WARNING: I know there are several of my Facebook friends who like to keep up with this blog. This post contains gross details about Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and the aftermath of surgery. If you have weak constitutions or do not appreciate “TMI,” this post is not for you. Turn back now. You have been warned.
I have been trying to write this post for several days now. It has taken every ounce of energy/willpower I can muster to even get started. Soon, I want to write a post about the actual surgery, but today I want to talk about the aftermath of the takedown.
This was my second of two surgeries. My first surgery involved the removing of my colon and creation of both my j-pouch and ileostomy. My second involved removing my temporary ileostomy and connecting everything together so I could poop “normally” again.
It is strange waking up without an ileostomy. Even stranger when you start using your bottom to go to the bathroom again instead of it all coming out of your stomach and into a bag that’s glued to your skin.
In the beginning, I started pooping everytime I went to go pee. It was an automatic thing. A lot like when I had an ileostomy and the mucus came out of my bottom when I went to pee. When I got home, I had to relearn how to make myself “go.” It was weird. I knew that I had to go because of all the gurgling and rumbling going on in my abdomen. Not to mention the pain/pressure of the new sensation that let me know my j-pouch was full. But no matter how long I sat there, nothing happened.
I was afraid that I had a blockage. Thankfully, I didn’t and it all passed with time. I think the hydrocodone was slowing things way down for me, but I can’t prove it.
So, without further ado (and hoping I didn’t scare those hopeful j-pouchers out there), here are some things to consider in the aftermath of the takedown…
1) You may feel like you have to relearn how to poop.
2) DO NOT chug water when you are several days out from surgery. You will vomit. You will experience intense pain. You will regret this decision. Sipping water is the best option. You want to stay hydrated.
3) Your poop will be liquid. Unless you’ve had a lot of hydrocodone… then you might be a little stopped up. Neither of these are fun.
4) Butt burn sucks. I will explain my remedies for this in another post. Still learning how to cope with it. My surgeon just ok’d me taking Imodium again, so I am hoping this will help, too.
5) You will feel pain when food passes through the bit of intestine where your ileostomy used to be.
6) Wet wipes (such as those made by Cottonelle) will be your best friends. Also, it might be helpful to invest in at least a handheld bidet.
7) Calmoseptine is awesome, but really, probably any good diaper cream will help.
8) Start back eating soft foods and SLOWLY work your way up.
9) You may not have much of an appetite at first.
10) The gurgling in your intestines will just about drive you insane… but from what I understand, this diminishes with time.
11) Do not try to pass gas. You may feel pretty confident about it at first, but at some point, more than gas will come out with it.
12) Don’t be surprised if you wake up in the middle of the night to an accident. This has only happened to me once. I’m not sure WHY it happened or how exactly, but it did and I had to clean myself up and change the bedsheets.
So there you have it, some things to expect days after your takedown surgery. I’m still new to this, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I will say that so far I am glad I had it done. I can still feel the pain in my intestines where they reconnected everything when food passes through, but honestly, this is nothing compared to the pain of UC and for that I am thankful.
For more information on j-pouches, you might want to check out some of Sara Ringer’s videos. DISCLAIMER: Parents may want to watch these videos first in case of content/language that may be in these videos. Sara Ringer is awesome and brutally honest. Her videos have brought me a lot of comfort.