A couple of weeks ago we shared with you Rachel’s blog post about having her ostomy surgery during lockdown (which you can find here), and in the blog post Rachel mentioned how she would be back to update us all on her ostomy surgery as she was booked in to have her stoma refashioned after some complications. We’re so excited to share with you the latest update from Rachel about her ostomy surgery and we hope that it will offer some reassurance to anyone facing refashioning surgery as she explains the procedure and her recovery afterwards.
My ostomy refashioning story…
As I write this we are experiencing heat above thirty degrees! I can now relate to how you all feel with a bag attached to your stomach during such heat, and I must say as lovely as it is, I wouldn’t mind it a little cooler thank you very much! It has been six weeks since my ileostomy surgery and six weeks ago I hadn’t even heard of stoma refashioning. Have you? I have a beautiful little boy with an ileostomy, and I myself am very active on social media posting about all things stoma related and following those alike. Yet still I hadn’t come across it..
Stoma awareness has seen quite the escalation in the last few years thanks to the hard work of many you read through this magazine and the hundreds of ostomates around the world that bravely share their stoma care routines with nothing off limits through videos, pod casts and blogging.
Stoma refashioning wasn’t a risk discussed before my ileostomy surgery back in July. When my new stoma didn’t go to plan, I was put on the surgical list for refashioning surgery five weeks after. This is my second stoma having had one at birth due to Hirschsprungs Disease, then having it reversed and a j pouch formed at three years old. Unfortunately following chronic pain and child birth it was necessary to have another one. My surgeon told me I had a lot of adhesions and scaring which meant the stoma didn’t settle well after surgery. It retracted back in, and stitches didn’t take leaving a moat of open wound around the stoma. This made it difficult for bags to stick and last with skin not reaching tight to the edge of the stoma, having nothing to stick to. Calomine lotion has been my best friend, it soothes my skin making it bareable due to leaking constantly.
To refashion the stoma, it was pulled out further and the skin sewn directly around the edge of the new base, closing the open wound and creating a clean smooth surface for bags to stick to. My colorectal surgeon told me around two in ten patients need their stomas refashioning in the months or years following initial stoma surgery. I am extremely grateful I had mine done so quickly and am excited to return to teaching for the first time in five years since this September, having to stop due to the chronic pain my new stoma has taken away.
Having the refashioning so quickly has meant a lot of abdominal surgery in a short amount of time. At present the stomach is extremely tender and the stitches sore around the stoma. I have managed to go three days with changing my bag once a day without any leaks in between. My next goal is to see if I can make it last two days. It has always shocked me how long ostomates can make their bags last, but with my new refashioning I am starting to believe it might be possible! Any abdominal surgery requires you to be kind to yourself, practice lots of self care and take help when offered. The online ostomate community has been brilliant during my wobbles in recovery. As always I know Respond are on the end of the phone to answer any questions, however silly they may seem, to provide a solution of a different product to try to increase your quality of life.
We hope you have enjoyed this latest blog post from Rachel on her ostomy surgeries, make sure to head over to Rachel’s Instagram account, @gutsy.mum for updates on her journey, and of course Jake’s. Remember we have lots of our handy Lifestyle page here for some further information on topics like sex and intimacy following surgery, diet and exercise, and click here to be taken to our Pre-Op section of our website where you will find more information and and advice pre-surgery
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