Paper, Plastic, or Poop?

When I first started this blog, my plan was to update everyone on my health and life after the traumatic event in February. I knew that this would be the best way for me to spread the same information to many people. Whether you’re in Duluth, across the state, country, or as far away as I know some of you are in Australia, thank you for reading. After my first blog post went live, I was shocked by how many people spread the word about When I’m Better, so thank you for that as well.

I know I told you in my first post that I would do my best to shorten the lengths of all future blog posts, so I apologize in advance that I haven’t had the time to update you all as frequently as I’d like and these posts may be lengthy. That being said, between my summer history class and just plain old busy life schedule, I still plan to keep When I’m Better active and updated more frequently. What I post here will likely be about my medical adventures, but it is not limited to that. When I’m Better is not a blog about being sick. It is a blog about living life, overcoming obstacles, getting better, and just living life to its fullest. Its goal is to educate, entertain, and be a source of fun and stories despite sometimes difficult circumstances.

On June 13th, 2013, I had surgery to have a gastrostomy placed. In addition to that, the doctor was going to look around and see if the intestine that remained was still healthy. During surgery, they determined that another 2.5 feet of small intestine needed to be removed. This surgery left me with about four feet of small intestine left when the average person has about 24 feet. I also had a colostomy done. That is what this post is about.

Ostomies are done for many different diseases and conditions. Sometimes an ostomy is only needed for a short time, but for some people it is life-long. My ostomy is a colostomy.

A colostomy is an opening in the abdominal wall that is made during surgery. The end of the large intestine is brought through the opening to form a stoma. After a colostomy has been created, that stoma is now the exit for stool. This means, that I need to wear a special bag that sticks to the stoma on my stomach. The bag catches the stool, which I can empty as needed. The reason I have one is because I am missing a large amount of my small intestine. Due to this, I would have to use the bathroom several times a day, especially very quickly after I eat. My colostomy allows me to go about my day not having to worry about rushing to the bathroom. Although it takes some getting used to, I think it will be better for me in the long run.

I want you all to know that you will not be able to see the bag, so you don’t need to worry. There will be nothing gross or apparent to you. In fact, some people do not wish to tell people they have an ostomy, and therefore, no one knows that they do.

However, I am choosing to tell you all as a part of When I’m Better, so that I do not have to explain myself if you do happen to find out. The stoma has no valve or shut-off muscle. This means that I will not be able to control the passage of stool (or gases) from the stoma.

Yep, you guessed it. It’s loud at times. While this is guaranteed to be embarrassing in the future, it’s something that I’ve been able to start ignoring, and eventually, everyone around me will be able to do the same. I mean, the average person passes gas 15 times a day, so you can’t say that you don’t either. So if I do, just let it go.

And the best part? It all goes in a bag, so even if my ostomy is having a “noisy day,” you won’t be able to smell it. So go ahead, blame your daily gassiness on me. I won’t care, I’ll blame the bag.

But just know, if you try to blame a smelly one on me, there’s no chance it was me, and well…you’re on your own there. ;)

 

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