Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Colostomy - My Journey

Colostomy. In April 2008, I went into hospital for a Gynaecological operation. It was to help reduce constant pain I was suffering. I had had a Laparoscopy the September before and a number of things were found that needed surgery to rectify. My Fallopean Tubes were blocked and one had adhered to my Sigmoid Colon (Bowel). I also had a number of cysts which needed to be removed. All in all a very positive operation I hoped. To cut a very long story short, after a short stay in hospital I was discharged, even though I was in immense pain and my stomach had swollen so large I looked 6 months pregnant and I had 'sloshing' noises coming from my tummy every time I moved. I lasted at home for some 4 days without eating or drinking or sleeping as the pain was so severe. I had to call for an ambulance who arrived and worked on me for some 20 minutes outside my home and in front of my mother and partner. I had very low blood pressure and the ambulance crew called through to the hospital for a crash team to be waiting for me. My mother was told that had we been much longer in calling for the ambulance then I may have died! I was examined and then sent into theatre for emergency surgery. I woke in the High Dependancy Unit. I had suffered a perforated Bowel and had peritinitus and septicemia. I also had a Stoma (Colostomy). I was very poorly and lucky to be alive. There is much more detail to my terrible experience, I even caught MRSA whilst recovering in hospital and I will write more detail as and when I can.

I am writing this Blog in the hope that other people who have suffered such trauma can contact me, tell me their stories and hopefully we can help each other along the way with advise and tips or just some soothing positive words when needed.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Localised Swelling Following Laparoscopy Procedure Sept '07

I underwent a Laparoscopy in September 2007. The findings of this procedure resulted in me undergoing a further operation in April 2008. The reason for showing you these 'Pre-Op' pictures is to highlight the difference in swelling. As you can see, my swelling was more localised to my lower abdomen.

Laparoscopy Swelling Sept 2007

Swelling following my Laparoscopy Sept' 07. Although a little uncomfortable, as is to be expected, this operation and recovery was quick and virtually pain free. I was only in hospital as a day patient so went home the day of my procedure. I went back to work a couple of weeks after this and felt fine throughout. I was sort of looking forward to the next Operation, scheduled for April 2008 as this was going to hopefully put right all the wrongs found at the Laparoscopy and enable me to have a better quality of life and hopefully even be able to start a family.

Severe Swelling following Gynae' Operation April 2008

Colostomy. This is my swelling on the day I was sent home following my Gynae Operation in April 2008. I am only usually a British Size 8 so not a big girl. As you can see the swelling is not localised lower abdomen but is coming from the upper torso area and down.


Unbearable Pain

Unbearable Pain. This picture never ceases to upset me. I can feel the pain again just by looking at this photo. I was at home following my Gynae Operation. I was in terrific pain. My tummy was so distended I looked 6 months pregnant. My Mum and partner were with me at all times, offering their support. No amount of tablets eased my pain. Every time I moved, even a little bit, I heard 'Sloshing' noises coming from my tummy. I could feel the 'fluid' moving inside me like a tidal wave. My only relief came when I laid in the bath and my mum would pour warm water over me. It was the worst experience of my life and one that I hope never to be repeated. We did explain this all to my GP who explained that I was suffering from Post Operative Air! He prescribed me with Senakot (Laxative) and a Lactose Syrup. I was to ring back in a couple of days if I was no better. Early on the Saturday morning, I knew I had to get help and fast. We called the surgery. This was not open, so we were directed through to 'key-doc' out of hours surgery. They informed us that someone would call back within 45 minutes. I knew I didn't have 45 minutes so therefore we called 999. The ambulance crew were with me very quickly. They had to work on me for some 20 minutes in the ambulance and in view of my poor mum. A crash team were put on standby at the hospital, and once I was stable we headed there. I was examined immediately and x-rayed. Tubes were then put up my nose and down into my tummy. What came up the tubes was brown. I was immediately taken into surgery.


Colostomy. This is my Tongue on day I was sent home from hospital following my Gynae Operation. It was brown and furry, cracked and dry. I was told this was due to the tablets I was taking. I now know otherwise. This 'reaction' lasted a long time. I was given antibiotics but they didnt help. My tongue remained like this for many months but in the end a very strong mouth wash 4 times a day cured me.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Aftermath - Hartmann's Procedure - Colostomy

Colostomy. What a suprise this was upon wakening. You can see my new friend whom I call 'Beanie'. My wounds are nicely dressed but the swelling as you can see is pretty horrendous. I had been transferred from HDU onto a ward by this time. Due to having Peritonitus and Septicemia my wound was leaking alot and I had to have my dressings changed at regular intervals through the day and night. Eventually my wound had to be opened up to allow the infection to drain away quicker.

Hartmann's Procedure
This operation is often carried out as an emergency if there has been a perforation of the bowel, especially if you have diverticular disease, colorectal cancer or had a trauma to the bowel. The lower part of the colon is removed from the rectum, the bowel is divided and the top end is brought out on to the abdomen as a colostomy. The top of the rectum/back passage is oversewn and left inside. Although the stoma may be closed at a later date this is not without some risk and you are advised to discuss this with your surgeon. This may be due to infection or scarring from previous surgery and your general physical state of health. You may still experience the feeling that you need to open your bowels. You may still pass some stool or mucus from your back passage following this operation.

Wound Opened

Colostomy. My wound had to be opened so to allow the infection to flow from my body easier. This was not a pleasant experience at all though. The procedure of opening the wound was not painful but the psycological pain hurt alot. I new that due to this I was to have a larger scar than normal but it had to be done for my own good I suppose. The scar tissue can be sorted out at my reversal operation. A bit of reconstructive surgery if you like.

Wound Opened - Bile

Colostomy. This is another picture of my Wound when opened. You can also see 'Beanie' covered with a Clear Hospital Colostomy bag. These bags are awful but necessary. They are clear so that the nurses and doctors can keep an eye on what is being produced. You can see here that the contents are Green. This is because at this stage all I was producing was Bile and Infection. I was 'Nil by Mouth' so no food was being digested. I had a terrible time with the Bile. I was projectiling the stuff every 15 minutes. I had to request a stomach drain at one stage. This is where they put tubes down your nose and the infection/bile then comes up through that and into a bag. The nurses can then measure the amount you are producing. I pulled these out one night in my sleep and decided not to have that procedure done again as its not at all nice.

MRSA Infection

Well as if I hadn't got enough to be getting on with, I get the dreaded news that I was infected with MRSA. Swabs had been done around my wound and the results were confirmed. This was it I thought, this is what will finally kill me off! I was totally devastated as my partners uncle had died of MRSA in the same hospital. That's all i knew, it was a killer. No-one really explained the facts to me. I was isolated, given my own room which was fantastic as I finally was able to get a good nights sleep. Also I had some privacy which was nice. I was put on a 5 day cause of medication which included a nasal cream, mouth wash and Aquasept bacterial liquid which I had to shower and wash with. They checked me a few days later and it was found not to be working and so a different lot of drugs was prescribed and taken. Same process just different names. I still had MRSA when I finally went home. I had to continue with the treatment at home and the district nurse then swabbed me again to check on the infection state. Results came back that I had 'scanty' growth. This basically means 'blink and you'll miss it' under the microscope. Not threatening or harmful. I may still be a carrier which is why today at my pre-op assessment, I was swabbed, Nose, Throat and Groin. If I am a carrier then another course of treatment will be necessary and I will not be able to go into hospital for my reversal until I am 'all clear'.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Oedema Swelling

Oedema. This is swelling and I had it in my legs and private areas. Horrendous. My legs looked like they belonged to an elephant! I had to have a scan eventuually as the doctors feared I had a blood clot in one of my legs. Happy to say I didnt. This swelling took forever to go away. I had to sleep with my legs elevated at all times which was uncomfortable.


Colostomy. Oedema.
Oedema is a condition that causes too much fluid (mainly water) to accumulate in your body. Any tissue or organ can be affected, particularly the hands, legs, feet and around the eyes and sufferers experience debilitating swelling. When lying in bed for a length of time it is the lower body ie: The Legs, that seems to be affected more. Its your kidneys' job to eliminate excess fluids from your body in your urine. If they fail to do this properly then fluid can soon build up in your tissues and result in swelling.

Weight Loss

w Colostomy. Normally a British Size 8 and weighing 8 Stone 2 Pounds, my weight plummeted to 5.5 Stone. I was skeletal. I remember my teeth looked like Tombstones. Although the bottom half of my body was riddled with Oedema, so swollen, the top half of me looked like I had been starved of all nutrients. I had bones protruding, my muscles had wasted away and I was very frail. I dont remember eating very much at all in hospital. I was 'Nil by Mouth' quite alot I seem to remember. This is not a way of dieting I would reccommend!! I looked like a little old lady, walked hunched over and yet still had the motivation in me to get well again.

Weight Loss

Colostomy. Oedema. Weight Loss.

A sense of humour

Colostomy. Escape Plan. With this disguise, I was hoping to abseil from my hospital room window and sneak out and off home undetected. Escape failed miserably as I hadn't taken into account the fact that I had a catheter and IV drip attached. Maybe tomorrow!


Colostomy. What was very very hard was that my Mum and Sister and Family live over 160 miles away from me. It was so difficult for them to come and visit regularly. Here I am though on one very special day with my Mum.

Recovering at Home

Home. Finally I was sent home but as you can see I am extremely thin and still very poorly really. I was sent home with Iron Tablets as my blood count was very low. In fact, I nearly had to have a blood transfusion but they put me on a course of very strong Iron tablets and I was to have a blood test a week or so later to check the count had risen to a more healthy level. I also had pain medication, anti-sickness tablets and high protein drinks to help build me up.

District Nurse Daily Visits

Obviously the care doesnt stop once your home. I had daily visits from the district nurses. These nurses were a credit to their profession. They came to check on my recovery, change my dressings, do blood tests and time permitting, have a good chin wag. My wound was still leaking alot and I still had MRSA so this all had to be kept a close eye on. My weight loss was also cause for concern as I had pressure sores on my lower back. The nurses arranged for me to have a special single mattress which would help these sores and make me more comfortable. I didnt find it really comfortable as it was quite hard, plus I slept what seemed 6 feet above my partner which was quite strange. I do remember when I first got it that I woke up, forgot how high up I was from the floor and tumbled to the carpet with a thud! That woke me up quite quickly !


Sod the diet is what I say! I know they advise you on what to eat and what not to eat but I did not want any more change to my life than I already had to experience with having 'Beanie'. I have never been a big girl and sorry to all of you that struggle with weight issues, but I could always eat what I wanted and never really put on too much weight. Its a blessing handed down the family line. I was told once that I was either very happy with a high metabolic rate or I had a Tape Worm!! So, I do still eat what and when and how ever much I want. There are side effects to certain foods and drinks but I am happy to deal with them as and when and if they happen. The worst food but ones I love are Chinese and Indian, oh and cheese and onion pie and beans!!. Then again, even those of you with no colostomy/stoma can have after effects from that kind of food. If I treat myself to the odd half of lager every now and again, I end up with a balloon on my hip! All these things are a small price to pay for eating and drinking the stuff you like. I simply did not want my Stoma to rule my life....simple

Stoma Nurse

The Stoma Nurse visits you as soon as you get home. This initial visit is to go through how to deal with your new found friend the stoma. Also the nurse helps you to decide on what colostomy bag is right for you and answers any queries or concerns you may have. I found it to be quite a surreal experience going through all the sample bags. It really was a reality check for me. My goodness....this is real. It seemed as if it would be such a bind and interrupt my life in such a negative way but that wasn't the case. I soon adapted. After trying out endless samples I opted for a bag that suited my needs and that was comfortable. I went for the Drainable bag with a part see through pouch. I am generally a nosy girl at the best of times and felt that I wanted/needed to see what was coming away from me. I think this helps to give peace of mind to. After all, I was producing horrible green stuff in hospital which I knew to be abnormal so I just needed to know it was all working as it should be. The bag is covered by a skin coloured material so you dont see anything unless you look under the flap! The drainable bags also help prevent the stoma site and surrounding skin from becoming sore as you do not need to change the bag daily as with closed pouches.

My Stoma Nurse, Helen, was a true Gem. We got on very well indeed. She helped me to come to terms with my new way of life. Her visits were weekly at first until she was confident that I was ok with everything. Then I was left to deal with it on my own but Helen was always at the end of the phone should I have needed her. I then just had a couple of visits to her at the health centre where she checked on my progress and caught up on the gossip !!


When you experience trauma like I did, Flashbacks are apparently pretty common practice. I continue to have them to this day, although not as frequently. I have been put on Anti-Depressants (Citalopram 10mg). I have been on these a couple of months now and they along with the counselling I have every two weeks, seem to be helping. I have quite morbid thoughts like, what if I had died which is preceded with a vision of my gravestone! Not very nice at all. I also have flashbacks of my time in hospital, some incidents of which were very traumatic. I am sure that these memories will stay with me for my life-time but I am hoping that in time I will be able to control and deal with them alot better than I do now. I really was against Anti-Depressants and Counselling. I felt that I would be giving in if you like, but it did become apparent due to my constant emotional state that this was the obvious way forward. I am hoping that it will not be long term. I just needed a little help with dealing with everything. I do feel slightly more at peace with things although its certainly not a miracle cure. I hope to be on the tablets for just 6 months but I will leave that up to the professionals to let me know when I am ready to break free of them. (I hate bloody tablets!!!)

Hair Loss

Hair Loss. What an unexpected shock this was. I had been in recovery for a couple of months by this stage. I was beginning to feel ok and thought my progress was fantastic. I even managed to travel down on the train to see my family. Whilst at my mums I noticed that I was losing more hair than usual when brushing it. I normally have long, thick hair so was used to the odd strands coming away but this was more than the norm. My sister Emily took a look, checked out my scalp and confirmed that I was losing hair. I was devastated at this early stage of the loss. I returned home, and whilst taking a shower it became apparent that my hair loss was extreme. My body was covered in my hair, the plug hole became blocked with it and the water overflowed the shower tray onto the bathroom floor. Sheer panic set in. I called my partner Chris back from work. He calmed me and cleared the bathroom of handfuls of my locks. The hair loss continued daily. I became afraid to wash it and had panic attacks everytime I did manage to. Off to the doctors I went. My doctor said that this was all to do with the trauma I had experienced. My body was working hard to get me better and my hair unfortunately was not top priority for it hense the loss. I was prescribed Betnovate, which is a steroid you rub into the scalp but this had no effect to be honest. I would say I lost virtually three quarters of my hair. It didnt come out in patches but simply all over, so I now have 'tufts' of new hair growing and what remains of my original hair is extremely thin. BUT it IS growing back which is brilliant news. Nothing prepared me for this though. It is one thing having a low self image due to scarring and having a colostomy but people dont see that unless you show them. Call it Vanity but my hair loss did depress me as it was obvious for the world to see. I felt that I had been through enough and that this was a very cruel side effect to this trauma.

Cold Turkey

Due to the amount of pain I experienced, I was prescribed OxyNorm 5mg / 10mg to help with my pain management. WARNING: This is a derivative of Morphine and is addictive. I was not aware of the addictive properties to be perfectly honest. All I knew is that it enabled me to be pretty much pain free, so I took it daily in hospital and continued to take it once I was home. Once my pain eased, I decided to STOP the OxyNorm. After 2 days I was bouncing off the walls, having cold and hot sweats every few minutes, feeling irritable, agitated and very emotional. My partner called the surgery and spoke with a Doctor. He basically said that due to the time I was on the drug and the dosage, I should go on a program of withdrawal , which meant reducing the dose gradually. This could take several weeks. I didn't want to do this, I wanted to be rid of the hold it had on me. No pain Killers I thought. The Doctor said that I could do it my way but the side effects would get worse before getting better. It depended on how determined I was. I am VERY determined. I had done 2 days and didn't want to waste them so continued down the path of 'Cold Turkey'. It was horrendous. There were times when I thought I should just take one tablet, but I didn't. I persevered and finally after 13 days, I felt that my system was clear. Suddenly, my appetite returned, everything felt brighter, smelled fresher and I felt I had a new lease of life. I had more energy and I felt very positive. This was a turning point in my recovery. I was also on sleeping tablets Zopiclone 7.5mg. These helped me get some sleep as I was suffering with night terrors and flashbacks. These had to go to, so whilst on withdrawal from the OxyNorm I decided in my infinite wisdom to stop the Zopiclone to! I don't do things by halves. This was also a pretty terrible experience as I was unable to sleep for days. I did go to the chemist and get a herbal sleep remedy but this had no effect what-so-ever. Ah well, I battled on and soon enough, my sleep pattern returned. Hoorah.........
Now I am pretty ANTI tablets, even paracetamol worry me. Its a psychological thing I think, so I purchased a TENS Machine. This has been fantastic. It basically gives you little electrical shocks/pulses which confuse the brain. Your brain is able to recognise one pain so it diverts your brain to the pulses and then you find, or I have, that you don't feel any other kind of pain be it bowel or for me now, horrendous Period Pain. My periods stopped for 4 months following my bowel surgery but came back with a vengeance. I have found the Tens machine a godsend. It may not work for everyone but given the choice between addictive drugs in my system or harmless electrical pulses, then bring on the Tens Machine any day!
How do TENS machines work?

Transcutaneous means 'through the skin'. TENS machines deliver small electrical pulses to the body via electrodes placed on the skin. TENS machines are thought to affect the way pain signals are sent to the brain. Pain signals reach the brain via nerves and the spinal cord. If pain signals can be blocked then the brain will receive fewer signals from the source of the pain. We may then feel less pain.

TENS machines are thought to work in two ways.

When the machine is set on a high pulse rate (90-130 Hz) it triggers the 'pain gate' to close. This is thought to block a pain nerve pathway to the brain. This is the normal method of use.
When the machine is set on a low pulse rate (2-5 Hz) it stimulates the body to make its own pain easing chemicals called endorphins. These act a bit like morphine to block pain signals.
Can TENS machines be used by everybody?

TENS machines tend to be mainly used to help reduce pain from problems in muscles, joints and nerves rather than abdominal, chest or head pains. Unlike a lot of medication there are virtually no side-effects when using a TENS machine. However, people with the following must not use a TENS machine:
When the cause of the pain is not known or not diagnosed.
Pregnancy (unless specifically medically advised).
Epilepsy or certain types of heart disease.


Well, following my constant flashbacks and night and day terrors, my doctor decided that I should have councilling to help me through. I was also put on to anti-depressents. Councilling was not something I really wanted or so I thought. I felt that I should have been able to cope as I had fought so well and wanted to continue but it became apparent that I did need some help. I go every two weeks to sit with a councillor for one hour each session. Due to being pretty anti councilling in the beginning, I didnt feel it was helping me but as the sessions progressed I found it at times a great help. It has allowed me to open up, to poor out my grief and worries and to face reality as it is now. I am still to this day receiving this help and will do so until it becomes apparent that I no longer need it. Again, its not a miracle cure. To be honest after the first few sessions, I felt worse but it does get easier. I am by no means over this. Every day brings suprises both good and bad, so I will persevere and see where it takes me.

Beanie - Colostomy - Stoma

Introducing...Beanie. This is my Stoma and of course you can see the mess that is my scar, all now healed but ghastly and bigger/wider than it should have been really. It would have been so much neater if they did not have to open the wound to rid me of the infection. I have been assured that at my reversal operation, the surgeon is going to cut away the scar tissue and leave me with a more 'desirable' looking scar.


My scar is pretty awful, I know. Thankfully, it will be rectified though during my reversal operation. It did take quite a while to heal as it was always leaking with infection. At one stage, I had a colostomy bag attached to the lower part of the wound, as this saved the nurses changing the dressings constantly. It is quite a deep scar too which makes it even more unsightly. I have what seems like a canyon running down the centre of my tummy! The scar really should have just been a nice little line, as you may see around my belly button. This part of the scar was left alone and has healed very scars go!

Reversal Operation

Reversal of Hartmann's Procedure.
I went to the hospital on Tuesday 21st October 2008 for my Pre-Op Assessment. At this, they weigh you, check your blood pressure, pulse, heart rate, test your urine, take blood and with me did 3 MRSA swabs, one from my Nose, Throat and Groin. They need to check that I am MRSA free. If not I am to go on yet another 5 day course of treatment and be re-swabbed. No date was given to me for the operation. I have been assured that it will be very soon, within the next few weeks! Yikes. I am not just having the Colostomy Reversal but am having a Ileostomy to. This is to make sure that my reversal heals correctly with no leaks. After a short period of time, they put dye up inside your bottom and x-ray you to check that there are no leaks. Once this is 'all clear' then the Ileostomy can be reversed and I will be FREE. The Ileostomy is only temporary but I think very necessary. I certainly don't want to run the risk of getting peritonitis again, that's for sure. The only thing is , it means yet another operation and yet another scar! Better to be safe than sorry though.

An ileostomy is an opening made into the small bowel, the ileum. The resulting opening is called a stoma from the Greek word meaning "mouth". Initially after surgery, the stoma tends to be quite swollen due to the handling of the bowel. The size may decrease, however, this will occur over a period of time often taking up to six weeks. The bowel is not unlike the inside of our mouths. The stoma is red, soft, and moist. The stool from an ileostomy stoma contains many harsh enzymes. If stool should come in contact with skin, irritation can occur. To avoid this problem, the surgeon will construct the stoma so that it protrudes approximately 2.5 mm from the skin and well into the opening of the appliance.

The stoma can be either a loop or an end portion of the ileum. Through the opening, the bowel is turned back on itself almost like a cuff and stitched to the skin. The loop ileostomy will have two openings - the top opening called the proximal opening where stool is passed and the distal opening or bottom opening that is connected to the resting portion of bowel. An ileostomy may be temporary or it may be permanent. Ileostomies are usually located in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen.

The stool from an ileostomy is initially quite loose. It may take 24-48 hours before the ileostomy will start to function. Prior to that, there may be bloody drainage present in the appliance. Once the ileostomy starts to function, the contents may be loose, thin, watery and greenish looking. This is know as bile. Ileostomy stool will always be loose because the colon, large bowel, has either been removed or bypassed with the surgery and less water and salt is absorbed. As the small bowel adapts to this change (which takes several weeks), the stool should gradually thicken to a porridge or toothpaste consistency. The stool from an ileostomy should never be formed. Changes in the consistency of the stool will vary during the course of a day depending upon the types and quantities of fluids and foods consumed. You might find that stool will pass into your appliance anywhere from 1 ½ to 4 hours after eating and drinking.
If anyone has any advice on what I am to expect from this Reversal, I would welcome your comments please. I am extremely anxious but also quite excited at the same time. Its another step closer to 'normality'.
I am due in to have my reversal next Thursday 13th Nov 2008 (Operation Friday 14/11/08)
Very frightened to be perfectly honest so wish me luck please!

Positive Mental Attitude

I simply cannot stress enough that a Positive Mental Attitude is essential in aiding recovery. With all that happened and continues to happen to me, it would have been so easy to just give in or even give up. DON'T !!! I am not looking for a medal or for praise for getting through my ordeal, besides its not over yet. Its just a simple decision you have to make. Do I fight on and hopefully get better or lie back, feel sorry for myself, say ''why me'' and then probably lose the battle. The decision was easy for me. You feel the whole worlds caved in around you, I know that all too well but think of your loved ones, think how much they need you to get better, feel their love and feed on their strength. Walk to the window at the hospital, look out and think...''I'll be out there soon, I'll be back home with my family all around me for as long as I want, not just the visiting hour, I will be back to normality, eating what I want and doing what I want'' it gives you such an incentive. But most of all, when your family visit, smile at them, give them hope. Although we are going through the physical pain, think of their pain. Once visiting hours were over, I always wanted my family to go away with a smile, with hope in their hearts. I made every effort I could to show strength even at times telling slight porky's (little white lies) that I was feeling great and all was hunky dory, but they weren't to know. So, stay POSITIVE even when things are so bad. Smile as often as you can, honestly this does help. A smile can release endorphins that are good for you. Also, one thing I did quite often was sitting up in bed and doing little exercises. In the beginning these were so hard to do as I had no strength nor muscle but doing them regularly you notice daily how much easier they are to do., This also means your getting better. I made lists of meals I wanted to cook when I got out, I made plans for day trips out for when I got home, a holiday etc....all these little things help...I promise.


............. and see the results.

Me - Before

Fame at last! I thought meeting Anne Robinson would be the biggest challenge of my life. I actually got to the final on the Weakest Link but was pipped at the post. Anne was 'small fry' in comparison to the challenge that lie ahead for me.

Me - After

First night out......This is me with my Sister Emily, shortly after I started to feel fine again. Emily has been my strength and motivation. Em always keeps the light shining for me at the end of the tunnel and has always been there for me on my darkest of days. I am so glad she was there with me on the day I finally felt myself again. I love her very very much.

This is me and my nephew Callum. He was so strong and gave me lots of cuddles whilst I was poorly. He travelled a very long way to visit me in hospital, only to be told he was too young to come into the ward. Well, I wasn't having that, so I managed to walk to the end of the ward and meet up with him for one of his special big cuddles. Callum's cuddles are better than any medicine.
My muscle definition is very obvious here and has been due to the Protein Drinks (FRESUBIN energy drink) I take to help build me back up again. They are like a milk shake and come in all varieties of flavours, my favorite being Banana, Strawberry, Vanilla and Chocolate but you can get Cappuccino, Lemon (Yuk!), Blackcurrant (Even Yukkier!) Tropical Fruits (Disgustingly Yuk!) . They have most certainly helped me and I highly recommend that you ask your doctor about these if you need to gain back your pre-op weight. I am now 8 stone 3 pounds....slightly heavier than my pre-op weight...what an achievement it has been getting back up from 5 and a half stone!

My Hair is also growing back slowly but surely.

Reversal Looming.....

Well, the time has come to say goodbye to Beanie. He is on his way back home, to be reunited with my rectum! I have to admit after a shocking start to our relationship, its not been all bad. We have had our moments of disagreement and down right embarassment but all in all a pretty stable and positive bond. I cant say I will miss him as I dont want to tempt fate but I will look back with mainly fond memories of our time together.

I am due into hospital tomorrow , Thursday 13th November 2008. I am scheduled for the reversal on Friday afternoon. I will then have a new stoma, a temporary ileostomy to get to know. Not too much bonding needs to be done here, we just have to get along for several weeks not months.

I will update you with the outcome along with some new pictures of my forward journey.


Reversal Done

Phew. Just one more Operation planned now for January (reversal of Ileostomy) and I should be somewhere near to getting back to some sort of normality. I was told to expect a 2 week stay in hospital but miraculously I was in and out in 4 days! I was told that this was due to my 'obs' being ok and to prevent me contracting any hospital infections ( like last time!!). I am not saying I didnt want to be home but it was all a bit raw and quite scary. The last time I was in, I was very poorly and all a little hazy but this time I went into hospital well so for me it was very scary. My previous experience all came flooding back, not nice but I was looked after very well this time. I had my own room to!

The only problems this time were my breathing. I was only breathing 4 breaths per minute but this all rectified itself. I also have a Haematoma (spelling?) This is basically a blood clot under the skin. It was huge post op, like a tennis ball but it has began to disburse now and the swelling is going down thankfully. If it hadnt started to go down there are a few things that can be done. Doctors can put a needle into the swelling and try to draw off the clot or, open up the scar and let it drain. I so did not want this option as this time the surgeon has sorted out my scar. I was told that this opening is not resealed so I would have been left with a wider scar as before. So, I am so happy that its disbursing as it should naturally. I still have a very odd shaped tummy at the moment due to Gynae scar etc but I am getting there.

I have been told that the reversal went to plan. I now have a new stoma, which I am struggling with to be honest but its working as it should. Its just very different. It sticks out like a witches nose! and produces more regulary, which means I have to spend more time on its care and attention.


Here we go again......

No shock here when waking as I have been through all this before. I had a Laparotomy again so the surgeons opened me through the original vertical scar. Only difference here is that I have one closed Stoma site and one new Stoma site on my right side. I dont remember much about this stage of recovery before as I was away with the fairies most of the time. It wasn't too much of a shock though this time. Still far from pleasent but necessary to progress.

Scar Uncovered

In the picture below you can see where my old stoma used to be. I have staples, 44 of them in total, holding everthing together.

In the picture on the right you can see the start of the vertical scar and the tip of the Haematoma Swelling. My Ileostomy was at this stage just producing a bloody fluid following the operation (Top Picture)



A hematoma is a localized mass of blood, normally resulting from broken blood vessels. A hematoma may be present as a bruise (contusion), or within an organ of the body. Black eyes are also a well-known kind of hematoma. Other potential areas for hematomas include the brain, anus, ear and nails. When a fracture occurs, hematoma is nearly always present with the condition. The blood in a hematoma will normally be absorbed by the body, but in some cases such as infection it may remain, and may need to be removed with surgery. With contusions, ice packs may be applied, leading to vasoconstriction to reduce bleeding and swelling. Elevating and resting a limb with a contusion may also help to reduce swelling and avoid additional injury.

Loving Support

Loving Support from my Mum, Sue and Sister, Emily

My Rock Chris who loves me unconditionally x

My Beautiful Sister Emily who has taught me how to find my inner strength and Kick Arse!

I just can't put into words how important my family and partner have been to me through this unexpected journey. I totally believe that I am here now because of them and their continued love and support.

Home again.....(4 days post op !!)

Well here are my scars on return home. As you can see the top part of the scar has been closed more neatly. It still all looks horrible but will settle down I am sure. My staples are due to be removed over the next few days, all 44 of them.......Ouch! I think they are left in for 10 days.

Haematoma progress

This is how my Haematoma looks, a few days after coming home. This picture shows it much better. It looks like a tennis ball under the skin.

Staples OUT !!!

I am now ten days into my recovery and the district nurse has arrived to remove the staples. This isnt too unpleasant to be honest. Out of 44 staples, only 3 or 4 brought tears to my eyes. The nurse uses a very clever pair of what look like scissors. The staples are eased out very quickly and without too much discomfort.