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.
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.
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.
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.
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!