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Year One with My J-Pouch: Part One

It has been nearly a year now that I've been living with a j-pouch, so I've decided to write a post (or two) about it. I can remember being afraid after my first surgery. I didn't want to see my intestine sticking out of my abdomen, but you know, when I finally saw it for the first time, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was in pain, but it wasn't the kind of pain I was used to. It didn't feel like my intestines were constantly burning. I felt free!
While the climb back to health has not been perfect and I have had some rather frustrating times, I am very glad that I had it done. My ostomy gave me my life back and that's a feeling like no other.

When it became time to consider the takedown surgery, I remember being very apprehensive. I had read so many complications that could happen. I wasn't sure if I could face more problems. After all, I could live with an ostomy.

During one of my routine checkups, my surgeon asked me the magic question: "Are you ready?" My first thought was NO! NO! I'm not. I got panicky. Surgery again? I hate surgery! I'd also read that the takedown can be the most difficult surgery because it brings back feelings of Ulcerative Colitis when you start using the bathroom again.

The truth of the matter was, however, that I was ready. I was ready to at least attempt life without an ostomy. Without worrying where the bathroom was. Free to get through this (hopefully) last surgery and on my way to recovery. We scheduled the scope and x-ray needed... post-op work.

The day before, I had to fast. Drinking plenty of fluids so as not to get dehydrated. The next morning I woke up early to change my bag and make sure it was clean and ready for the doctor to see it. I also had to give myself a tap water enema. There were two things I was NOT looking forward to. The scope, for which I would be awake, and the x-ray, for which I would have to get another enema... Great! I thought these things would be over by now. Nope!

I remember being very nervous when I got there the next morning. The nurses kept commenting on how young I was to have to go through all of that. I smiled weakly. All I wanted to do was get the scope and enema over with. Why did I have to be awake for all of that!? I kept hoping they'd give me something to calm my nerves... but nope.

So, they wheeled me back to have the scope done. I can't even describe to you how badly I didn't want to be there. Why won't they just knock me out!? So, it was time, and one of the nurses held my hand as my surgeon started the scope. He invited me to look at my pouch on the screen. He bragged about how great it looked and then showed me a staple that was used to form the j-pouch. It was very odd being able to see the inside of me. The worst part about it was that my surgeon wanted to make small talk and that it was a little painful... I found out later that this was probably because I had a fungal infection in my j-pouch (Not to worry! It was remedied with a few rounds of Diflucan!).

After the scope, they put me in a wheel chair, and after giving me a B12 shot (because I had shown to be deficient in a blood test earlier that week), they wheeled me off to be X-Rayed. I was also not looking forward to this because I had to get an enema. I can't remember what it was they filled me up with, but it was not Barium. They made it very clear. One day I will figure out what it was.

The x-ray was also really awesome to look at... and I saw my intestines jiggle around at one point when I laughed. After it was all said and done, I was informed that everything looked great and that they would soon be scheduling my takedown procedure. I will talk more about that experience next week. Until then, if you have ANY questions about having a j-pouch, feel free to message me on Facebook, Twitter or via email. You can also leave me a comment below.

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