Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nuts and Bolts

This is my second week back to work...part time. Well, hardly any time really. I am working 2-3 hours per day; setting my own hours. It's been really hard this week. The ups and downs are really making my head spin.

The Nuts and Bolts:
I have to wear "appliances". They look like this:
 plus this:  for Jack (he's the colostomy stoma) and
like this:
plus this: for Jill (she's the urostomy stoma).

So every other day, I pull the wafer off, apply a skin barrier (it's like an alcohol swab that leaves my skin sticky) and then attach the pouch. The wafers are about $12 a piece and the pouches are about $9 each. I'm lucky enough to have insurance, so it costs me much less.

It has taken me the past three months to decide these are the appliances for me. I have gone through several spills and several wafers that pulled my skin off. Of course the ones that work the best are the most expensive. Also, I should really be using a pouch that looks like this:  for Jack, but I can't bring myself to empty the pouch quite yet, so I use the disposable (sorry mother earth).

When I was researching stomas and ostomies before my surgery, everything I found showed a stoma to protrude from the stomach about an inch (I looked at pics to show you, but seriously, I HAVE a stoma and they make me cringe!), but in reality, my stomas are both flush with my skin. They don't protrude at all. I thought this would cause a problem with draining into the pouches, but I was wrong. It all seems to work quite well, most of the time.

The Ups and Downs:
So some days its really easy, nothing to it.
And then there are days where everything is a struggle. Getting out of bed is a struggle, getting dressed is a struggle, and I just plain feel awful. It's the days that I physically hurt that are the hardest. It becomes too much to put a smile on my face and feel cheery when my insides feel like they've been pureed. But I know if I just hang on, in a day or two I will feel better again.

The first ostomy surgery was done in 1776. The collection of waste was taken care by a sponge with an elastic bandage. (My sixth grade teacher told me not to show my stupidity, but I have to say that I didn't know they had elastic in 1776. Sorry Mrs. Andrews). I am so blessed that this surgery saved my life and I live in a day where the inconvenience is very minimal. I don't have to worry about odor, I don't have to worry about the pouches showing through my clothes, I don't have to worry about the complications that were life threatening only 50 years ago.

Well, that is enough for today.
I am securely fastened in my coaster car with a clear view of a bright blue sky as I am currently on my way up.

Peace and Love

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