Friday, May 22, 2009

Second Surgery Summary

     My ileostomy reversal surgery started at 7:30 AM on Monday.  I was in recovery by 9:30 and in my room by 10:30.  I was on the computer posting the update just a few minutes later.  This second surgery was a piece of cake compared to the first step done in January. 
     From what I was told before this surgery, the length of the hospital stay depends largely on how long it takes for the new plumbing to start working.  I had heard that it could take a day or two, or possibly much longer.  I was "in business" by 2:00 AM Tuesday morning.  By Tuesday afternoon I was using the toilet regularly every few hours.  This was great for two reasons.  First, it meant my diet could be upgraded from clear liquids and second, it meant my hospital stay would probably be short.
     When my bandage was changed for the first time,  the tape that was used on the first dressing that was put on in the OR tore the skin on my abdomen.  It was some type of heavy-duty foam tape.  The spots from the tape were more painful than the actual incision from the surgery.  The surgeon left a small opening with a wick in it to help it drain.  The wick was removed before I left the hospital.  The opening will gradually close.  In the meantime, I just keep a large band-aid over it.
     The only problem I had while in the hospital was that my arm started to swell on Wednesday.  The IV line had to be taken out and put on my other arm.  Jennifer, my nurse, was able to get the new line in without any problems.  The only inconvenience was that I had to take a break from Wii.  
     I was released on Thursday afternoon.  It's good to be home!!! 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Second Surgery

Had my second surgery at 7:30 this morning.  It lasted 2 hours and everything went great!!! Just had my liquid lunch of broth, can't wait for solid foods.  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just 4 more days until my last surgery!!

I know it has been a long time since I last updated my blog, sorry. I have no excuse other than I have been fishing way too much to take the time to sit down and post to my blog.  As far as my health goes I am doing awesome.  I've easily been able to put the weight back on that I lost around the time of my first surgery.  I eat just about everything I can get my hands on.  
I did have one set back that delayed my surgery about a month.  Close to three months after my first surgery I had an abscess form near my pouch that had to be cut and drained.  That was an uncomfortable two weeks.  My surgeon stitched a tube into the abscess which allowed it to drain and heal up.  The tube had to stay in for 2 weeks, not fun.  We decided to wait another month before going in for my last surgery just to make sure that it didn't come back and that no other problems would arise.  
Overall I am feeling great!  I eat anything I want, I can go and do anything that I want, both things that I couldn't do before the surgery.  I go in Monday morning for the final surgery and will probably be in the hospital the rest of the week.  This surgery is much shorter and less complicated than the first.  Basically all the surgeon will do is remove the ostomy bag and reconnect my small intestine inside my abdomen.  I can't wait to be done with the bag!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

6 Weeks Post-Op

Well today is 6 weeks since my first surgery.  I am officially halfway to my second and final surgery.  Recovery has been great so far.  There's only been a few changes in the past few weeks.  The one I am most excited about was taking my last pill of Prednisone.  It is a nasty drug that I have been on for over a year.  So, I am officially not taking any medications for ulcerative colitis! This is the first time since I was diagnosed at 17!  I have also changed the appliance that I wear.  At first I was using a one piece, transparent bag which is what I was given in the hospital.  I wasn't a huge fan of being able to see all the "output" so I changed to a two piece, beige appliance.  I can tolerate the bag a little better now since I don't have to see the contents every time I look at it.  The new bag also has a smaller adhesive area that attaches to my skin, thus a smaller area that can become irritated.  I have slowly become more active over the weeks.  I was able to make a trip out to Dallas for the Mardi Gras parades with my family.  We had a great time and it was really nice to finally get out of the house for awhile.  I have also been able to get back into my parents' hot tub.  I missed it after a month of not being able to get in.  I am meeting with my surgeon on Monday and will hopefully be able to schedule a date for my second surgery.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

3 weeks after surgery!

Today it has been three weeks since my first surgery and things are going well.  If you had asked how I was doing last week you would have heard a much different answer.  I picked up some sort of flu like virus and had a fever and congestion all of last week.  That made for some pretty miserable times.  I felt okay over the weekend and took a trip to our lakehouse for a little change of scenery.  I attempted to fly fish on Saturday.  That proved to be a bad decision. I had no luck actually catching a fish and found out that my body was not ready for something that active.  My fever picked back up after the fishing attempt and stuck around all that night.

I  have finally gotten comfortable with looking at my stoma.  I use to get light headed and almost pass out every time I had to change my bag and clean around the stoma.  I no longer need a nurse to come twice a week to change my bag out.  I can do it with a some assistance from my mom.  Overall, things are going well now.  I can walk a little better everyday and it feels great to eat anything I want now.  I ate a huge frito-pie during the Superbowl.  It was awesome.  I still have to get up a few times a night to empty the bag, but that is completely normal and expected. I have one little spot beside my stoma that has been getting irritated.  This is probably from stool leaking at the seal around the stoma. The stool that comes out of the stoma has digestive enzymes in it that will even digest skin that it comes in contact with.  There is a powder that heals the sore that I put on every time I change the bag. Hopefully, this will be healed up quickly and won't become a continuous issue.  I am meeting with my surgeon's e.t. nurse on Monday to check the stoma and make sure I know how to heal the sore and prevent one from coming back.

I received a call from the hospital this week to ask me about my care there.  I told them that overall I thought my care was good, except for that first visit from the e. t. nurse.  I received a second call a little later from a manager.  He told me to send him an e-mail with all the details. Shortly after I sent it, I got an e-mail from another manager that said he is following up and would be getting back to me.  In the e-mail I recommended additional technical training, as well as additional sensitivity training for this woman.  My surgeon told me at my visit today that there was another complaint about her after mine.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

7 Days After Surgery

I had a good night.  After seeing my surgeon I signed the release papers and was on my way.  It was great to be home.  My Mom stocked the fridge with snacks I was eating in the hospital.... puddings, popsicles, juice, ice cream and yogurt.  To my surprise,  my weight is 154 lbs.  That is exactly what I weighed the night before surgery.  I expected to lose a lot of weight.  My surgeon said the average colon weighs about 6 pounds.  I was prepared for a big loss when I stepped on the scale.  I guess the constant snacking did the trick.

6 Days After Surgery

I felt fine today.  My appetite is back and the pain is manageable.  My IV was removed again tonight.  If all goes well, I'll go home tomorrow after my surgeon sees me in the morning.