Tuesday, April 29, 2014

So you wanna take a shower...

I truly love taking showers, washing the gunk off of you from the day. Sometimes nice and hot, other times lukewarm. But with an ostomy bag, it's not a simple jump in and out kind of thing.

First off, are you going to change your bag when you get out. No? Well dont forget to put your little sticker over your filter opening. I have bags that have a handy charcoal filter that "helps" get rid of the gas and certainly helps with any smell. If I dont put the sticker on the bag, it makes the filter wet and pretty much useless.  I'm sad to say, I've forgotten more times than not to put the sticker on my bag. Trying to keep something on the front of your stomach dry or at least not soaking wet is quite a task. Yes, yes I could've stopped and put the sticker on, but first I would have had to dry the bag off somewhat, so I just play dodge the water. After you get out you also need to dry the bag off. I have a sort of cover that adds an extra barrier against the bag & my skin to make it a tad bit more comfortable.

Now, if it's a day to change your bag, there's a whole new set of things you have to do and get ready for after the shower. Sounds strange, but these days are my absolute favorite days. It give me some time to feel like a regular person. So before you get into the shower you need to get your supplies out and ready. I even get multiple of some items in the event she gets a bit "talky". I have my wafer (the bandaid part that holds everything to my skin. This part you have to cut the opening to fit the stoma. I have a moldable kind which I prep before hand), bag which HAS to be closed FYI, barrier ring (A ring that goes around the stoma as an extra barrier and 2 just to be safe), adhesive remover, stoma powder (a powder I put on my skin as an extra barrier to keep my skin as happy as it can be), skin barrier wipes (again 2), 4×4 gauze squares, and lastly a bag to put the bag and trash into.

The reason I have 2 of some items is if she gets talky while I'm changing the bag, I obviously can't reuse the some items so I have learned it's better to have more than not, and then rushing to get more supplies.  It's like that game Pop o Matic. You know it's only a matter of time before it pops up, but this case, spew all over the place. This is also where the gauze comes into place. I wrap it around as a little diaper to "prevent" any messes.

So, now I have everything and I start to take the bag off. Just as I finish up, I go to start the shower. Once I finish I rush to dry off my stomach, then cover it with the gauze. I dry off the surrounding area and start assembling my bag. It goes like this, completely dry, powder, skin barrier wipe, barrier ring, and then wafer. I then apply pressure to the waffer for a few minutes while I finish drying off.

And like that, I go on with my day. It adds about 10-20 minutes to shower time, depending on how feisty she is and if she enjoyed her marshmallow enough to shut her up, you know women haha.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


So it's been 10 weeks since my surgery and I am happy to say that things are going great.  I have gotten the whole bag thing change down, although there are days my stoma does not want to cooperate so things get a bit trying and messy, but I have to keep going since I really don't have an option :)

My PICC line came out on 4/11 and that shower after was AMAZING!  My outside of my arm had only been washed with a wash cloth and baby wipes so to wash and scrub the entire arm was like heaven.  It is still a bit "gunky" in that I still find bits of adhesive on my arm (like this morning) and it is very dry so I lather it all up with lotion and it is very happy.

Today was my post op / pre op combo appointment.  It has been 10 weeks since my first surgery and the surgeon is very happy with my progress so far.  We then discussed the next surgery, which is May 6th at 7:20am.  This is the most complicated surgery of the 3.  They will be doing what is called a Ileostomy Reversal, with an ileal pouch anal anastomosis, flexible pouchoscopy (flex sig) and a laparoscopic diverting loop ileostomy.  A lot...I KNOW.  Basically, they are reversing the pouch I have now (ileostomy), moving things around thru the anus and then creating the loop ileostomy.  In even more basic terms, they are taking 2-3 feet of my small intestine (the part sticking out) creating the J-pouch, and then giving me a loop ileostomy (cutting a hole in my intestine, and securing that part to the outside)

So this is the next step for me.  This is the most complicated surgery of all 3 and I may be in the hospital longer than with the first, but only time will tell.

As for my liver, my bloodwork from today show that the levels that were elevated are still coming down.  We are still in the high range, but still getting closer to the normal ranges.  A battle I've been fighting for the past 10 years and slowly been winning.