:24 pm

    Good luck for the operation Alice and i’m wishing you a speedy recovery x

  6. Randi Morgan
    20th September 2018 / 6:40 pm

    Good luck tomorrow!! You are SUPERWOMAN!!! I said the same thing on May 2nd of this year. Undergoing my 12th surgery at the time, now having 13 total under my belt. I became a permanent colostomate and loving my new life!!! I had an ileostomy from 2012-2013 so I knew it wasn’t long before I was a permanent. 5 years later here I am. It was the hardest surgery I’ve had to date, and I’ve had 13. The pain was only temporary to the alternative of a lifetime of feeling sick. I am a great source for product knowledge, underwear, ostomy belts and helpful tips. Currently dealing with an abscess near my stoma since surgery and even discovered you can alter your supplies to fit those problems and still be safe from accidents. I pray for your surgeon have a steady hand tomorrow. Be brave and you’ll soon know what it’s like to be free!!! Xoxo

  7. Lee Adlam
    20th September 2018 / 6:43 pm

    What a great post. Such courage and bravery to be open about an illness which a large percentage of people wouldn’t speak openly about. Excellent way of raising awareness, especially among younger people who would be less inclined to open up about sensitive matters. Massive best wishes for the op and hope you have a speedy and comfortable recovery, and are back to your awesome, vibrant self soon. Maybe we’ll see you with a microphone in your hand again in the not so distant future!
    Lee x

  8. 20th September 2018 / 8:22 pm

    Sending you all the love and well wishes for tomorrow lovely! I can’t imagine how you must be feeling right now, but I know no matter what, you’ll come out of it shining the other end. I like the sound of “the stoma series” – it gives you an opportunity to delve in and out as and when you feel like it’s necessary, I’m sure you’ll be feeling all over the place when it’s all done!
    Wishing you all the best and make sure to let us know how you got on ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  9. Carmalin Kausihan
    20th September 2018 / 8:51 pm

    Alice thank you for sharing your story. Wish you all the best for tomorrow. May the Lord God have his portrayal healing hands over you. All the best xx

  10. Louise
    20th September 2018 / 10:08 pm

    Good luck for your surgery I know how u feel. I had my large bowel removed four years ago and getting the rectum removed Tuesday xx

  11. 21st September 2018 / 7:25 am

    Good luck with you operation! I know all about this sort of thing because my mum has the exact same problem! If you ever need a chat I’m here. You’re such an inspiration for opening up about this because it’s not spoken enough off!

  12. 21st September 2018 / 4:20 pm

    I’m sending all the postive vibes and luck your way. You’re so brave going through this, and I’m praying this surgury is everything you want it to be. Please take all the recovery time off from your blog! As much as I love, I can tell how hard you work on it, and you need time to rest. The fact our large bowel is that long has made me laugh. I’m looking forward to your need series, and your road to recovery.

    Aycan

  13. 21st September 2018 / 9:46 pm

    You’re probably out of surgery now. Sending you all the prayers, love, support, and admiration to you on this tough journey! You’re going to get through this! And you’ll be stronger!!!
    xoxo Ros (ZenHealth.net)

  14. 23rd September 2018 / 4:20 am

    Sending you lots of love and positive vibes with your surgery. Definitely take your time to recover and don’t worry about blogging – a full recovery is more important (so you can actually come back to blogging sooner than later XD).

    But seriously I don’t understand why some people (esp. women) are offended by others talking about “gross” body parts. We’re human, we share and learn!

    This sounds like a major surgery and it’s for a better health at the end. It doesn’t sound easy but I know you will power through it. See you soon ♥ – BUT RECOVER FIRST!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  15. I’m wishing you all the luck in the world and sending as many good vibes to you as physically possible. I cannot imagine the anxiety and relief you’re experiencing at the same time. But it will all be completely worth it, and I’m sure you’ll recover and bounce back in no time! You’re an incredibly strong and brave woman, and I truly thank you for sharing this with us.

    Get well soon, I’ll be thinking of you!

    Laura ☆ laurahasablog.co.uk

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