Chewbacca

********WARNING********
This is another one of those TMI posts.

This post is all about the colostomy.  If you are interested in what it’s all about and how I’m feeling and dealing with it, read on.
Don’t need those kind of details?  Feel free to skip this post.

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 When we discussed the surgery they explained that I would likely have a colostomy done.  I knew what the procedure meant but I wasn’t really sure what the whole thing would mean to my daily life.  Because of the condition I was in prior to surgery, I really didn’t have time to think about it either.

When I woke up from surgery and had enough awareness to notice the bag hanging from my belly, I honestly didn’t think too much of it at first.  Dealing with all of the pain the first few days after was my primary focus.  Eventually though I was obviously intrigued by this new “part” in my body.
They removed about 10cm of my colon including Johnny Carcinoma. They sewed up the end that connects to my anus and the other end comes out of the left side of my belly above my waistline.  My new belly hole is called a stoma.


It’s normal to not have bowel movements after a major surgery like mine so I really didn’t have to deal with this other than getting used to having a bag hanging off me.  Eventually though, we needed to get things going to see if everything was working OK.
I’ll be honest, after a few days I was getting excited to see how this was going to work.  I mean, it’s poop.  And that’s weird.  But it was still very fascinating and I started getting a little impatient waiting.

The first weird thing that happened and fact that I will share is that you have no control over your bowels any longer.  You can’t really feel when anything is about to happen.  The first time I realized this was the day that MJ left the hospital to go into work for the first time since the surgery.  It was just me in the room when a couple of nurses came in to check for bed sores.  They needed to roll me to my side to check my back.  The first time they tried to roll me it really hurt so they tried rolling me to the opposite side.  As they started there was a huge fart.  I was completely startled.  I looked sheepishly at them and asked if that was me. I guessed it was as there was a bubble in my bag.  They giggled and asked if that was my first time.  It was quite a moment.
Eventually I got used to it.  It kinda tickles.  They’re kinda like regular farts in that some of them are very loud and some are totally silent.  But the best part is they don’t smell 😀
I’m still trying to figure out when they’re going to come so when I’m out in public I can try to muffle the bag.  I just know that’s going to happen at a horrible time at least once.  You know, like durring prayer time at church?

They were ready to discharge me on the Saturday after surgery, but I still hadn’t had a bowel movement.  To get things rolling they started giving me laxatives and stool softeners. I walked laps around the hallways and would get very excited when a bag fart occurred.  Sad when that’s all it was.  It was on a hallway walk that we decided to name it Chewbacca.  My noisy sidekick.

After hours and hours of waiting and no action they decided to give me a suppository.  Here’s the strange thing…   they did it anally.  I’m pretty good at anatomy, so this really confused me.  I didn’t want to question them because, you know, they should know what they’re doing, but, um, yeah I didn’t think that was going to work anymore.  They said something about it stimulating all the bowels yadda yadda.  OK.  Well, it didn’t work.  Let’s just say that experience and whole night was something I not only ever want to repeat, but really don’t even want to talk about again.
So the next morning when the nurse came in with another suppository, I cried and begged for anything else.  She was so kind to get me some warm prune juice to try, but if it didn’t work it was going to be back up the butt time.
Luckily a few hours later as we walked the hall I thought I felt something so we ran back to my room.  Low and behold!  It worked!  And I’m not really sure what I was expecting to see, but it was poop!  Of course it would be, but for some reason it still startled me.
The ostomy nurse came by to show us how to empty, clean, change everything. He was a trip.  Kinda nerdy and very passionate about his job.  Super knowledgable.  He was kinda like the Rick Steves of ostomy.

So now I’m home with this new apparatus.  It’s not nearly as horrible as I thought it would be.  Not really difficult to deal with either once you get a routine down.  When you’re in the hospital they make you wear a clear bag so they can check everything. While interesting at first, it gets pretty gross.  Now that I’m home I get to wear a nice opaque one.
I haven’t been out much since the surgery so I haven’t had much practice in hiding it, but it doesn’t seem like that will be a big deal either.

There’s a model who has one.  I’d like to think I’ll look like this with mine…   HA!

Who would ever think you could make something like that look sexy?

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2 thoughts on “Chewbacca

  1. I must say, you are really looknig good Heather! Most people don’t photograph so well while they are in the hospital. Like… well…. they look sick. But you look fanulous! Glad to hear once again, of your positive “adjustments”. Big Hug, stoma farts and all.

    Love ya!
    Scott

  2. Hi Heather…just wanted to let you know that you can get vented, disposable bags so that you don’t need to clean out the reusable bag…just pop the disposable bag off and dispose of it in the plastic bags w/twist ties that they come with…let me know if I can help in any way…sometimes the skin prep that helps make the cariya wafer stick better, doesn’t…so it is a trial and error process…just keeping your skin cleansed well may be all that you need…also, once that stoma is done healing, you will be able to get the pre-cut sized bag…keep up the good work! You are awesome!

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