Seeking Reassurance: Reversibility of Colostomy Bag after Car Crash

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KROS86
Apr 10, 2021 12:01 pm

Hi all, I am new to this site and I'm looking for advice and support. I was involved in a car crash 6 weeks ago and was rushed to hospital for surgery and woke up with a colostomy bag. This has shocked and scared the hell out of me, although the surgeon and doctors have said it's 100% reversible. But I have spent the last 6 weeks thinking about 'what if it's not reversible and I have this for the rest of my life'. I am not sure what I am expecting from putting this on here, but I'm scared and feel my life is in tatters. I am just looking for some positive news and feedback from anyone that I can cling to right now.

Thanks in advance.

w30bob
Apr 10, 2021 12:58 pm

Hi KROS86,

You, my man, are one lucky fellow!! And that's because one, you survived the accident, and two, because your ostomy is reversible! If I were you, I wouldn't focus on the worst-case scenario... I'd focus on the best-case scenario. And that's what your doctors have told you, that it's 100% reversible. 100 is a lot... it can't get any better than that... so focus on getting well enough to have it reversed and don't look back. Now, had they said 80 or 90... I'd be worried a bit, but they wouldn't have been so certain if they weren't sure about your condition. They normally err on the other side when they tell you about such things... so you're in good shape.

But to calm your fears anyway... a colostomy, in my humble opinion, is the best type of ostomy to have. The range runs from having the least bowel (i.e., me) to a colostomy, where you have the most bowel intact. Your quality of life, which is what you are concerned about, is directly related to how much bowel you have left. And that's because how much bowel you have is directly proportional to how normal your life will be with your ostomy. With a colostomy, they are literally just moving your asshole to your abdomen. Sounds bad, but in the grand scheme of things, a very livable situation. That's not to say there aren't issues that folks have to deal with, and I don't mean to trivialize a colostomy in any way, but things could be way, way worse. And there are different degrees of colostomy... meaning if any part of your colon is rerouted to your abdomen and not the full colon... then things start to get more complicated. But bottom line... the more functioning bowel you have intact... the better your quality of life will be. Others will chime in here to give you their opinion, and I can see where someone with a colostomy might think things are pretty bad... but unless they've walked in the shoes of someone with less bowel... I'd say they're being a little naive. Again, just my opinion. Think of it like gangrene. If it's just on the tip of your toe and they have to amputate... losing the tip of your toe ain't so bad. Let it progress a bit and have to lose a foot... that'll suck, but it could be much worse. Keep going and you have to lose your lower leg... starting to suck big time... your whole leg... your life is changed in a big way. An ostomy is the same way.

The good news is no matter what type of ostomy you have... you can adapt and keep soldiering on with life. It won't kill you. And as you get older, that's what you focus on... not the stuff that slows you down... the stuff that kills you! So rest assured, no matter what happens with your ostomy, you'll be fine. You'll make some new friends (on here and the other ostomy sites), and other than building your character a bit and helping you appreciate what's really important in life... you'll still be you and be able to live a long, healthy life just fine.

Many of us would give our left testicle (maybe both) to be in your shoes... so relax, do what your docs say... and get that reversal and forget all about ostomies and places like this. I'm betting you've already been humbled a bit by the experience, so it's already made you a better person! Best of luck to you and hopefully we won't be talking again!!!

;0)

Bob

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Puppyluv56
Apr 10, 2021 12:59 pm

Wow, I am sure that was a big shock! If your doctor said it was reversible, I am sure it is! You must have had some internal injuries that required surgery and now the ostomy is there to give it time to heal. Right? Ostomies are placed a lot for that reason. And.. if that turns out you have it a little longer than you would hope, there is a full life in store for you either way. Most of us have ostomies that are permanent and live a normal life. Most of us have them for life-saving reasons and grateful the option was available.
Yours may have been life-saving as well! It is not fun and if the opportunity for reversal was an option, I would jump on it. The first few weeks of dealing with it is overwhelming even knowing it was coming much less it being a total surprise! It is a head game of acceptance. Find the right products that work for you and wait it out! Embrace the ostomy as part of your healing process. We are all glad to answer any questions you may have. Many have been answered in previous conversations on the forum and blogs. I am sure you have been exploring those but please ask any questions you do not find the answer here.
Best of luck to you!

Puppyluv

Caz67
Apr 10, 2021 1:32 pm

Hi

I too have just been given the shock of having a stoma. I have also been told that there may be a small chance of getting it reversed. I have been looking up on different web pages of the success rate, which seems to be pretty good. Hope this helps a little. X just to add, my story goes something like this: I've been having stomach pain for a few days but put it down to constipation. On the 6th of December at 9pm, the pain was unbearable, so I called an ambulance, and that is the last I remember. Apparently, my large bowel had to be removed, and part of my rectum because it had become necrotic and died. I was in intensive care for 3 weeks after developing sepsis and 2 DVTs.

ron in mich
Apr 10, 2021 1:36 pm

Hi, I like others have said, you are lucky to have the reversal option. There are members on here that have gone through sickness and got ostomies that are reversible but decided not to, as the ostomy made their life better. As for me, I have an ileostomy for the last 35 years, and I'm glad I do as it gave me my life back instead of being sick with Crohn's disease and often in the hospital. So, continue to recover, get some walking in if you can, and ask any questions here as someone will come along and have an answer for you.

 
Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Play
Earth Angel
Apr 10, 2021 1:52 pm

KROS86,

Two of my family members had colostomies that were reversed with no issues whatsoever. Rest assured it is very common to reverse. I have advanced cancer and have a colostomy, and I would take the colostomy any day over having to live the rest of my life on chemo with cancer. I'm not trying to minimize any of your concerns at all but have learned, as many others here have, that you've got to count your blessings. There is always someone way worse off. We are all lucky in our own way. Hang in there and as Bob said - you'll become a better person after going through this. Best of luck to you! You'll do great!

KROS86
Apr 10, 2021 2:24 pm

Hi all, thank you all so much for your prompt responses to my post. It means so much to me and it has made me quite emotional.... After reading all your replies, I wonder if my initial post was submitted in haste, not thinking of the people who don't have the option of a reversal. I'm very sorry if it offended or upset anyone. It was not my intention. This is all very new to me.

I will take all of your comments on board and process them in due course. Bob, you are absolutely right. I need to look for the positives, and coming on here has definitely put things into perspective. I'm from the UK, and NHS waiting lists for this type of surgery could be up to 12-18 months, which is not something I am relishing. Going private will be considered (finances permitting).

I'm going to spend some time taking stock and getting myself better and reversal ready. I know it's only been 6 weeks since surgery, and patience is very much required.

I have spent the last 6 weeks in absolute turmoil, with things swirling around in my head. I think coming here and sharing was the best post-op therapy I could have wished for. This community is great, and thank you to you all. I really appreciate it.

Puppyluv56
Apr 10, 2021 2:31 pm

There is never offense taken here when you are voicing what is in your heart! We have all been right where you are at one time or another. Like I said, it is all a head game of acceptance and if it is a year, you have a lot to look forward to and it will pass so quickly.  
Pup

KROS86
Apr 10, 2021 2:40 pm

This is so lovely, thank you.....Trying to talk to friends or my girlfriend or work colleagues about this stuff is near impossible. All I get back is 'you will be fine in no time' or 'just slow down and be patient' without having the experience to give constructive advice on how to really deal with everything, especially my emotions which are all over the place. Thank you for taking the time to help me.  

Earth Angel
Apr 10, 2021 3:31 pm

I hope I didn't make you feel bad - that was not my intention. We are all here to support you and listen to you vent. It's all about perspective and attitude. It's so new for you, but honestly, it will make you strong. You are a warrior for surviving! You can do this!

KROS86
Apr 10, 2021 3:50 pm

Hey Earth Angel, thank you for your kind words. Sometimes I need to think before I speak or type in this instance....I have been scrolling through lots of posts on here looking for hope and inspiration and I have found it, I think. My girlfriend keeps telling me I overthink everything and everything is worst case scenario in my head when in reality I'm very fortunate and just being on here for a few hours has made me realize that. It was good to hear you had two family members that had successful colostomy reversals! Thank you again, miss.

lovely
Apr 10, 2021 5:21 pm

Hi KROS86, welcome aboard the site where you can get a lot of information. Glad you survived the wreck and that your colostomy is reversible. Like some of the others have said, we all have felt doom and gloom at some point. Feel free to post any problems you may have along the way. Things do get better as you go along. Best wishes and stay safe.

KROS86
Apr 10, 2021 6:51 pm

Hi all, thanks for all your support as this is my only thread and the people it has attracted definitely know what they are talking about. I would love your opinion on this... I have a big bulge under my stoma. When I walk, it feels like I have a stone or something in my tummy. It's a horrible feeling. I think I have a parastomal hernia, but I can be a hypochondriac haha. It sticks out a lot when I stand, but not when I am laying down. I am 6 weeks since surgery and am still very swollen. I had a Hartmann's procedure as well as hitting a tree head-on @ 40mph, so I'm hoping it's a combination of the stoma procedure and the trauma from the crash. I'm seeing the stoma nurse Tuesday to see what the deal is, but I would appreciate any advice on managing a para hernia up until reversal surgery. As an additional operation sandwiched between the stoma procedure and the reversal is not something I'm interested in, neither will my surgeon, and neither will my boss! So anyone who wants to help out a 35-year-old finance worker keep his job and his sanity, please feel free to leave a comment...

KROS86
Apr 10, 2021 9:03 pm

I think I understand what you are trying to say.... Thank you, Mister. God bless.

bowsprit
Apr 10, 2021 9:32 pm

I have a colostomy and wouldn't think twice about having it reversed if I was the right candidate for it. Unfortunately, after taking many expert opinions, I was advised against it. I can't have open heart surgery either and had to settle for stents. A result of the wicked life that I led! Some good advice for you here by some knowledgeable and experienced ostomates. My advice, for what it is worth, is to take a reversal if the doctor is assuring 100% success. Not much to hesitate with that sort of assurance. Wishing you all the best in whatever you decide to do.

KROS86
Apr 10, 2021 9:45 pm

I'm sorry to hear you cannot have a reversal, but I have my fingers crossed for your open heart surgery! Hey, the doctor's precise words were, and I quote, "Yes, your stomach is absolutely reversible," which is as close to 100% as can get, right? I have gone from having an incredibly active lifestyle, exercising 7 days a week, to absolutely nothing, and I just want to be able to work out again and do normal stuff without having the worry of all of this.  
All the best for the future.  

Puppyluv56
Apr 10, 2021 11:43 pm

KRO,

The advice from your support system is spot on. I know hearing from those that have walked in your shoes is a little more reassuring as well as more detailed. You are lucky to have those folks by your side. nbsp
Everyone handles this differently emotionally and all I can say to that is "It is what it is"! That is my motto with most things Ostomy related. After cancer 5 times, I feel like a superhero for beating the odds. Everyone going through an Ostomy, temporary or permanent, are truly superheroes to me! Please allow yourself to go through the emotions you are having. It even does us good to have a good ole pity party on occasion. Even the strongest of us still do! There is no shame in that. No non-Ostomate will ever understand what you actually go through mentally or physically! Just know it is normal. So have a good cry sometimes when you need the release and you will heal! nbsp
Please keep us posted on your recovery! We all really care! nbsp
Puppyluv

Past Member
Apr 11, 2021 3:40 am

The bulge could be any number of things. You're only a few weeks out from surgery and sometimes it can take months for everything to heal fully. I know it can be awful when you don't fully understand everything happening in your body, but try to be patient with yourself. As long as you're not experiencing new or worsening pain, bleeding, or fever, there's probably nothing super emergent that will need more surgery soon. Even if it is a hernia, you can go quite a long time without needing surgical intervention. You should of course ask your medical team about it--they will likely give you a list of symptoms or things to watch for so you'll know if there are big issues that need medical care. For almost everything else, we've all at some point had a new ostomy and had to figure it all out too, so feel free to come back and ask questions or for help whenever you need to!

Caz67
Apr 11, 2021 1:02 pm

It sounds like hernia, it is quite common. If you go on the NHS website, there is some good information about hernia and stoma. I too have developed a hernia. I have been given hernia support pants, lots to choose from. If your nurse doesn't give you the telephone number for them, give me a shout and I will send it to you. When they do the reverse surgery, they can sort the hernia at the same time. X

w30bob
Apr 11, 2021 4:36 pm

Hi KROS86,

Like Caz said, from your description, it does sound like a hernia, one symptom of which is when lying down it's not as prevalent. Either that or you're pregnant! It wouldn't hurt to assume you do have a hernia until you see the nurse on Tuesday. I'll tell you right up front that whenever they see a bulge or lump like you describe, they'll automatically assume it's a hernia.......and send you to a specialist for a scan. That's unless it's obvious something else like an abscess.........but you'd know if it was because you'd feel like crap with an infection like that and the area would be red and warm.

I'd suggest until Tuesday you wear a belt or tight underwear.......something that keeps pressure on that area, but nothing ridiculous. The thing about hernias is they're very manageable as long as they don't get worse. And because your surgery was so recent, and your incision is not fully healed, you don't want the hernia getting any worse. It won't be fun carrying your bowels in your hands as you walk into the doctor's office complaining your lump broke! Ok, just kidding..........that rarely happens.........but for a couple of days, I'd play it safe and not give it an opportunity to get worse. If your abdominal wall has been breached, the less there is to fix, the better, and your surgeon will thank you. Hey.......welcome to the wacky world of ostomies! Just another reason to get that reversal and get the hell out of here!!

Regards,

Bob

bowsprit
Apr 11, 2021 8:48 pm

Thank you, KROS86, for the good wishes. Like some others have said, that sounds like a hernia, a common occurrence but fairly easily removed. It can be treated at the same time as the reversal. I had colon surgery and a growth removed in the bladder at the same time, two different surgeons though. When one of them asked me about diabetes, I answered that is the only malady I haven't got and everybody had a good laugh about that. They say you must not wait too long for a reversal. Best wishes and good luck.

charleston_sunny
Apr 12, 2021 1:03 am

Hi KROS86,

I'm so sorry to hear about your accident...indeed I can understand your shock when you woke up with that crazy thing sticking out of your abdomen. Take one day at a time and just keep reminding yourself you need that time to heal. Take it from me, having a chunk of your intestine removed without properly letting it heal before reconnection can be disastrous. I ended up septic because the doc reconnected me instead of giving me a temp colostomy to help with healing. Now, I'm hanging out with it every day.

Best wishes to you!!

KROS86
Apr 12, 2021 6:03 pm

Hi all, thank you for your kind words. It's helping me come to terms with things slightly quicker and making me more grateful for things I do have. I had a chat with my nurse that changed my operation wound dressing this morning, and she said how fortunate I am. She mentioned that people who have had the injuries I sustained in the crash don't usually survive. That resulted in a small moment of clarity for which I am ever so grateful for.

I looked at my hospital discharge notes today as I need them for my personal injury insurance claim, which I hope covers the cost of my private operation. It said I had 20cm of my sigmoid colon resected. Upon further investigation, that is about 50% of the sigmoid colon removed. Hopefully, there is still plenty for them to 'play' with.

I am due to go back to work next week, albeit on a phased return. They are arranging for a desk to be delivered to my house, which I can also work from standing up. I have also mastered the art of showering without soaking my bag or my wound dressing, so definitely progress, not perfection!

Thanks to you all again for the advice I never would have had if it had not been for this forum. Today, I feel blessed. I hope I feel the same tomorrow.

w30bob
Apr 13, 2021 6:46 am

Yeah, that's because if you hang around and party with this crowd too long you'll never want to leave......and it's ostomates only on here.   So everybody........stop telling KROS86 how much fun having an ostomy is.....for his own good!!!

;0)

Bob

KROS86
Apr 14, 2021 11:49 am

Haha thanks Bob, I will cherish the time I have left on here (hopefully not too long). I had a look for UK-based forums similar to this one and there seems to be nothing like this available, which is a shame...

Lockdown number 3 has ended over here (for how long, God only knows). This means I can go back to the gym and do a bit of cardio. And when my support garments arrive, I can look at some low-weight exercises and get myself as fit and healthy and reversal op ready ASAP... 

P.S. The stoma nurse is very happy with my progress, and we have come to the agreement that I won't have any more face-to-face check-ups, just a phone call every 6-8 weeks. I can call them if I have any issues. I'm slowly reclaiming my independence and thus feeling more normal. 

I hope you guys are all good and are having the best of days...

Lily17
Apr 19, 2021 10:43 pm

Hi, Kros86

First, welcome - even if temporarily - to this site!

There's a world of wisdom from the membership here, and I'm glad you made your way to us. :)

Kros, you've already received so much great advice, and I would like to reiterate something that came to mind when I read your post: You have had a tremendous shock to body, mind, and spirit. Throughout your recovery, you will have good days, not-so-good days, bad days, and days that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. More than once.

But know this also: It's all right to feel the way you feel, any time that you feel it. There's no right or wrong in our emotions, only in how we deal with them. We're all human, and if we couldn't express our emotions, some of us would spontaneously combust!)

It is difficult trying to talk with a person who hasn't been through having an ostomy because they just...don't understand. (Even some GI doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel.) It can be difficult for us ostomates, and that's why websites like this exist, thank goodness.

So, whether you're experiencing a day of elation or a day that just sucks, drop in here and share your thoughts because there will always be someone who understands. Someone who can relate.

Congratulations on surviving the car accident, Kros. The road ahead of you is what you make of it. Buckle up!)

Lily17

KROS86
Apr 20, 2021 6:14 am

Good morning, Lily 17 (it's 07:05 here in England).

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. It means a lot to me! I am slowly (much slower than I would like) coming to terms with things and I'm getting back to how I used to be (not physically, obviously). Everyone says they would never know that I have a hole in my stomach with a bag attached just by looking at me, and I need to remember that sometimes. But that can be tough when I know and feel, etc!

I went back on a phased return to work yesterday, just 4 hours a day working from home, which will help me adjust in time, I'm sure! I had a return-to-work meeting with HR who wanted to know what happened that night. As I started telling, I broke down in tears. They gave me 5 minutes to compose myself and try again, which helped until I got to another traumatic part of the experience and broke down again. I think I may be suffering from PTSD, which is common for near-death experiences, I am told. I hope I can overcome this in due course.

One day, I will look back at everything and smile, I hope.....

I hope you are well.

KROS.

Lily17
Apr 20, 2021 6:43 pm


Good evening, KROS (it's after 7:30 p.m. in England)

As resilient as the body, mind, and spirit can be, it will still take time to fully recover from trauma. Actually, some people may never "fully recover," but may make positive progress with time.

If you delve into some of the posts on this site, you will see many of us are concerned with our new/changed/adjusted physical function(s), how we'll cope with a new lifestyle, if our relationships with others will change, what we can/cannot do, accomplish or enjoy, whether or not we can earn a living in the same vocation post-surgically, how we can camouflage our necessary external "gear"... Basically, how our lives will change. There are so many considerations.

I think this applies to almost all ostomates, whether temporary or permanent.

Change can be hard. Traumatic change, more so! Actually, "hard" is probably understating it. I don't believe you'd find a single ostomate who would say about their transition from pre-to current- or post-ostomate lives, "Hey! It was a breeze! My life hasn't changed a bit, and I'd recommend that EVERYONE have an ostomy!" (Okay, now maybe if someone were high or drunk they might... LOL)

Everyone, ostomate or not, we all have our histories and our stories, our memories of what was, and our hopes for what will be. In the middle of all that - happening in between all of that - is life. And, when change comes about, many of us do what we can to bend in our lives, so we don't break. We make adjustments, we lean on others who have been through the same or similar situations... We reach out.

KROS, you may, indeed, have PTSD. I can't imagine what you have been through over the last 6 weeks, but I have experienced my own trauma and grief. How you deal with your experience may affect how you live the rest of your life.

Please consider professional therapy through a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. If you are experiencing PTSD or another physio-emotional response, a professional is equipped with tools to help you deal positively with your trauma and to move forward in as healthy a way as possible.

Also, please remember to be gracious with yourself during this healing process - on all levels. It may be the greatest gift that you give to yourself.

Let us know how you are, as often as you are able. :)

Lily17

KROS86
Apr 20, 2021 6:56 pm

Hey Lily, thanks again for your advice and kind words! I will take everything on board. For sure, you sound like you know what you are talking about, and I find it very refreshing! 

I broke up with my girlfriend over the weekend, but I feel it was for the best, you know! 

Anyhow, if you would like to private message me, please do, and we can chat from there. I feel I can really talk with you about anything. 

Thanks. 

KROS

123amytan123
Feb 13, 2022 4:13 am

Can't send message because I don't have full access. So you will have to message me!