Two Years Since Takedown
Well, I’ve been living with a j-pouch for two years now and I guess it’s time I update ya’ll on what life has been like… You can read some of my previous blog posts to read my whole surgery experience. Also, be sure to read about last year’s update as I talked about what life has been like living with a j-pouch for a year.
So, first things first. At the year marker, I said that I would definitely do it all over again… and I still feel that way. I truly feel like I have my life back. Please understand that I know my experience is not everyone’s experience. No two patients will have the exact story. If you are interested in reading other’s stories, please read my post entitled, So, You’re Better Now, Right?!
Food – What do I eat now?
I get a lot of questions about foods. I still do very well with salads, coffee, nuts, cooked veggies, etc. I did try a few shrimp, but I still make sure I chew my food really well when I’m unsure about something. I was finally brave enough to actually try popcorn! And you know what? I didn’t die. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend going crazy with it, but if you’re feeling adventurous, TRY IT.
Some foods that tend to bother me are gassy foods. I know not to eat too many cooked beans or veggies unless I want to be running to the bathroom more often. But even on “bad” days I only go up to about 8 times (Most days it’s 3-5 times). Oatmeal also doesn’t like me very much so I still try avoid it. But I would encourage you to at least try foods. You never know what may work for you until you try it.
Foods that seem to help me personally: apples with peanut butter and Cream of Wheat. Apples help bulk things up and the peanut butter seems to slow things down a little. I definitely notice when I go a day without them. So I try to have at least one serving a day. Cream of Wheat has multiple benefits. Not only does it help bulk things up, but it’s also high in calcium and iron (which all IBD’ers need!). Also, I just find it delicious. Especially if I add in a few slices of banana.
The Gurgling Gas
The gurgling that comes with the J-Pouch has also eased up some. Again, I just have to watch the gassy food… Gassy food makes J-Pouch life not so fun.
Last time I talked about the j-pouch gas pain. Is so much better now. These days it’s RARELY painful and only bothersome if I eat super gassy foods (which I suspect includes the bothersome foods I mentioned before). I haven’t had any Gas-X in a while. I haven’t needed it. I don’t really take Imodium anymore either unless I’m traveling for most of the day because it tends to stop me up too much. I also take the occasional Imodium if my j-pouch is being unusually active… but I still have to be careful because, as I stated before, it tends to stop me up. Even half a pill.
I have actually managed passing gas a few times without making a mess. HUGE thanks to my girl, Shelly, for telling me that she only does it while lying down. So I tried it. I haven’t made a mess doing that yet. Most days, however, I just wait until I’m sitting on a toilet to let one rip.
Which brings me to the noise in the bathroom. I absolutely hate going to the bathroom anywhere but my house because of the blasted (no pun intended) noise!!! I still am not sure how to deal with this. Last year I talked about the courtesy flush… but even it won’t completely spare you of the noise.
With the bathroom noise comes the mess that a J-Pouch leaves. When I had an overactive colon, I thought I knew what a messy toilet meant. Now? It’s 10 times worse. I have been very surprised at how big of a mess that my J-Pouch leaves behind. I’ll spare you the dirty details… but let me tell you, it’s not pretty.
Another plus: my scars have healed up very nicely. You can see the improvement in my scars below (in case you’re interested).
Vitamins & Supplements
I still recommend everyone take their vitamins and supplements, and keep an eye on your sodium and electrolytes. I can tell when I go too long without taking them! It’s extremely important that you stay on top of things. Being deficient in any vitamins or minerals can make you feel really unwell. It can also make you feel extremely exhausted.
Butt Burn, Smell & Accidents
On to the butt burn. I am hoping to write more about this in next week’s post, so I won’t get too detailed about it right now. I will say that some days it’s worse than others, but on the bad days, I’ve just learned to manage it. Things I’ve found helpful are bidets, Calmoseptine, and wet wipes! To further reduce the burn, pat, don’t wipe. And again, avoiding gassy food helps reduce butt burn, too.
As far as the smell goes… I’m not sure if I’ve gotten used to it, or if it’s eased up, too. I still use Poo~Pourri if we have company over or if I’m at someone else’s house, but at home, I barely notice it anymore.
Nighttime accidents? Not in over a year and a half! Which I am thankful for. I don’t wear adult diapers to bed anymore and I don’t usually take an Imodium before bed unless my J-Pouch is having a really off day. I will also wear diapers occasionally when traveling just to be on the safe side.
If I were to offer tips to any new J-Pouchers, I would say, learn everything you can about the J-Pouch. Ask questions. Feel free to ask me some questions. It might be worth it to invest in a bidet. This tip alone has cut way back on my butt burn instances. I love mine! Thanks for reading, and take care!