Wednesday, 24 September 2008
I am writing this Blog in the hope that other people who have suffered such trauma can contact me, tell me their stories and hopefully we can help each other along the way with advise and tips or just some soothing positive words when needed.
Monday, 22 September 2008
Swelling following my Laparoscopy Sept' 07. Although a little uncomfortable, as is to be expected, this operation and recovery was quick and virtually pain free. I was only in hospital as a day patient so went home the day of my procedure. I went back to work a couple of weeks after this and felt fine throughout. I was sort of looking forward to the next Operation, scheduled for April 2008 as this was going to hopefully put right all the wrongs found at the Laparoscopy and enable me to have a better quality of life and hopefully even be able to start a family.
Friday, 19 September 2008
Thursday, 18 September 2008
My Stoma Nurse, Helen, was a true Gem. We got on very well indeed. She helped me to come to terms with my new way of life. Her visits were weekly at first until she was confident that I was ok with everything. Then I was left to deal with it on my own but Helen was always at the end of the phone should I have needed her. I then just had a couple of visits to her at the health centre where she checked on my progress and caught up on the gossip !!
Hair Loss. What an unexpected shock this was. I had been in recovery for a couple of months by this stage. I was beginning to feel ok and thought my progress was fantastic. I even managed to travel down on the train to see my family. Whilst at my mums I noticed that I was losing more hair than usual when brushing it. I normally have long, thick hair so was used to the odd strands coming away but this was more than the norm. My sister Emily took a look, checked out my scalp and confirmed that I was losing hair. I was devastated at this early stage of the loss. I returned home, and whilst taking a shower it became apparent that my hair loss was extreme. My body was covered in my hair, the plug hole became blocked with it and the water overflowed the shower tray onto the bathroom floor. Sheer panic set in. I called my partner Chris back from work. He calmed me and cleared the bathroom of handfuls of my locks. The hair loss continued daily. I became afraid to wash it and had panic attacks everytime I did manage to. Off to the doctors I went. My doctor said that this was all to do with the trauma I had experienced. My body was working hard to get me better and my hair unfortunately was not top priority for it hense the loss. I was prescribed Betnovate, which is a steroid you rub into the scalp but this had no effect to be honest. I would say I lost virtually three quarters of my hair. It didnt come out in patches but simply all over, so I now have 'tufts' of new hair growing and what remains of my original hair is extremely thin. BUT it IS growing back which is brilliant news. Nothing prepared me for this though. It is one thing having a low self image due to scarring and having a colostomy but people dont see that unless you show them. Call it Vanity but my hair loss did depress me as it was obvious for the world to see. I felt that I had been through enough and that this was a very cruel side effect to this trauma.
Transcutaneous means 'through the skin'. TENS machines deliver small electrical pulses to the body via electrodes placed on the skin. TENS machines are thought to affect the way pain signals are sent to the brain. Pain signals reach the brain via nerves and the spinal cord. If pain signals can be blocked then the brain will receive fewer signals from the source of the pain. We may then feel less pain.
TENS machines are thought to work in two ways.
When the machine is set on a high pulse rate (90-130 Hz) it triggers the 'pain gate' to close. This is thought to block a pain nerve pathway to the brain. This is the normal method of use.
When the machine is set on a low pulse rate (2-5 Hz) it stimulates the body to make its own pain easing chemicals called endorphins. These act a bit like morphine to block pain signals.
TENS machines tend to be mainly used to help reduce pain from problems in muscles, joints and nerves rather than abdominal, chest or head pains. Unlike a lot of medication there are virtually no side-effects when using a TENS machine. However, people with the following must not use a TENS machine:
When the cause of the pain is not known or not diagnosed.
Pregnancy (unless specifically medically advised).
Epilepsy or certain types of heart disease.
My scar is pretty awful, I know. Thankfully, it will be rectified though during my reversal operation. It did take quite a while to heal as it was always leaking with infection. At one stage, I had a colostomy bag attached to the lower part of the wound, as this saved the nurses changing the dressings constantly. It is quite a deep scar too which makes it even more unsightly. I have what seems like a canyon running down the centre of my tummy! The scar really should have just been a nice little line, as you may see around my belly button. This part of the scar was left alone and has healed very nicely....as scars go!
An ileostomy is an opening made into the small bowel, the ileum. The resulting opening is called a stoma from the Greek word meaning "mouth". Initially after surgery, the stoma tends to be quite swollen due to the handling of the bowel. The size may decrease, however, this will occur over a period of time often taking up to six weeks. The bowel is not unlike the inside of our mouths. The stoma is red, soft, and moist. The stool from an ileostomy stoma contains many harsh enzymes. If stool should come in contact with skin, irritation can occur. To avoid this problem, the surgeon will construct the stoma so that it protrudes approximately 2.5 mm from the skin and well into the opening of the appliance.
The stoma can be either a loop or an end portion of the ileum. Through the opening, the bowel is turned back on itself almost like a cuff and stitched to the skin. The loop ileostomy will have two openings - the top opening called the proximal opening where stool is passed and the distal opening or bottom opening that is connected to the resting portion of bowel. An ileostomy may be temporary or it may be permanent. Ileostomies are usually located in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen.
The stool from an ileostomy is initially quite loose. It may take 24-48 hours before the ileostomy will start to function. Prior to that, there may be bloody drainage present in the appliance. Once the ileostomy starts to function, the contents may be loose, thin, watery and greenish looking. This is know as bile. Ileostomy stool will always be loose because the colon, large bowel, has either been removed or bypassed with the surgery and less water and salt is absorbed. As the small bowel adapts to this change (which takes several weeks), the stool should gradually thicken to a porridge or toothpaste consistency. The stool from an ileostomy should never be formed. Changes in the consistency of the stool will vary during the course of a day depending upon the types and quantities of fluids and foods consumed. You might find that stool will pass into your appliance anywhere from 1 ½ to 4 hours after eating and drinking.
I am due into hospital tomorrow , Thursday 13th November 2008. I am scheduled for the reversal on Friday afternoon. I will then have a new stoma, a temporary ileostomy to get to know. Not too much bonding needs to be done here, we just have to get along for several weeks not months.
I will update you with the outcome along with some new pictures of my forward journey.
Here we go again......
No shock here when waking as I have been through all this before. I had a Laparotomy again so the surgeons opened me through the original vertical scar. Only difference here is that I have one closed Stoma site and one new Stoma site on my right side. I dont remember much about this stage of recovery before as I was away with the fairies most of the time. It wasn't too much of a shock though this time. Still far from pleasent but necessary to progress.
In the picture below you can see where my old stoma used to be. I have staples, 44 of them in total, holding everthing together.
A hematoma is a localized mass of blood, normally resulting from broken blood vessels. A hematoma may be present as a bruise (contusion), or within an organ of the body. Black eyes are also a well-known kind of hematoma. Other potential areas for hematomas include the brain, anus, ear and nails. When a fracture occurs, hematoma is nearly always present with the condition. The blood in a hematoma will normally be absorbed by the body, but in some cases such as infection it may remain, and may need to be removed with surgery. With contusions, ice packs may be applied, leading to vasoconstriction to reduce bleeding and swelling. Elevating and resting a limb with a contusion may also help to reduce swelling and avoid additional injury.