Here’s what I’ve been waiting for. The day has finally come. On February 14th, Valentine’s Day. I kissed my ostomy GOODBYE. It’s been a lovely year and a half and I have learned A LOT but it is time. My closure.
Given my small tiny, uncooperative veins it was taking the team too many attempts to get a line in so they gave me some sort of gas to just kind of knock me out in order to allow them to poke me as many times as needed. I think it took 4 or 5.
Usually I wake up from surgery high AF thinking, “This is so fun!” and the only pain I feel is a slight burn from my incision. This was NOT the case this time though. When I had my pre-op appointment, as well as my meetings with the nurses we discussed my nausea and vomiting the previous two surgeries. They mentioned that it could be a sensitivity or a mild reaction from the pain meds and decided to put an arm band on me indicating an allergy to Dilaudid and Morphine. But the anesthesiologist mentioned that it’s just a normal side effect. I guess someone, somewhere along the way decided it would be a good idea not to use either……Until I woke up in absolute agony.
I have never in my life felt a pain like this. I can now accurately describe what it feels like to be stabbed in the gut. Once they realized my pain was a 10 they spent the next 2 hours pumping Dilaudid into me to get it down to a tolerable 4. Then my mom was able to come in and I was finally able to leave recovery and go up to my (private!) room.
My nurse that evening did a fantastic job managing my pain and encouraged me to get up and walk myself to the washroom, which I’ve never been able to do the day of surgery so that was really positive for myself. I had a great sleep and was ready to continue walking the next day.
Despite my best efforts to walk as much as possible and chew my Hubba Bubba, my bowels did not seem to wake up. By day 3 I was very uncomfortable with a distended abdomen and a lot of bloating. This happened last time as well and the only thing I could do was keep walking and chewing. They considered putting in an NG tube to relieve some of the gas but I wanted to avoid that so I just did my best to keep moving. They also decided to stop my Dilaudid because sometimes that can slow down the process as well. So there went my pain medication.
Luckily by late in the afternoon of day 3 things started to move and I was given some relief. Since I hadn’t eaten in 4 days I was only passing bile. But then I was given some Cheerios for dinner and able to slowly introduce foods by the next day.
I was discharged on Friday morning and home for the weekend where I’ve spent it napping and resting on the couch. Luckily I’ve had amazing family who cater to me as well as visitors who bring nothing but treats and well wishes.
Things are moving again, which is weird but not as satisfying as you would think. I find myself straining when I go to the bathroom and it becomes quite painful. My bum is sore and I’ve needed diaper cream throughout the day which helps a little bit, as well as a warm bath with Epsom salts.
I was told to prepare myself to feel like I have really bad colitis again. But that really hasn’t been the case. I haven’t had any accidents, I can stay awake for the whole day, I can make it through a meal and the consistency is not nearly as liquid. When I had colitis it would have been unlikely I could have managed the car ride home from Mount Sinai to Newmarket. But I did. Mind you, it’s only been a week so let’s all just knock on wood.
What I do find familiar is nighttime though. I’m reminded of being woken up almost every hour and running to the washroom, sitting there half asleep. I’m reminded of when I would have to lie very still otherwise a slight movement would result in immediate urgency. I’m reminded of being in such a light sleep that I dream all night all sorts of scenarios, because my body isn’t able to rest long enough to achieve that deep sleep. I’m reminded of counting how many times I go during a day, and waiting for the clock to turn to midnight so my number could reset. And I’m reminded of waking up exhausted.
Luckily this was all expected and I have the next 3 months to adjust and recover. Without my pain meds I still am moving very slowly and my stomach is tender. My scar is healing nicely and it actually looks pretty bad ass if I do say so myself.
Maybe this isn’t closure. Maybe this is another door opening. I don’t know if I’ve fully comprehended that it’s over: That I don’t have an ostomy or that I don’t have any more upcoming surgeries. II may actually be “healthy” and not ridden with medical expenses and prescriptions and time off work. I haven’t let it sink in that my fresh start is just beginning and I have so many opportunities ahead. It’s so exciting yet overwhelming that I haven’t even processed it all yet. One step at a time I guess. And then it’s my time to shine.