Recovery update

It’s been two months since surgery so I thought I’d do a little update.

I haven’t had a partial blockage in a while now and I feel my appetite has returned so I’m eating normal food now in slightly smaller portions with the occasional snack in between meals. I’ve found a normal diet (including gluten and milk) is working fine for me at the moment but I suspect I’ll have to reduce my gluten intact later once I’ve recovered a bit more and my eating habits return to normal. My snacks are usually either crackers, PomBear crisps (I find crisps like Walkers don’t digest too well) or biscuits/cookies. My main meals mostly consist of chicken (breaded or in a non-spicy sauce) with some form of potato (chips, wedges, mash ect.) I can’t eat beans so I’ll sometimes have tinned spaghetti instead. Noodles and pasta are ok for me in moderation but I don’t cook a lot of it as it’s only me who’ll eat it. As for sweet stuff, pretty much anything is fair game so long as it doesn’t have any nuts/seeds or dried fruits in it. I sometimes binge on cookies or chocolate.

As for my walking, I’m able to walk just fine when I’m inside my own flat or at my parents as I know there are plenty of places to sit down if I need to. However,  when I’m outside, I’m a bit slower and a lot more cautious of the people around me (I don’t fancy an accidental elbow to the stoma). I’ve been using my walking stick for the last month or so but I don’t feel I need it as much anymore. I’m sort in a grey area of needing it and not needing it so I’m trying to go out with it in my bag in case I need it later, rather than using it straight off the bat.

In regard to my stoma, it’s been better since using the barrier rings my stoma nurse gave me. The skin looks and feel so much better and the bags feel like they could last an extra day if I needed them to which is ideal.

Lastly, I’ve got an appointment to see my surgeon about closing off the blob later next month so if all goes well, I’ll be stoma-free by the New Year.

Let’s talk about this

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I bought myself a walking stick to aid me in my recovery after my surgery last year. The point of it was to help me to walk faster and for longer. It also worked as a sort of “red flag” to others to give me space and extra time to cross road, move out of their way, ect. As I’ve had surgery on the same area recently, I’ve been using my stick again when walking for long periods.

One such time was recently, when I had to go see my nurse at my GP surgery which is only a short walk from where I live. I got there fine, and I was on my way home when something happened to me that I have never experienced before; someone jeered at me, asking why I was using a walking stick.

Now, I’m 30 years old and I don’t look my age. I also look perfectly healthy so when I use my walking stick, I understand it might look a bit odd. However, their comment made me a little upset and I realised that I shouldn’t have to put up with that. I have my reasons for using a mobility aid at the moment and I shouldn’t have to justify myself.

There is a odd thing that I have noticed as a young person using a walking stick; (some) older people don’t take note of the stick and brush past me with little to no care. By contrast, younger people give me space, offer their seats if there are none free, and hold doors for me. This isn’t to say that all older people are ignorant of others needs or that younger people are kinder, it’s just a observation from my experience.

Has anyone else had someone comment on their use of a mobility aid/s? Have you said anything or just ignored them? Have you also found that older/younger people are more/less cautious around you or are they about the same? I’m interested to know what other people have experienced so please let me know by comment or PM so I can put all together in a post later. Thank you!

Recovery update!

I managed to go out twice in the last five days! I’m back to using my walking stick but I don’t think I’ll be needing it for as long this time. I can walk faster and for longer now verses last year, but I still need the extra support when going out for a long time. The stick also acts as a warning to others that I can’t move that quickly and they may need to be careful when moving around me. It doesn’t always work though as I have had a couple of people (noticeably older people) who have felt it would be fine to just knock me with their bags. Luckily, I was stationary and with someone else when this happened but still.

(Side note: It’s odd but I have found that the people who are the most considerate and take note of my stick are around the same age as me (30) or younger. I don’t mean this as a slight against older generations, it’s just something I’ve noticed.)

Anyway, in terms of eating, I think I’ve been over-estimating my guts capacity because I have had stomach cramps on and off for the last few days. It was worse yesterday (Tuesday) but it seems to have gone for now. I’m finding that the cramps are most severe if I eat too much stodgy food (like bread, batter, pastry ect) and this makes me feel sick. I’m going to try and eat four small meals a day instead of two big ones (I don’t eat breakfast). For today though, I’m only having snacks every now and then because my gut is still sore.

Recovery update 2

I’ve been home almost a week now and things have been both good and bad; I’ve been able to eat a bit more without feeling sick, I’ve been controlling my pain fairly effectively and I was able to walk a fair bit today with my walking stick. 

However, I am still getting a lot of wind passing through my stoma, the skin around him is still a tad bit sore, and today I have experienced what looks like blood in my output. As it turns out, blood in output is quite normal but I did get a bit worried and I did several things to try and get answers.

Firstly, I posted on the No Colon Still Rollin’ Facebook page and the guys there were very supportive, saying it’s normal and not to stress too much about it. Secondly, I spoke to an out of hours doctor (it’s Sunday so my GP and stoma nurse are closed) and she said I could be seen in the emergency clinic. I didn’t really want to do this as I don’t feel this is an emergency and that appointment could be given to someone who really needs it. Also, while I was speaking to her, my amazing partner did a bit of research online and confirmed that it is indeed normal for new stomas to bleed a bit for the first five to six weeks. I am still going to call my stoma nurse tomorrow morning just in case, but this has put my mind at ease so I’m not too worried about it.

Day 18

Feeling pretty good today; I slept ok last night (it took me a while to actually get to sleep though) but because it’s Sunday, they let us sleep in a bit later than during the week. (Meaning lights on was at 8am instead of 7am).

I’ve been eating solids with no problems and my stoma is looking a little healthier now. The stitches, which gave it a sort of spider-on-its-back kind of look, are dissolving and it’s not quite as flat now. The skin around it is pretty sore but I think that’s because of all the bile that was coming out of it before. I am using my barrier cream which sends to be helping a bit.

I’m still on TPN until tomorrow evening but hopefully that’ll be the last of it. I’m not as achy around the middle as I was after my first surgery so I can walk a lot easier, however, I’m going to take it easy still incase I accidentally hernia myself.

I went to the gym last night for the first time in two weeks! I only spent about half an hour there though because it’s so warm at the moment and I was worried my bag might come unstuck mid-workout. It was a good session but I’m so tired from it; it’s surprising what two weeks off can do to your fitness. Anyway, I plan to keep going every week up until my surgery then I’ll be taking a couple of months off. I’m considering going just to walk on the treadmill once I feel up to it but I don’t intend to do anything more than that between surgeries. I’m hoping this will help my recovery whilst keeping myself somewhat active without over doing it.

So, the stick is back in use, at least for now. I’m finding my middle is very sore throughout the day and using my stick to move around when not at home helps take some of the strain off my muscles. It also gives me a little bit of security in that I know I’ll be able to get home eventually with it. Whereas without it, I’d feel stranded if I found walking too hard.

It sort of feels like I’ve taken a couple of steps backwards but I know it’s not something I can control. That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, but I’m dealing. I hope.

Three days down and three to go. I’ve been taking my stick with me to work but not using it. Feeling a little tired, as usual, but I’m also a little proud of myself for being able to do the commute without the use of my stick. I guess I’ll see how things go next week without it but I’ll keep it with me just in case.

So I didn’t end up using my stick at all today. I was walking a little slower and was quite tired by the time I got home, but not in any pain which I think means I’m getting stronger. I’ll still take my stick with me to work next week but try not to use it unless I feel I need to.