Coupon Kid vs Crohn's - Going back under the knife for the last time (I hope!)
Happily, it’s been a while since I posted a blog in this series. I’ve been as fit as a fiddle since my surgery last July. But it’s now time for the final stage of getting me permanently back to good health.
If you read my last Coupon Kid vs Crohn’s blog, you'll know after a gruelling seven months in and out of hospital, barely eating food, I had surgery that left me with an iIeostomy bag to give my bowels a bit of time to recover.
I also mentioned that at some point this year, I’d have to go in for surgery again to have the bag reversed, and only then would I be able to go back to a normal functioning human being (‘normal’ being a very loose term). Well, the time for that surgery is almost here.
On Wednesday (29 May), I’ll be getting up at the crack of dawn to drive a few hours to Cambridge to go in for the final surgery. Currently, I have a piece of my large and small bowel poking out of my stomach, and the bag I wear covers that and catches the waste.
This operation will join me back up and my gut will go back to working how you’d expect.
How has my health been?
I'm pleased to say there have been barely any problems since I've had the bag, and I am probably the healthiest now that I've been in as long as I remember. I can't remember the last time I needed to take a painkiller. I still to receive questions on social media as to how I am feeling, and it's a joy to be able to say 'I'm totally fine'.
The only minor setback I've had from time to time is that occasionally, the bag decides to leak all over me (which isn't very pleasant). Other than that, I've been able live my life to the full once again.
I’d read so many horror stories online and in Crohn’s-related Facebook groups I’d joined. Everybody’s views on ileostomy bags seemed negative. Yet as you probably know, people tend to rant and rave about bad experiences, while the more uplifting stories can go unheard.
So hear this from me, if you have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis and need to get the bag, don’t be scared. Don’t be turned off it by the bad experiences of others. It may not be the easiest thing in the world to deal with, and may not be the most attractive thing, but it can give you a life back. The pros for me have far outweighed the cons.
How am I feeling about having surgery again?
I’m very torn. When I had my surgery last year, things literally couldn’t get much worse for me. It felt like the only way was up, but this time it’s going to be different. Because I am so healthy now, with no issues, it does feel there’s a lot more at stake this time around.
But I’m thinking positively. I can have a proper night’s sleep without having to get up in the night to empty my bag, and I don’t have to worry about taking equipment everywhere with me. Plus I can stop wearing my trousers like Simon Cowell to hide it.
Throughout my battle last year, staying positive got me through, and I’m certain it will do this time. Yes, there may be gremlins in the back of my mind, but they can only take over if I let them.
How long will I need to recover?
It feels like my whole adulthood so far has been one long recovery period!
With this one we are looking at 4-6 weeks. This surgery isn’t as major as my previous one, but I won’t actually know until afterwards when I’ve woken up whether they were able to complete it via keyhole. If they can’t, they’ll have to open me up again, but that’ll mean a longer recovery. My scar from my first surgery has only just healed, so it’s a shame it may appear again, but at the same time, it’ll be a nice battle scar.
This surgery is far easier than the last one, so although I may need to stay in hospital for up to a week after, it should be straightforward. I'll be able to leave hospital once everything is working how it should.
As my surgery is the end of May, I’m looking at returning to work at some point in July. This means I’ve got the whole of June to get myself back up to full steam again and be nursed and spoilt by my mother and my partner (lucky them). I'm not the sort of person that enjoys standing still for long - I'll be eager to get back to normality.
So this may be the last blog I’ll write for a while, but hopefully there are lots of exciting things coming for when I’m back. If my time off drives me a bit loopy, I’ll pop back with a quick blog or two to keep my mind active… there’s only so much daytime TV a person can watch.
If you or someone you know has been through a similar situation, feel free to comment below or share your experience on Twitter @MSE_Deals or on Facebook. If by sharing my story I can help someone else cope, it will all have been worthwhile.