How does it work?
The docs removed my entire colon and my small intestine literally sits about an inch or two out of my stomach into a bag that is stuck to my front! For more info on my surgery click here.
Do you still have Colitis?
This is a tricky one because some say NO and some say YES. My docs made the impression that I don’t anymore – I was assured I won’t flare from now on. To me, it makes sense if I don’t have the organ that colitis effects (the colon and rectum) then how can you have the illness? But I guess it’s up for debate…
I don’t really know why we all name our stoma’s – I guess she’s my new best friend, so it seemed fitting to name her rather than just calling her ‘it’.
Will you have the bag forever?
Possibly… This surgery is one of 3 (potentially 4). Second stage surgery is usually to create a j-pouch, but I do have the option to make Rosie permanent. If I decide to have the j-pouch surgery then I won’t have the bag anymore.
Is the bag on 100% of the time?
Pretty much… I’m only ever bagless for about 5 mins when I change it! [Click here to see my bag change video. Bit of warning, you WILL see my intestine if you watch this] For more on bag-life post-op click here.
How long did you try meds before you went for surgery and would you recommend surgery?
I did aggressive drug therapy for around 18 months before I had to resort to surgery. I tried seven different drugs, from pills to enemas, and IV therapy in an attempt at getting my body to chill out, but none of them made any difference. My colitis was very severe & I know a lot of people who get on great with meds but I totally recommend the surgery! It’s given me my life back.
Does it affect your social life? Is it an inconvenience?
My stoma has actually given me a social life – I can leave the house without any worries! And it isn’t so much of an inconvenience, I just have to make sure I don’t forget she’s there! I have to make sure I have my little ‘leak emergency’ kit with me but stoma life is a million times better than colitis life.
Do you have a restricted diet?
The best thing about bag-life is being able to eat my mother out of house and home! I’ve found a few NO’s (broccoli, whole tomatoes, a whole bag of nuts…) but to be honest it’s all trial and error. Some things will be fine for me and not for others… For more on food + bag-life click here.
Does it smell?
No, thankfully the only times it does is when I empty it and take it off. There are filters within the bag to make sure it doesn’t smell. But if you’re worried about it, you can get accessories that help this. Or I use a little aromatherapy oil in the bottom of the bag and while I’m changing so the room smells like a spa and not a public loo…