Here’s a short summary of my life the last month after getting my colon removed due to a nasty case of UC. Hope you enjoy!
The Update After Colon Removal:
Hello, my name is Blake, 30 years old, father, husband, diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in February of 2011, I live in Missouri, originally from Illinois. I had 2 flares in 2011 and they were both really nasty, I think I had 2 good months. I tried all kinds of drugs, diets, lifestyle changes, but I was nothing helped, I was crapping blood 15-25 times a day. I was missing work, always on the toilet, pooping my pants, having bloody farts, laying around on the couch when I wanted to be playing with my son and depressed and miserable. It came down to basically having to choose to get my colon removed, or being forced to have it removed later down the road due to an emergency situation, so I chose to get it removed while I was still in pretty good health. I chose to do the 3 step J Pouch surgery, this was step one. Here’s my update on what life is like after colon surgery and being introduced to an ostomy bag.
I had my colon removed on December 6th, 2011. My doctor originally wanted to admit me to the hospital for an emergency colon removal after Remicade did not work for me. I choose not to do this because I would’ve been in the hospital during Thanksgiving and I knew I wasn’t going to die waiting another week, so we did it December 6th. The day of the surgery I was pretty scared, waiting again in a damn hospital waiting room to get this thing over with. I remember the biggest thought on my mind was food. They make you starve yourself, much like getting a
colonoscopy. Once I finally entered the prep stage, a stoma nurse came in and measured me for where I would like my stoma. A stoma is basically your small intestine, and when you get your colon removed, you’re small intestine is poked through your abdomen so you can get rid of waste through an ostomy bag. Once that was done, they started giving me the good stuff and I was asleep in no time.
When I woke, I remember all these ER nurses surrounding me and as I came to I remember feeling really loopy and in a great mood. I said to the nurses, “stop staring at my penis” as a joke and when they started laughing, I started laughing. Boy! That was a mistake! That was the first time I realized that you should not laugh moments after having your bowels sliced open. They continued to make jokes and I told them to stop making me laugh cause it hurt too bad.
The first time I saw my stoma, I was like anyone else would be, horrified, disgusted and a little sad. It reminded me of the movie Alien’s when the alien pops out of that dudes stomach. Or was it a chick? Anyway, that was a little hard to deal with. And I had a catheter in my pee pee, a drainage thing up my ass, and another drainage tube coming out of my side, oxygen in my nose, plus my IV. I did have access to a button that gave me something like morphine, if you press it too many times, it makes you itch really bad. So I only used it when I needed.
They encourage you to walk so I started taking walks the day after surgery. It’s really hard to get out of bed after this surgery, but once you’re up, it’s not too bad. I immediately felt relief, even though I was in a lot of pain, that I did not have to take a crap. I thought now this is what life is like! I had forgotten.
They wouldn’t allow me to eat solid foods for my first couple meals after surgery, so broth and jello and juice was what I ate. The first solid meal I had was a cheeseburger (with mayo and ketchup and a gluten free bun), fries and a sprite. Then I grubbed on some ice cream. Yep, hadn’t had dairy in a long time before my surgery so that was awesome. I couldn’t believe I was getting to eat this and guess
what, no bloody poop afterwards! That was the best part.
I stayed in the hospital 3 days after surgery, which is the least amount of time they will allow someone after colon removal to stay for so I was a rockstar.
The ride home was great cause I didn’t have to worry about a bathroom. You’re not supposed to drive for two weeks after surgery. I guess because if you get into an accident, you’re screwed because the seat belt would probably rip you open. Well, I drove a couple days after I got out of the hospital, no problems. My doctor also told me not to lift anything over 25 lbs for the next six weeks. So I went to the gym 7 days after my surgery. I lifted a few light weights and walked a while on the treadmill. I am not suggesting to do what I did at all, you could risk getting a hernia pretty easily if you aren’t careful. I’m just letting you know it wasn’t that bad.
I have been sitting arond a lot the last month, playing lots of video games and watching a ton of tv, it’s been great. But I have been pretty active the last 2 and a half weeks. I will go to the gym about every other day, taking walks around the neighborhood, going grocery shopping and playing with my son. I shouldn’t be writing this, but i even knocked boots with my wife about a week after surgery! Still got it!
I have felt depressed at times when I let myself think too much, but I think that’s mainly because I haven’t been working and keeping a daily routine. I go to bed around 3 every night and wake up around 8, so I haven’t been giving myself enough sleep which is my bad.
Living with a bag isn’t the greatest, but it’s a hell of a lot better than my life with UC.
I feel free again and every day gets a little better. I do have to empty my bag quite a lot, probably 6-10 times a day, but that’s because I empty it even when there isn’t that much in there. That will probably drop down once I go back to work Monday. It’s pretty easy to conceal the bag with a long shirt. I also where an ace bandage around my abdomen when I go to the gym or out anywhere and have ordered a belt to help conceal it.
Anyway, I didn’t want to make this too long, so if you have any questions, fire away. I’m open to anything and am very honest and nothing groses me out. If you ever have to decide if this is the way to go for you, I endorse it so far. I have 2 more surgeries to go before I’m done, but I am very pleased with step one. Thanks for reading!
submitted in the Colitis Venting Area
Medications and Treatments I tried for treating my Colitis:
Prednisone (and lot’s of it)
SCD diet (about a month and a half)
along with a gluten free diet which I still do since February
…and a bunch other crap I can’t think of right now.
Look where it got me… Colonless… but happy without a colon!
My name is Blake, I’m 32 years old. I have a 4 year old son and a beautiful wife. I used to suffer from UC until I had surgery. I’m celebrating 1 year and 1 day with a J Pouch today (8/23/13).