The Naked Surgical Truth: The J-Pouch Chapter
Well hello again everyone!! It’s been about a week now since I received my new improved colon, also known as Ileal-pouch but more commonly known as the J-Pouch. You might be wondering how I feel…well, to be perfectly bluntly honest, I feel horrible! This shit HURTS! Like for real, Ouch! However, I’d rather be feeling something than nothing at all 8 ft. below the dirt, ya feel me?! I can’t say they didn’t warn me that it would be the most painful of the three surgeries I would have …or actually maybe he said ever of all time, I’m not so sure now. LOL! Listen, I’m not trying to scare any of you out of getting it if you are trying to decide or are about to go in for the surgery. Go! Get it! Get you’re life back! But, know what you are getting yourself into. I mean if you really break down all that they do, you’re back, abdomen and butt might start hurting too.
So what exactly is a J-Pouch? Well to put it simply they make you a new type of colon by taking your small bowel, loop it around to make a reservoir and attaching it to the anus. They remove the colon, rectum and anal canal, reconstructing a new type of canal to attach to the pouch. For the first couple of months you will still have your Ileostomy stoma & pouch, and then they take that down and you will have a normal functioning situation. Now having read that I’m sure you can see why I am sitting here counting the hours to my next pain pill. I am looking at this as small moment of pain for a lifetime of good health. For that I am excited and truly grateful. But I won’t lie, I was scared. I was shaking, praying and breathing hard as they wheeled me down the hall and placed me on the table. And the first person I asked for when I woke up apparently was, Mommy.
What to expect when you wake up? The possibility of spasms, both abdomen and rectal spasms. Actually for the first two days I can honestly say that I didn’t even feel the incision or ostomy pain, it was the spasms that were killing me. They happened randomly and were extremely extremely painful! Remember that you will be getting a new stoma, probably in the same place, but actual new stoma. So, you kind of go back to square one with the swelling, soreness and tender skin when it comes to that. I get itchy and hot flashes from pain medication, so keeping my skin moist with lotion or cortisone cream was important. Keep calm and breathe. The surgery is over, but your body needs to heal so let yourself rest and sleep. There may be some rectal drainage that you can’t control, it may burn a little. Not too much you can do about that. Just keep the area clean and dry. Also try sleeping and sitting on a pillow…sounds silly, but it helps a lot.
A week later, how am I doing? I’m walking around a bit and I find things funny! LOL! It’s still very very painful. Everything is very very sore. I’m starting to feel the ostomy and abdomen now. But is still pretty sore and my balance is a little off still. But hey, slow and steady wins the race! It’s very hard to just lay down and rest with a toddler, so bring them in on what’s going on. I told Jaxon that I had a boo-boo and that mommy needs to rest. In fact I heard he had told some people that “Mommy is in the hospital because her booty gots broken.”…yea, maybe I over explained! But now we watch movies and he reads to me. I tell him he is helping mommy feel better and it seems to be working.
Here are some things that were suggested to me to use in recovery and I have started using some:
1. Gatorade & Smart Water
2. Super Sensitive Skin Baby Wipes
3. Depends or long thick Maxi Pads
4. Mild Fragrance Free Soap
5. Cortisone or Calendula Lotion/Cream
6. Soft Thick Pillow: to sit on
7. Let Your Friends Visit: I don’t care how embarrassing you think this all is, your friends love you and don’t care! The support they bring will lift your spirits and help you heal
8. Loose pants or Kaftans
9. Mattress covers or disposable pads for beds
10. Hot Pad or Hot Packs: for back and tired muscles
If you are reading this and you have your pouch surgery coming up good luck and welcome to the club. We are truly a blessed group of people to be able to come out of years of agony and pain and find a new life, a new normal. If you are thinking about the surgery, I say go for it. Yes there are a lot of things that could go wrong, there are so many things that WILL go right. If it doesn’t work you can always get your ostomy back. But I, personally can’t wait to see the rest of my stomach and wear tight clothes again before I turn 40 and can’t wear tight dresses and don’t wanna see my stomach again! LOL! Just sayin’! Listen, everything is gonna be alright. I had so much anxiety over this decision and surgery, and I can already feel just how great life is gonna be now!
People may read this and think, “Dang, girl, you’re really putting it out there! TMI!” Well I spent a long time scouring the internet hoping that there was someone in my situation. I just wanted to know that I wasn’t alone, what to expect, where to go for help. And maybe not all of my readers have Colitis or Crohn’s or any kind of auto immune disease. Okay so this post isn’t exactly for that reader. But this post is for someone may have the disease or someone who is caring for someone with the disease. Maybe I can calm their fears, give them tools to arm themselves with or a optic fiber hug. Trust me, this isn’t the easy thing to talk about. Know that it doesn’t thrill me to allow thousands of people know that my booty gots broken! Sometimes it’s bigger than us. God gave me a new start and is allowing me to be here to raise my son. It’s time i pay it forward and not allow someone to suffer alone like I did.