ostomy

Ostomy Awareness Day 2019 - #MyOstomyMyLifesaver

Osotmies are Life-Savers UOAA Ostomy Awareness Day 2019

I have Crohn's disease. More specifically, severe Crohn's disease.

Crohn's disease is one of a class of autoimmune diseases. The common theme for these diseases (including RA, Lupus, Colitis, MS, Psoriasis, etc.) is your body's immune system decides it's more fun attacking your own body than it is to attack outside infections.

Currently, there are no cures for Crohns or Colitis (a very closely related Inflammatory Bowel Disease). There is no diet, no lifestyle change, and no pill that can make those suffering from a Crohn's disease flare-up heal permanently.

There are a lot of drugs that can help. I should know, I've been on literally every one of them.

But for many people with IBD, the drugs stop helping (or never help in the first place), and your immune system goes thermonuclear on your guts. This happened to me last year.

Recovering from surgery and living with my friend, the Stoma

It's been just over two weeks since the big one; I had my colon removed and was given in its place an ileostomy, which dramatically changes the way I go number two.

As with most stages of my Crohn's journey, I thought I'd write up this blog post with my experiences—and maybe a liiiiittle sarcasm thrown in—for the benefit of anyone else going through a similar situation.

Bowel Prep

My doctor requested a full cleanout for this surgery, I guess so he wouldn't have to deal with stinky poo while yanking out my guts, and I obliged. Unfortunately, for most Crohnies or IBD patients who have to get a colectomy, they're already not in a great place prior to surgery, and neither was I. I was already underweight and not nearly 100% energy-wise, so having to empty out (same prep as for a colonoscopy) meant I did as much as I could to stay hydrated and not faint.

Colons, semicolons, and Crohns surgery, oh my!

"Rectum? Darn near killed 'em!"

— My Grandma, every time she has the opportunity...

In a short time, I'll be getting a "total colectomy and proctectomy" (or, for short, "proctocolectomy"!). This is a procedure where a doctor takes a robot with pointy sticks and knives, sets it loose in my belly, and then the robot proceeds to become sentient and take over my body cut out all of my digestive system, from the end of the small bowel, to... the end end.

Colectomy diagram - red scribbles over large intestine colon and rectum

Red = parts to be removed (source: Wikipedia).

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