Archive for the 'ileostomy' Category


Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

It’s weird having a spot that doesn’t feel. There’s a spot just below my ostomy on the “inside” (side closest to my belly button) that doesn’t have any feeling. If I push it, I can tell from the pressure change on surrounding parts, but about a 2″ square is still numb. This was explained as a possible side effect of the surgery and that the feeling might come back. But not so far.

It’s almost been a year and it’s still numb, but it’s not really a big deal. I hardly ever notice it unless I’m taking off my bag. For whatever reason, pulling the last bit of tape/adhesive off of that spot actually hurts. It’s weird. Any pressure just feels numb, sort of like when you have dental work done. But when the skin is pulled by the tape it hurts. Don’t know why that is, but it’s a small price to pay for the dramatic improvements since the surgery.

Food obstructions and blockages

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

When I first got my ostomy back in February, one of the main things I was told to be careful of was food blockages. I was told to make sure I chewed everything very well and I needed to be careful of fibrous foods like mushrooms and lettuce.

My wife and I were a little bummed because we are really big fans of mushrooms. So I behaved myself for a while and didn’t eat large quantities of fibrous foods. I tested the waters cautiously, but never really had a problem. So for almost a year, I happily chowed down on whatever I felt like eating. I did usually chew pretty well, so I guess I did well enough let everything digest well.

But then last week, I finally had my first experience with a blockage. It wasn’t an extreme case like I have read that many people have with excruciating pain, but it was annoying. I felt sort of sick to my stomach for most of the afternoon and evening. I didn’t want to eat anything. I tried laying down, but it didn’t do much good. I read that I should drink a lot, so I drank as much as I could.

And I read everything I could find on the internet about the symptoms of a blockage since I wasn’t sure that’s what was going on. I found the full range of suggestions from drink to go to the hospital. It didn’t do me much good and just made me worry.

I think I finally did drink enough and things were able to finally digest enough (I had gobbled some mushroom-laden stuffing earlier) to pass through. Once the blockage passed, I immediately felt better and was good to go again.

So, while my experience didn’t compare to others I have read about, it did remind me to chew better because it was quite unpleasant.

Numb Stomach

Monday, June 30th, 2008

I was warned before my surgery that I might have a numb spot on my stomach afterward. I wasn’t too worried about it, especially with how I was feeling, and since I figured the feeling would come back eventually.

It’s now been approximately four months since my surgery. Everything else is pretty well healed up and I am able to do what I want. But there’s still a numb spot below my stoma on the “inside” part of my stomach, meaning between my belly button and the stoma. I guess if you were to take the six pack of stomach muscles (yea, wishing there since I haven’t even started exercising again yet!), I guess you would say the “inside” half of the bottom right one is numb (about a one-two inch square area). It feels sort of like your mouth feels after having your gums numbed for some dental work. It doesn’t hurt, and I can definitely still sense things there, but no real “feeling”. The sensations I can get are probably from surrounding nerves and the changes in other things, like the position of my ostomy bag or shirt, when I’m touched there.

Oh well. I can’t say that I ever really noticed feelings there before, so it’s not really much of a loss. But it is one of the small differences in living with an ileoostomy. And I can’t imagine it would even get better if I decided to get “put back together” since the nerves are already severed.

Corn on the cob

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

I know some people have troubles with some foods with their ostomies, but I haven’t run into this yet (knock on wood). And that means that corn is back in. I have been able to eat corn on the cob twice so far this summer and creamed corn once–and summer has just started. My wife is huge corn fan, but in the past, she has had to make it just for herself. But now I’m feeling better and my daughter has gotten some teeth, so we are regularly having it.

And while my wife was away for a few days visiting her sister and our new nephew, I went to the movies twice and had popcorn! Not that I really needed or wanted it, but my step-dad always buys a large popcorn for a movie so he can refill it as many times as he wants, so I dove in and had some. It was good.

It’s pretty cool to go from not eating anything very “fibrousy” for nearly a decade to being able to eat whatever I want again.

Water, water, everywhere

Friday, June 20th, 2008

After my surgery, I was warned that I needed to make sure I remained hydrated. I then looked up the quantity I was supposed to be drinking and it was the same as the normal recommended amount for a regular person. I thought this was funny.

But I didn’t really have to worry about it. I was already drinking plenty of water (more than that required amount) so I haven’t had much of a problem with dehydration. I’m guessing that I had been so dehydrated while I was sick that once I started to absorb things again, I just automatically started drinking more.

Now I’m back to drinking a normal amount of water. I’m not guzzling; I’m just drinking. When I start to feel a little “dehydrated”, not necessarily thirsty, I just drink some more water and it hasn’t been a problem at all.

Ostomy Scissors

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

I got one pair of scissors with my “intro package” from Hollister. But I have a “to go” supply kit and an “at home” kit, and only one pair of scissors. I checked with the supply company and they said another pair was $41 and that it wasn’t covered by my insurance. I wasn’t really interested in spending that much for a pair of scissors so I said no. I figured I would just buy a pair of fingernail scissors or something to use in a pinch.

I happened to mention it to my dad, who’s a vet. He said that they weren’t that much money to buy and that he could get me another pair. I took him up on the offer and he sent me a really nice pair of blunt-nosed surgical scissors. They were about $35, but they are very nice.

I just wanted to suggest to anyone looking for a pair of scissors that if their insurance doesn’t cover them, you might be able to find a vet or a doctor, and they could probably get you a pair of decent scisorrs for a reasonable price.

Another tip my dad gave me was to use my thumb and another finger besides my index finger and then use the index finger to guide the scissors where you want to cut.

New problem: weight gain

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

I’ve never been a heavy guy. In fact, it’s been almost impossible for me to gain much weight. Ever since I was little, I’ve been skinny. I’ve never been much over 135, despite being almost six feet tall. And over the last few years, even during the “good” times, I haven’t been able to get over 115. I would just get to that and plateau out, no matter how much I ate.

But now I’m pushing 150. It’s a new problem. I’m going to have to buy new clothes and start exercising soon. I might even have to start watching how much I eat, since I now seem to be able to eat as much as I want. What a difference!

My doctor said that rapid weight gain was one of the things that you had to watch out for after getting an ileostomy as it could cause problems, but I thought it would never be something I would have to worry about. I guess he was right. I’m not worried about it being a problem since it’s not wildly out of control, but it’s sort of a fun new problem to have since it was always more of a problem the other way.

Beans, Beans, the magical fruit…no longer

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

The nice thing about not having a colon is that eating beans isn’t a problem. I just thought of this the other day when we were having beans. They don’t have time to sit there and ferment. No farting. I’ve never had much of a problem with beans before, especially the last few years of having UC due to the transit time being so fast, but I just thought it was a funny thought.

Golfing once again

Monday, June 16th, 2008

It’s not been quite a decade since I’ve played golf, but it has been quite a while. It just wasn’t very workable with colitis for most of the time. Sometimes during a remission I could play, but even that wasn’t really possible in the last several years. That much walking without a bathroom anywhere around just wasn’t a good idea. Anyway, yesterday I broke the streak and went golfing. I actually had a lot of fun and the bathroom was the last thing on my mind, except of course when the port-a-potty was right behind the green and we were all joking about hitting it with someone inside. In fact I didn’t have any problems. And only once did I even notice my ostomy bag or my stoma. I just felt a little bit of a stretch (about the same as trying to crack my back when I’m a little stiff). Nothing to worry about. I was tickled pink. I used to love playing golf, and now I can do it again. Prices have gone up a bit (ok, a lot) since I last played, but my wife Chris is starting to get interested in trying it out, so I don’t think that will be a problem.

Sitting down to pee

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

This isn’t really an issue for women, but for a guy it might be something to listen to.

For the last several years of having UC, I was going to the bathroom often, so I would just sit down and any pee that I had stored up would come out. It wasn’t much as I was having a hard time absorbing water, but I got used to just sitting down to pee. Now that I have an ileostomy, I still sit down to pee almost always. It’s just easier that way. I can both pee and empty my bag, even if it’s not “full”. I guess it’s more “manly” to stand up, but at least I don’t get yelled at for leaving the seat up!