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Living with a stoma

Mar 28, 2017

 

Living with a Stoma – By Darren Pote

In April last year I was admitted to hospital to have my appendix removed. The operation ended up taking much longer than was expected. Instead of having appendicitis, it was discovered that part of my bowel was attached to my bladder and, in fact, I had diverticulitis. In the months following my discharge from hospital the symptoms became steadily worse and included heavy rectal bleeding. Matters came to a head on 13th July. I remember the day clearly because it was 43rd birthday! Luckily, I had my best friend round to celebrate and when he saw the pain I was in, drove me straight to A&E.

After a few tests I was transferred to the surgical assessment unit. The consultant I saw said that my diverticulitis had perforated, hence the blood loss. I was told that I would be operated on later that day and was visited by the stoma team. At this point it was thought that my stoma would be reversible. I eventually had my stoma surgery five days later. In the mean time I had to stay in hospital because I was on antibiotics and these were being administered via an IV drip.

When I woke up after the surgery I was confronted by a large scar and I was also in a lot of pain. Unfortunately, a few days after it was discovered that I had sepsis which only added to my woes.  The next couple of weeks were very difficult and while all this was going on I still had my stoma to come to terms with. I hated it and, to be honest, I’m still not a fan.

Ten months on and I have no problems caring for my stoma or living with it, I just hate the unpredictability. It ‘works’ when it wants… which normally seems to be when I am out having a meal or am with friends. I have also learned that a reversal isn’t possible. I am expecting to have skin graft later this year which should fix the remaining issues I have with the wound.

I can’t pretend that my journey to this point hasn’t been a difficult one. I am still coming to terms with the events of the last 12 months. I also miss eating some of the foods I loved in the past. But, I draw solace from the fact that my stoma saved my life and has resolved my previous symptoms. To help me with my journey I started a Facebook page called menwithstoma, I was prompted to do this because although there is a lot of support out there, men aren’t very good about talking about these things. My page is for guys that need to talk. I have been contacted by people from all over the globe. This has really helped my recovery. So much so in fact, that later this year I am going to be doing a parachute jump to raise money for the Colostomy Association. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Darren-Pote

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