Health

It’s been a long time since I last posted about how I was getting on. It feels like an “old” topic, and as there hasn’t been much change, one that I’ve nothing very interesting to write about. But, I notice with some frustration that it’s been very nearly a year since my colostomy operation, and I still have a series of difficulties with it. So I thought I’d post about my current status, and hope you forgive me if it sounds like I’m just moaning.

So firstly, my colostomy hasn’t really settled down into the sort of natural rhythm that the medical professions like to describe, where it operates once or maybe twice a day at fairly set times. Mine seems fairly erratic, which means being prepared to change my bag wherever I go. I suspect that this is at least partly down to the rather erratic schedule of my life, but doing any form of physical activity usually provokes it too, which makes doing regular exercise frustratingly difficult. As a result, I’ve also put on quite a lot of weight over the last 6 months, which I’m finding quite depressing too.

To try to overcome this, I’ve learned how to irrigate my colostomy, which is essentially a self-administered enema. The idea is that if I do this every two to three days then there is not enough waste in the colon between irrigations to cause problems with my daily life. The good news is that the technique works really well. The less good news is that rather than two to three days between irrigations, I only get about 20 hours. The actual irrigation process takes about an hour, and needs me to be relaxed. So I if I can find a relaxing hour, every day, I could use this approach to effectively manage my colostomy. The problem, of course, is who has a spare hour every day? Certainly not me, with my erratic schedule…

More worryingly my perineal wound (where my anus was removed) still hasn’t healed, and still weeps a significant amount of (what I assume to be) interstitial fluid, which means I need to dress (and change) the wound several times a day. It’s not very comfortable either, especially in this warm weather. Sadly, the healing problems I’m experiencing are again probably rooted in the preoperative radiation therapy that I had back in 2009. I sometimes wonder how things might have turned out if I had chosen not to have that radiation therapy: I might never have needed my colostomy. Or my perineal wound might be healed. Or I might be dead. Hmmm.

Of course, such deliberations are ultimately pointless, and instead I’m planning to discuss with my surgeon what options are open to me now to improve the wound when I next see him (in September).

On the urological front, the problem I was experiencing with my left kidney appears to have stabilised; the function won’t get any better, but it’s not getting any worse either. In short, the reimplantation of my left ureter seems to have been a complete success. I experienced a series of urological infections in the first few months after the operation, but six months on a low-grade antibiotic seems to have resolved that. I’ve been off the antibiotics for about five weeks now, and there have been no signs of any recurrence. Hopefully I won’t need to worry any more about my kidneys.

Meanwhile, time marches on, and on August the 11th I have another appointment with the CT Scanner to check to see if there is any sign of recurring cancer. I suspect that this may well be the last of those regular checks, and that I will be largely discharged from the cancer side of things after that, with the doctors concentrating on my perineal wound from now on. But I’m sure I’ll find out more when I next see my surgeon.

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