Two days before my ileostomy surgery, I met with two of my local stoma nurses who went through just about everything with me; giving me booklets, explaining the surgery to me, giving me a heads up on what life will be like after the surgery and also gave me the opportunity to ask any questions (they actually came back the next day to let it all sink in and then ask questions). Let me tell you, I had oodles of questions, some very sensible ones and others which my dad said were silly but they were legit worries I had – insert will I be sitting up and watching Britain’s Got Talent the day after surgery or will I still be out of it? Answer: Yes, I was able to watch Britain’s Got Talent (not that I can remember much as I was on morphine…)
I thought I’d share with you some of the questions I asked my stoma nurses and give a summary of their answers as well 🙂
Will I be able to wear my high waisted skinny jeans?
I feel this is a question many people my age have as I am obsessed with my skinny jeans. Because I raised this, I worked with my stoma nurses to find an appropriate place to put my stoma which works with the types of waist lines I wear. Whilst the nurses said that yes, I would be able to wear my skinny jeans again, I won’t be able to for the first few weeks just because everything a bit sore and getting used to everything. Fingers crossed the skinny jeans will be back soon!
Will I be on medication for the rest of my life?
No, I shouldn’t be! Which is amazing. I’m currently in the process of coming of my steroids (hallelujah! they’ve caused more problems instead of fixing anything!) and once I’m off those I’ll be able to come off my calcium and stomach lining tablets too. That just leaves me then with the pentasa enema which I have in my mucous fistula and my potassium supplements which I should hopefully come off soon too.
Will the stoma hurt or have any feeling?
You can’t actually feel your stoma. I didn’t really get this until it was there but it has not feeling which still weirds me out a bit. When you wipe a gauze over it to clean it, you can’t actually feel anything…I know, weird!
Will I be able to swim?
Yes, there’s no reason why I can’t swim. I can go deep sea diving if I want to apparently. But I don’t want to do that…I don’t like water on my face and I’m not the biggest face of swimming, let alone going under water!
Will I be able to fly on planes or will the cabin pressure pretty much blow the bag up?
Your bag won’t blow up on a plane. Don’t tell me I was the only one imagining the cabin pressure changing and the bag ballooning and ballooning like Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate factory? Well apparently that doesn’t happen at all. I was recommended to sit in a isle seat just so it’s easier to go to the toilet and empty your bag. Oh, and stay away from fizzy drinks on the plane and anything which causes more gas.
Will I be able to dance again?
This was a big one for me because I love dancing and the thought of not being able to do it anymore really got me down. Rest assured, once I’m all healed I will be able to dance again. I’ll just have to be careful if I do anything lying on my stomach cause you know the stoma and bag are there. I can’t wait to get back dancing though in a few months!
How long till I can go on my dog walks again?
Again, this is down to how I’m feeling although I was recommended not to actually hold my dog for a while if he pulls because I don’t want to risk getting a hernia. But hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be able to do the dog walk with my mum and/or dad holding the dog.
Will I be able to sleep on my stomach?
I am one of those people who literally sleep face down and I’m not comfy any other way. Well, I’m going to have to learn to sleep a new way because no, you can’t sleep on your stomach. This is something I’m still trying to deal with because I cannot get comfy at the moment sleeping! Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Will my cats claws puncture the bag? Because they like to sit on me a lot and have pretty sharp claws.
According to the stoma nurses, they’d never been asked this one before. It came to me whilst we were talking about dogs (as you do) and I suddenly thought about my cat, Dumbledore, who will literally just come and sit on you and dig his claws in you (it’s a sign of affection apparently…I’m still dubious). None of us were sure whether they would or not but to be honest I don’t really want either of my cats sitting on my stomach at the moment so I’m not risking it yet.
Will I have any deficiencies like iron or folic acid?
I asked this because at the time I had a folic acid deficiency and I’ve had anaemia on and off (mainly on) since I was diagnosed two years ago. At the moment I have a potassium deficiency which they think has been caused my the steroids so I’m currently taking some type of supplement for that as well as been told to eat more chocolate (yes, I have it in writing too…how awesome is that!) and bananas as drink more fruit juice too (which I can actually do now!). There’s also the chance that I might need B12 injections but at the moment I don’t.
Will I be able to eat normally?
Food has been one of my biggest woes. I love food so much but so many foods used to upset my stomach before the surgery and as soon as I read about blockages in the booklets I was given, I freaked out. I was told that it’s mainly trail and error but to stay away from whole nuts, sweetcorn and mushrooms (I don’t like sweetcorn and nuts anyways so thats no biggy) and to chew my food really well and drink lots. So I am currently in the trail and error process and so far I’ve found nothing I can’t have. Certain foods and drinks will cause the output to smell more (fish I’m looking at you) or have looser stools or cause more wind but it really is just try and see.
Will I be able to have McDonalds?
I asked this because McDonalds always made me really ill after I had them before surgery. I remember the last one I had (17th September 2014…yeah, I know the exact date) and it made me feel so ill that I said I’d never have a McDonalds ever again. Well, it looks like I’m going to be able to. It’s not even that I love McDonalds all that much but you know when you can’t have something and then that’s all you want? That happened. So I’ll defiantly blogging about my first McDonalds for you all because I can’t wait. I’m also going to have a KFC because I’ve never had one and I’m curious about it. TIME TO EAT ALL THE JUNK FOOD!
Will I be able to eat fish and chips?
Something else I haven’t been able to eat and adore. I haven’t had proper beer battered fish and chips since October 2013. The nurses reply to my question – Katie, you can basically eat what you want.
Will I be able to drive?
Before I was admitted into hospital, I’d just started learning to drive and had had 3 lessons and was absolutely loving it. I can’t drive at the moment and I think they said at least 6 weeks but it’s until you can do an emergency stop…I haven’t even learnt how to do that yet! But it’s going to be a good few months before I can drive and probably longer because I’m only learning.
Can I go on rollercoasters?
Because I need to know if I’m able to go to Alton Towers, Blackpool and Disneyland anytime soon. Yes, you can go on rollercoasters with an ileostomy bag. Thank goodness!
Am I more likely to be dehydrated?
Yes, you are more likely to become dehydrated with an ileostomy bag. That’s because water isn’t reabsorbed because you don’t have your large bowel. This means that I just have to drink more…I think they recommend at least 10 glasses of water or about 2 litres of fluids a day. I defiantly feel more thirsty but that could just be a psychological thing. I just make sure I always have a bottle of water with me! I’m lucky in the sense I already drank lots of water before surgery so it’s not too much of an adjustment…it’s just making sure I do it every day!
Will I be able to drink alcohol?
Yes you can drink alcohol but you have to make sure you drink lots of water too because alcohol is dehydrating. I’ve never been able to drink alcohol because it made me flare really bad whenever I did (I tried many times and 9 times out of 10 I really regretted it) I never got drunk because I did’t absorb the alcohol and then it would leave me in loads of pain and running to the toilet. I’m looking forward to being able to actually enjoy a social drink with my friends! Roll on the £2 cocktails at Font!
I hope you enjoyed this post and I just want to say a massive thank you to the comments people have been sending me on Facebook. I shared my blog on Facebook last night and was overwhelmed with the positive responses I got not only from friends and friends of friends but from complete strangers too! So just a massive thank you to end the post!