life with an ostomy. candid, not sugar-coated. empowered, not embarrassed.

Apr. 16, 2007

Snappin' a photo where the sun don't shine

I never thought I would post this picture to my blog, but somebody asked - and I had given the green light to questions.

Anna wondered:

"What is there now where your anus used to be? Is it, like, stitched up or something?"

Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?

but even so, I still have more to say about this. I was cut up my ass crack, and my anus and rectum were completely removed. there was an open wound there after the surgery, and it took about a year for it to heal from the inside out.

Sex was a bit scary for the first few years after the surgery because a penis can (and did a couple times) slip out of my vag and ram into where my anus was. Of course, my nightmare of it actually tearing the wound open again never happened, but I was so scared of that.

Not anymore though. It's sealed SHUT and mostly with scar tissue.

Apr. 9, 2007

You've got questions?

I've got answers.
Here's a green light to anyone with questions about my ileostomy.
Go ahead! Ask away! A nice lady named Roxanne did!!

Roxanne's first few questions...

R: Your stoma looks like it really hurts; does it?

J: No, the stoma I can't really feel at all. I can only feel pressure on it. The peristomal skin is what sometimes hurts. That's the skin just around the stoma; a small ring of skin has never completely healed. I've had Enterstomal Therapy nurses (aka ET nurses, aka wound care specialists) say it should heal, but many ostomates I've talked to haven't had it heal completely.
Most of the time the peristomal skin doesn't hurt... it only hurts when it marinating in liqui-poo that's slipped under the flange - which indicates it's time for a bag change! - and it hurts when it first comes into contact with the glue I put on underside of the flange - there's alcohol in the glue.

Actually, the peristomal skin feels somewhat orgasmic when I take off the flange and clean it with a wet cloth... ahhhh... it bleeds at bit, but not for long. And honestly, the pleasure of the itching and rubbing is divine, even though it hurts a bit.

R: Is it constantly flowing so you have to wear your bag all the time? Even in the shower, and at a swimming pool?

J: The output from my stoma sometimes slows down depending on what I eat and drink, but it never completely, or predictably, stops. I used to eat a banana 30 minutes before each bag change, because it would slow my bowel activity down for about an hour, but now I don't bother because I've become pretty adept with a quick bag change.

I occasionally take the bag off in the shower - when I do, the poop uncontrollably flows down my front, and it gets to be a ridiculous game of soaping the skin to clean off the poop, and then my stoma erupting again. Plus, poop in the pubes is pretty unappealing. But then again, it feels nice to have that skin exposed for ahile and under the warm water.

Yep, I wear my bag swimming too. I usually wear a speedo, which keeps the bag really tight against my abdomen, plus the patterns on speedo suits are great for obscuring the hard plastic ring where the bagsnaps into to the flange.

R: How does farting work?

J: When I 'fart' - it's usually not like farts coming out of an anus, because I don't have a rectum, or any other kind of receptacle at the end of my digestive tract where gas, or poo, collects before coming out all at once. So mostly my farts come out in small bubbles, just whatever air happens to be cruising through my intestines before peeping out into the light of day (or the light of my bag at least). There's only sometimes a sound, and those are mostly very quiet. Although a few times it's been hilariously loud - like when I farted while talking to my landlady, and she looked at my tummy and said "wow- you must be hungry!"

Some ostomates I've talked to have bigger issues with noise. One woman I knew was a lecturer and she used to hold a small pillow against her tummy at all times to muffle the noise. She had a colostomy though, and I think having a larger stoma, with a portion of your large intenstine intact, makes a difference.

About 25% of the content of my bag is gas when I wake up at about 6am to empty it. Often the bag is like a goodyear blimp floating on my abdomen.

R: Can you anticipate the gas and poo coming out, and can you feel it when it does?

J: Sometimes I can feel the gas coming, but it's a subtle feeling. Sometimes I think a fart is coming, but it's not. But like I said, it's mostly little fart bubbles that come out, and I don't feel that at all.

I only feel the poop coming out when there's a big surge of it. and no, there's no more sense of urgency or satisfaction from pooing. I miss that. well, I would say there's a mild satisfaction after some particulary exciting eruptions, but nothing so satisfying as the days when I had explosive diarreah, or that feeling of laying a huge log after awhile on the toilet.