I can’t believe my jpouch is one year old today!!!!
A year ago on 14th May 2014 I had just been through a really tough surgery. I had woken without my Ileostomy bag and was facing my first day for nine months without pooing through my stomach!!
I was exhausted, terrified and in an awful lot of pain. I had a large tube in my bottom that would have to stay there for ten days and I also wouldn’t eat for almost two weeks.
Those first few days were bad. The pain, hunger, fear and emotional turmoil were so tough. To be honest the first few weeks were really awful, I was incontinent and taking so many drugs and learning to live with a pouch.
For the first few months I asked myself on a daily basis what had I done?! I had been warned that the recovery was brutal and would take 2 years but it was worse than I could imagine. Everything seemed so much harder than with my stoma and I doubted my decision all the time. Learning to use my pouch was like a toddler learning to use their bowels. For the first weeks I had to go to the toilet every two hours, even through the night, setting an alarm. This is because my pouch was made in a two step procedure, step one was colectomy and ileostomy and step two was pouch formation and reconnection – some people have the operations in three or more steps with the pouch being formed but not connected and then another surgery to connect it up a few months later.
The two hours was stretched to three and then four before the long period of trying to ‘hold it’ for as long as possible to train the pouch to hold more stool and teach my body to go for longer periods between toilet visits.
The past year has been a huge learning curve. There have been really difficult times where I have barely left the bathroom, there are times where I have had pouchitis, tummy bugs, butt burn, incisional hernia, surgery and so much more. I still have ‘flare ups’ where my joints are so painful and I feel exhausted. The fatigue hits hard at times.
But I can say, one year post surgery that I am really glad that I went ahead with the surgery. My life is improving all the time, I can go longer between toilet visits and I am learning what food I can and can’t tolerate. I rarely have accidents and I do feel that my health is improving all the time. There are times when I don’t even think about toilets!!! It has been YEARS since I could say that!
So happy birthday to my jpouch, it has been a crazy year! Here’s to the next one!!