Firstly, a bit of clarity, I have an ileostomy which is where my small bowel has been brought through my abdomen and the waste which come out of this gets collected by a bag.
Ileo – comes from the word ileum, which is the end of the small intestine which has been brought out.
Ostomy – is the posh word for the opening, my stoma.
Because i’ve had my large bowel removed, and the purpose of the large bowel is to absorb water into the body, I have to be really careful with my fluid intake as I can dehydrate really easy. With my body not taking in fluids like the normal persons body, my output from my stoma into my bag is very loose, this means I can have a drainable bag… so when the bag gets full and I need to empty I can just drain it.. easy as!
I had done so much research about everything before my operation (even got sent a fake stick on stoma to practice putting a bag on) but nothing could actually really prepare me for the fact I was going to shit from my stomach and have to wear a bag attached to me for the rest of my life!
The day before my surgery the lovely stoma nurses at the RVI came to mark me up – they put two big marker pen dots on my abdomen to make sure the surgeons knew where to go, reassuring. But the real fact is that everyones body is different, some stomas sit high, some sit low so we experimented with different clothing/underwear/how I sat to make sure the end position of my stoma was going to be in the right place and comfortable for me. This photo below is the last photo I have of my body with no stoma, it’s so weird to see now! The photo was also our whatsapps group icon for about 6 months after.. not sure why!
The nurses stated that even though I was marked up, during surgery if there were complications or when they got in there, those positions weren’t possible my stoma might not be exactly in the planned position, so this worried me a little bit for when I woke up what if it had gone wrong and it wasn’t going to be comfortable and I would never be able to wear jeans again, but when I woke up from surgery I honestly couldn’t have bothered any less. Drugged right up and didn’t even realise I had a stoma till the doctor came round to check.
Before I go off topic I also wanted to show you how a stoma is actually formed in surgery, I find it so interesting! The photo below shows it alot better than any description I could do, so I’ll let that do the talking, but I can’t believe that’s how my little stoma was formed! Im proud! Right after surgery it was so bruised and swollen but you’re reassured that honestly it will get better, the stoma will retract and hopefully if you’re lucky go in a nice circular shape so its 100% easier to cut bags.. and mine did just that, im so happy with it, it’s just cute and little! Photos are below.. so if you don’t want to see a real life stoma do not scroll down!!
And there we have it, how my stoma was formed, what my stoma actually is and a lovely photo of it! I hope if you didn’t know about stomas you have learned a little bit, and if you did already know about them.. I hope I got my facts right!