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Should I get a Colostomy?

kleach
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2003

I had colorectal surgery 4 years ago. Ever since then I have had frequent BM's and diarrhea. I travel a lot and want to spend time with my young grandchildren, instead of being in the bathroom. Two of my doctors say to get a colostomy bag, the others say that it is up to me. Should I get the bag?

pattieb
Posts: 176
Joined: Mar 2003

Are you taking anything to help so you don't go as often? Have you gotten another opinion?

kleach
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2003

thanks pattieb. i am taking lomotil and levsin now and they help, but i still have to stay close to a bathroom at times. the docs say i probably should have a bag because my colon has shown a tendency to produce cancerous polyps, even if i could control the bm`s. i just am concerned about the problems of having a bag. is it the answer to my problems? thanks for answering / /

Karlen1
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi, I have an ileostomy and am coping very well with it. I may decide to keep it as things are going so well right now, and why tamper with a good thing? I had rectal surgery and chemo and radiation. Was your sugery because of cancer? Did you have radiation and/or chemo? e-mail me if you like at circus@nb.sympatico.ca Perhaps we can help each other make the decisions we need to.

All the best, Karlen

kleach
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2003

thanks karlen1. my surgery was because of ca high up in the rectum. in 1999 my first surgery was to remove that polyp, most of my rectum and 1 foot of my colon. then in o1 we removed the first several inches of my colon and some of my small intestine. that was when most of my problems started.. i have several bm`s a day and sometimes diarrhea. i am considering a bag to make my life more mobilke.i am stuck to a bathroom for long periods during the day. i just wany to know the problems with having a bag to contend with. thanks

Karlen1
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi again, getting an ostomy should certainly give you the freedom you desire. When you wake up from surgery, you are in quite a bit of pain, but they give you morphine or such to take care of that. They give you a lot of good care and teach you how to look after your ostomy yourself. The hardest part, for me, was when I got home. The bag almost seems like your enemy or something, particularly when you just come home from the hosp and you are very weak and trying to deal with leaks. I found myself in tears and so shaky and felt if I could do it over again, I just would not let them do it--I'd just take my chances with the cancer. But one does adjust and things get easier with time. Gaining your strength back is a big help. If you decide to do this, walk as much as allowed in hosp for that reason. It will help you when you get home. Other than a yeast infection that I've been dealing with around my stoma lately, I don't really have problems now.

You are fortunate to know ahead of time about an ostomy. Some folks don't get the chance. Leaks seem to be the biggest problem for people. Read all you can. http://www.uoa.org/discussion/genboard0305/ is a great site where people discuss their life with an ostomy. Ask your surgeon to leave you a spout of one to one and a half inches (and that measurement is after the swelling goes down), ask that your stoma be placed below, and away from, your beltline; away from your belly button, away from scars, folds, wrinkles, etc.; and not too near your groin. All the foregoing help prevent leaks. The length of the spout is very, very important. If you go to that other site, read the messages of Terry G of U.K. He really knows his stuff. You will really learn a lot about ostomies there.

I had radiation and worry about what it may have done to my bowels. Right now things are good and I sure wouldn't want to be fecally incontinent, deal with diarrhea all the time, etc. Have to make up my mind by August.
Good luck to you.

All the best. Karlen

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