secrets of surgery #2 revealed.

It’s almost been a week since my second surgery out of three. I can say that I am doing pretty well! I was able to leave the hospital after only 3 days, which gives me a lot of hope that my take down will be sooner than expected. I, of course, already have a date picked out in my own head of Jan. 27th. Because that will be exactly 6 weeks after this surgery and rumor has it that my surgeon likes to be quick on the back end of his surgery series! If you don’t already know me well enough, I am the boss of all of this. Not him. (LOL).

I had a lot of trouble finding blog posts where people share what the second surgery is like for them. A lot of people are lucky enough to only have to have 2 steps, or maybe they just fall off the bandwagon, or they feel like this surgery isn’t as important as the first or the last.

To me, each of these surgeries are important. And I have taken it upon myself to explain in grave detail what this second surgery has been like for me, for anyone who cares enough.

I remember waking up in a lot of pain and asking for pain medication, which I always do because pain killers kinnnddd of saved my life. Not to sound like an addict or anything but those lovely round tablets were the only way I could sit up in the last few months with my colon, one of the only ways  I could eat (along with marijuana, seriously, it helps, but that’s another topic for another day), and how I survived the excruciating pain  I was experiencing with my bathroom trips that seemed to occur all day and all night.

They also wouldn’t let me see my parents, so  I felt like it was forever that I was in that recovery room. I don’t remember much until I woke up the next day to a doctor that wasn’t my surgeon standing over me. He had that tough kind of bedside manner that I particularly do not enjoy. He woke me up from what must have been a deep, pain pump sleep because I told him that he scared me and laughed it off. He looked at me with a stern look and said, “Well, it couldn’t have been that scary, you were just sleeping a second ago.”

Um, ok dude. He continued to ask me questions and act like I had slept the day away, when in fact I looked at my phone later and it was only 7:30 a.m.  I told him that my pain was pretty intense and I remember him saying something along the lines of, “Well, learn to deal, because Dr. Strong doesn’t like to prescribe narcotics.”

Ok, I’m currently hooked up to a pain pump that comes out every 6 minutes and I’m pretty sure last surgery I received quite a few Percocet, plus a refill, so I knew that was just a snarky comment as well.

He continued to tell me that if I did not get up and start walking I would have pneumonia by the end of the day. He then left me in a confused daze of fear and anger.

I immediately started crying, which hurt like hell. Colorectal surgery is extremely sensitive, the patients, I feel, need a lot more attention and compassion. Especially young adults who are not apt to having an ostomy or having reconstructive colorectal surgery. Don’t come up in my hospital room with an attitude like you just woke up on the wrong side of your uncomfortable bed.

My roommate, who I hadn’t heard from for a whole day, popped her head around the curtain to justify my feelings about that grinch of a doctor.

Saying, “Girl, you were right, he was just very mean to you.”

See, I wasn’t overly drugged.

My first nurse came into me bawling like a crazy person, I was probably being a tad overdramatic, until she calmed me down and soothed my emotions with a little help from my IV. She told me not to worry and that him and his attitude would be taken care of. She, I’ll call her M, then proceeded to be the kindest nurse I have had at the Cleveland Clinic, next to the other one I had during my first surgery, I’ll call her A.

I know I blogged about being straight cathed, which was kind of hilarious looking back on it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so laid back with my legs spread open with two nurses and a flashlight looking down there. M and the other nurse were so great, and we all had a good laugh while trying to figure out how to get me to pee.  (I also had a little help from a friend, who told me to A. pull up YouTube videos of waterfalls/streams, B. run the sink C. play Go Go Chasin’ Waterfalls by TLC or C. think about oceans. I did all of those things plus tried to put my own hand in a cup of hot water, none of them worked.)

Besides Dr. Evil and being molested by a few nurses and flashlight, the rest of my hospital stay was pretty uneventful and simple. Having my drain pulled was something I was a little nervous about too, but that was relatively simple. The ostomy nurse also came back for another visit to teach me about my new ostomy, which looks COMPLETLEY different. It’s crazy. With the take down surgery all they will do is sew my new “stoma” together, push it back down in my stomach and close me up! All that stoma is doing right now is diverting digestion away from my new j-pouch, which is now installed and healing.

I thought I would be in the hospital for quite some time, but I wasn’t. After being in there for only 2 days, I was curled up Sunday night watching a movie on my computer, when my surgeon rolled in like Batman and told me I’m doing amazing and that I can probably leave tomorrow.

I’ve been home since Monday afternoon hanging out, caring for my new ostomy (which has proven to be kind of tricky because the new stoma is so flat and it’s very productive) and managing my pain. The pain this time is different. It’s more of a soreness rather than a sharp surgery like pain. It’s hard to stand up straight, standing for a long time is hard and walking around is difficult. But that will all get easier with time.

I have realized how blessed I am to be on the upside of things, the most difficult part over. My j-pouch is in, and my surgeon only took 2 1/2 hours to build it, usually takes about 5, he’s the best (all done lapriscopically, which may make it a little easier for me to recover, along with some serious determination.) I only have one surgery to go and I will be all done with colitis, hopefully hospitals, shots, mean doctors, pain, all of it.

jpouchdrawings

Anatomy of my new insides.

My advice for going in for the second surgery if you’re having 3 step? Don’t be nervous. It’s really not that bad. The pain is very manageable and you can look forward to a new future with a j-pouch. I also like my ostomy a lot more, it’s easier to look at. If you’re using close ended pouches, I also would suggest giving those a break and trying some lock and rolls. This new ostomy requires a lot of maintenance that already comes with the usage of close ended pouches. Save yourself an extra step. Don’t ask to have your catheter out too early unless you bring some TLC karaoke to the hospital with you.

Oh, and watch out for those mean old doctors. I can tell you there will be one less in this horrid world of IBD thanks to the HR person who just called to check up on me today. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “secrets of surgery #2 revealed.

  1. As a twenty year old with ulcerative colitis who is going through a similar situation, it is really good to hear about your experiences. I was lucky enough to have a Doctor perform a two step surgery. I had my first one on July 2nd this year and had the second one only two months later. It is so funny too hear everything you went through because I went through a lot of the same things. After my first surgery, I was in a lot of pain. I too had nurses yelling at me to get out of bed and to walk around, and I just wanted to say to them “try getting your colon removed and start walking just 24 hours later”. After spending 8 days in the hospital, I finally went home and started my recovery process. The two months between surgeries were tough and frustrating at first, but I felt a lot better than I did before the surgery colitis wise. The second surgery kind of took me by surprise. I thought it would be a lot easier than the first one, but I was wrong. It took a while to get back on my feet. I’m still not fully recovered or where I want to be, but I’m starting to get my life back. I’m finally able to hang out with my friends and do all the things I couldn’t when I was sick. I haven’t felt this good in years and I am so happy that things are starting to look up. I think it’s really great that you see all the bright things in all of this and are so optimistic. Reading this really helped me relate to someone who is going though something that I have because unless you actually have experienced something you can’t really understand. I hope everything goes well for you and you can start feeling better.

    • Hi James!
      Thank you for sharing your amazing, inspirational story of bravery with me! I actually had my first surgery on July 1st of this year, the day before you! It is really nice to relate to people that have similar situations, it makes you feel better and more comfortable about what is happening to you. There is less asking, “why me,” and I have found through creating my magazine, Companion Magazine for IBD, that you gain perspective through reading what others have gone through. I know how annoying nurses and doctors can be sometimes, it makes the nice and understanding ones stand out immensely. I had a period of time when I was on TPN every night and had the most annoying home health care nurses that would come to my house every week and talk to me like I was 5.
      It’s good to know that you are starting to feel better after what seems to be kind of a struggle. I know jpouches are hard to get used to, from what I have heard there is an adjustment period that you have to get used to. I’m really happy for you and your newfound discovery of what it is like to be healthy again. Isn’t it great?
      Stay in touch and I hope you continue to get better each day! If you haven’t yet, check out our magazine. There are a lot of inspiring stories in there that have helped me, so I’m sure you could find someone to relate to in there as well! Companionibd.wordpress.com.

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