Archive for August, 2008

Rafting with an ostomy

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

This last weekend I headed out with some friends to go rafting. For more details about the trip itself, you can read about them on my personal blog here. I actually had a really good time despite the fact that I had my first real problem with a bag that I was unprepared to handle. We camped the night before and that went really well. And my stoma behaved itself very well the whole time. I had very little output unless it was an appropriate time when I could use a bathroom.

I didn’t really know what to expect, so I didn’t bring my extra supplies on the boat with me (dumb move). But then I got in some water fights and was actually thrown overboard with another guy and somewhere during that the seal on my bag started to come undone. There were still a couple hours left to go and it wasn’t that bad so I just wiped it off a bit and pulled my swimming trunks over it to contain anything. After a while it started to get worse and leak a bit more. Some got on the inside of my shirt. Anyway, when we were out of the boat, I ended up just holding my side to keep the bag on and to hide the small spots that were showing through. It definitely dampened the fun a bit for the second half of the trip, but was more of a learning experience than a turn off from doing it again.

So here’s what I learned from my trip. First off, bring a pillow because sleeping on the ground without one just plain sucks. Two, physically it wasn’t a problem at all. I didn’t get sore or anything so that wasn’t an issue. Three, make sure that I reinforce the seal as best as I can with tape and whatever else to help it hold on and to keep the water out. Four, bring “emergency supplies” on the boat just in case they are needed. It would have been a non-issue if I had had my extra supplies as I could have easily changed my bag quickly behind a bush when we stopped (I was already going back there to wipe things off and make sure my bag was as empty as possible). And finally, even with a “blow out”, it’s still possible to have a good time and not ruin everyone else’s time.

So, basically I’m back in the game for physical activities and am on the list to go again next year!

Swollen feet

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

For the last several months before I had my surgery, my feet swelled up. It was minor at first and we tried various things to solve it, but I was doing so poorly that even working from bed with my feet elevated the whole day didn’t solve it.

TPN helped and my feet went down in size, but it didn’t totally handle it. Compression socks weren’t much good either.

But since my surgery, it’s been much improved. I have only gone through two periods of feet swelling. Both about two days and both solved by taking some salt and potassium (or at least that’s what it looks like solved them).

Other than those two incidents, it’s been smooth sailing.

Goat Intestine

Monday, August 25th, 2008

A while back my wife and I were joking about intestinal transplants. She has goats that she milks and a couple of them were butchered, so she was offering me goat intestines as a replacement for my missing colon. It was actually quite funny and I’ve had it on my list of things to blog about since then.

And then the topic of colon transplants came up on one of the Yahoo Groups that I am part of. It’s not a topic that I have researched at all, but I thought there were some interesting points brought up. One of them was that one of the problems with an intestinal transplant is all of the intestinal flora that differs from person to person. I hadn’t thought how that would be a problem.

Another interesting point was the amount of money and effort that’s put towards handling things like erectile dysfunction (otherwise known as “can’t get it up”) dwarfs the amount of money put towards diseases like Ulcerative Colitis and Chron’s and ways to handle them. Though I must admit that the attention and research has increased over the last few years.

Anyway, if they come up with a way, I’ve got a place I can get some goat intestines! Who knows, it may be how we make our fortunes–goat intestines to help those who are “intestinally challenged”!

6 Months Out

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

We’re coming up on 6 months here in a few days. I had my ileostomy surgery on February 27th, so in 3 more days it will officially be my semi-anniversary as an ostomate. I figured I’d take a look back over the last while and see if I could document some of the things that I have gotten back in my life in that short span of time. So here’s a list of things that I was having a hard time doing that I’m now able to do like a normal person in no particular order:

  1. Be a dad. I wasn’t much more than an ornamental dad before. Chris had to do everything, but now I can keep up with Daphne (at least as much as any normal person would be able to keep up with a VERY dynamic little one year old). I can play and put her to sleep and take walks and play with her dolls and eat with her and go places with her and do all sorts of things without having to constantly stop to rest or go to the bathroom.
  2. I’d say I’m a much better husband again. I’m able to be active and do things with Chris and Daphne. I’m more interested in activities and am able to help out around the house, plus I’m able to keep up those those other husband activities that shall not be named since my parents both read this blog 🙂
  3. I went golfing. It was on the short nine,  but hey, it was golfing again and it was fun. Plus I have gone to the driving range a couple of times and I plan to continue.
  4. I’ve been swimming several times in our local outdoor pool this summer with Daphne. I was a little hesitant since I didn’t have a swimsuit, but I got a special one with a higher waist and I’ve been doing fine. And it helps to have a little one to take swimming because I end up carrying her or her floaty thing so no one would even notice that the front of my shorts are hiked up like Erkle on Family Matters.
  5. I can watch a whole movie without having to go to the bathroom in the middle–though I can’t really make it through one with Daphne, but that’s a different story.
  6. I have gained weight. I’ve never made it over 135 and have had trouble making it over 115 for the last few years, but since the surgery I’ve gained a bunch and am now stably at 150.
  7. Eaten popcorn, broccoli, ice cream and all sorts of foods that were taboo before. Eating has become a pleasure again rather than the bi-hourly necessity to stay alive.
  8. I traveled to New York. I had traveled before when I was sick, but it was really hard. This time it was much easier and more pleasurable, and not a journey between bathrooms.
  9. I can work a full day easily, whereas before five hours was starting to push my limits.

I’m sure there are plenty more, but that hits the highlights. Overall I’d say it was a very successful decision to have the surgery!

Eyesight returning

Friday, August 1st, 2008

It’s a funny side effect, but I think now that I am feeling better, my eye sight is returning to normal. I used to have really good vision. My mom used to call me “Eagle Eye” because I could see things very far away. But as my health deteriorated, so did my eye sight. Last December I even had to get classes (though I must admit that I mostly wore them for driving and even then not all that often). It was especially bad when I was tired.

I somewhat blamed it on working at a computer all the time and not getting outside. And this may have had something to do with it. But I also think that my body was just so shot that my eyes weren’t getting the nutrition that they needed to stay healthy. But now that I am healthy, I’ve noticed that my eyes are getting better and my glasses don’t necessarily seem correct. I’m sure they’ll continue to get better since I am outside doing a lot more activities now and also since I am now absorbing nutrients instead of just feeding them down the drain to th sewer.

I guess this means I’ll have to go in and get my eyes checked again sometime and get some new glasses. But I think I’ll wait a while and then maybe I can get away with officially not needing them instead of just ignoring them!