I am doing well, but have been struggling with my most recent surgery recovery. Today marks five weeks since my last surgery and I am not bouncing back in the way that I had hoped. Going into surgery #2, I knew that I would be facing a set back due to the invasiveness of the procedure. Also, I had been feeling so well going into this surgery, compared to surgery #1, therefore the healing process would be much more intense. Another challenge that I have been facing since surgery #2 is dehydration. I will explain this in greater detail later, but this surgery moved my stoma from the end of my small intestine to higher up. This change means that food and fluids are in my system for a shorter period of time. Living with an ileostomy of any kind causes a higher risk of dehydration because, while nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine, the majority of fluids are absorbed in the colon. Without a colon I have to be sure to eat starchy foods and sip water throughout the day to stay hydrated. I had no trouble with this when I had my end ileostomy (which is just what it sounds like, the stoma is at the end of my small intestine), but since surgery #2 and living with a mid ileostomy (when the stoma is formed on the small intestine where it is closest to the stoma site from surgery #1), hydration has been challenging to say the least. I am taking Imodium (antidiarrheal) at least three times a day with meals and am eating starchy snacks with water throughout the day. The Imodium just allows food and fluids to remain in my system for a longer period of time so that I can absorb more.
Along with, dehydration my energy level is nowhere near where it was before surgery #2. I am still getting my walks in, and my doctors are happy with my progress, but it has been a huge adjustment for me. The local schools are back in session, but I am not even close to well enough to get back in the classroom. It is hard for me to see Kyle working so hard, while I am seemingly stuck on the couch for most of the day. I miss working with the kiddos in the classroom, but I don’t think I will be able to sub until the spring because by the time I regain strength, it will be time for surgery #3!
I didn’t write this blog post to complain about my recovery struggles, but because I want to paint an accurate picture of my journey. I do not regret my decision to get a j-pouch, and even with these set backs I feel much better than I did while I was suffering with Ulcerative Colitis! I am looking forward to the next stage of my journey and am learning to be patient with my recovery.