As happened when I had my first ileostomy, I’m starting to run into some problems, and sadly they’re getting progressively more intrusive.
The first issue to raise it’s head was the classic problem of the ileostomy herniating. Because of the way a loop ileostomy is formed, there is quite a large hole made in the abdomen. This forms a real weak point, with the result that about 50% of them herniate. I managed to draw that short straw, though not as badly as it could have been.
Unfortunately, other than wearing a (very uncomfortable) corset-like arrangement, there’s nothing to be done about it until the ileostomy gets taken down. So for now I have to just live with it. The end result is I have gained a rather lop-sided pot-belly, and it gets distinctly uncomfortable from late afternoon onwards.
Next up were the chemical burns. These form because of the high levels of enzymes present in the small intestine. Normally these get neutralised by the time they’ve worked through the large intestine, but of course in my case, that’s bypassed. The result is whenever I cut the hole in the flange of the bag a little bit too big, my skin gets exposed to my bowel contents, and gets burned. There are some barrier creams to help prevent this, but they tend to stop the bags sticking too, which leads to an interesting dilemma. Given the issues I’ve had with the bags coming loose anyway, I’ve tended to avoid using the barrier creams. But my skin is now very painful. Again, there’s no magic solution to this beyond more very careful cutting, and the judicious use of barrier creams.
And finally, I’ve got some physical trauma to the actual stoma itself. This has been mostly caused by my cutting the hole in the flange of the bags too small, allowing the flange to cut into the stoma. But I’ve also bashed the stoma on furniture from time to time too. It all takes it’s toll. The result is that they stoma (which is really a protruding bit of my small intestine) is now quite battered.
And that means that occasionally it will start bleeding – a lot. The small intestine is very well supplied with blood, to help you digest food. But it also means you can let quite a lot out, quite quickly. Scariest so far was managing to fill a couple of bags with bright scarlet blood in about 30 minutes on a Sunday afternoon. Not funny.
But a good reminder to take more care of myself.