Is it weird that I’m excited about the prospect of a permanent ileostomy? Well, I am! And I get to discuss that option tomorrow with my surgeon, which I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while now.
My Current Situation
I’ve had two stomas – an ileostomy and a colostomy (mucous fistula) – for nearly six years now, and I’ve had various problems with both of them.
Stan (the ileostomy)
Stan healed wonky due to a stitch not dissolving properly in the initial recovery phase. Not only that but, since gaining well-needed recovery-weight, it has become shorter than desired for an ileostomy, meaning sore skin and higher risks of leakages. Additionally, it is telescopic during peristalsis and when lying down, which also contributes to a poor seal around the stoma. Generally annoying and, whilst mostly managed by products, needs to be fixed before I lose my mind over constantly sore skin.
Colin (the colostomy/mucous fistula)
Colin, on the other hand, is physically quite a nice little stoma. The problem we have with Colin is the PURE EVIL that comes out of him. Unlike the ileostomy (food waste), the mucous fistula produces what you’d expect – mucous. Don’t turn your nose up, dear reader – your bowel produces mucous too. Everyone’s does. It’s just that, in a normal digestive system, it escapes with stool out the rectum. The only reason I have a mucous-specific orifice is because my colon is detached from everything else and is left floating in my body cavity. (I explain it better in this video where I talk about why I have two stomas.) The problem I have with the mucous fistula is that a) I feel nauseous every time it functions and b) it is absolutely horrific in terms of odour, consistency and general management.
It’s time to get rid.
Taking into consideration both problems that I’m currently experiencing (short, wonky ileostomy + evil mucous fistula), I approached my new surgeon and have asked him to close off the mucous fistula and remove that piece of colon and, while he’s at it, refashion my ileostomy to make it more spouty. He suggested another option; to close the ileostomy and actually connect the small bowel to the colon and have a proper colostomy instead.
Ileostomy vs Colostomy
There are pro’s and con’s of both ileostomies and colostomies. I’ve comparied each method’s stoma management, supplies management, hydration, nutrition… the works. I’ve considered my condition (and my distrust for re-connecting things). I’ve considered my very colitis-feeling Crohn’s and how I have come to detest my colon. I’ve gone back and forth over the last few months, basically choosing between an ileostomy or a colostomy.
After much consideration, I’ve decided to ask him to proceed with my original plan; to just remove the rest of the colon and refashion my ileostomy (seeing as it would be a permanent ileostomy; I’d want Stan to be in tip-top form!)
What? When? Where?
Tomorrow is my next consultation with my surgeon where I will be showing him my stomas, my midline scar, and confirming on what method we choose. I’ll also get to ask him questions like how he’ll go in, how he’ll close me up, recovery time and the like.
I’m hoping we can also schedule a date, or at least get on the waiting list. I’m just super excited to be going down to just one stoma!
I will, of course, keep you guys updated! Stay tuned!
UPDATE: So, we made a decision!