I have so much to share about my personal experience and it begins here. I've been home from the hospital for 3 weeks and am still wrapping my head around exactly what happened. I have increasingly had food tolerances over the last 20 years or so. I've never been diagnosed with any digestive disorder or any food allergy. I've always had issues with regularity/constipation but never to the point where I was noticably uncomfortable or concerned . I had a clear colonscopy a few years ago, as well as a hysterectomy due to a large uterine fibroid, and an abdominal hernia at 40 from too much physical work. Before all of this I had 2 natural at home births without incident. I'm a very physically active person with 3 horses at home, a certfied Barre instructor and yoga pracitioner. Who knows how this whole thing would have turned out if my mind and body were not in a healthy place going into this. It all started after I had some dental work done that required me to take antibiotics. The first round I discovered contained lactose, I tried to counteract with Lactase and it probably didn't help. I haven't had antibiotics in decades. A week after my last dose I felt my large intestine was inflamed and painful. I tried to dial it in with a lot of prebiotic food, saurkraut, coconut yogurt, pure cranberry juice. My diet was already really healthy, I'm not a vegan but avoid all preservatives and processed food. Off the list were, dairy, soy, legumes, pork, pineapple, stone fruits and cruciferous veggies. I managed to stabilize and told my dentist what had happened. 6 weeks later, dental surgery, more anitbiotics, different kind. This is where it all went sideways. I stared feeling not so great mid Novenber, at a company party I took a lactase pill thinking I could tolerate some of the food that I normally can't. I also inadvertenly ate a couple of bites of sausage (in the stuffing) and mac and cheese with processed pasta. I'm not gluten intolerant but it needs to be without additives. Fast forward, after Thanksgiving my belly was as if I was about to give birth. Went to urgent care, sent me home to take Miralax, lab tests showed I had no healthy gut bacteria at all. This didn't work, 5 days later I went to the ED. Took an xray, my intestines, everything was severely impacted. Sent me home to do colonoscopy prep. I drank the 64 oz. liquid etc..which made me feel like I was going to literally pop. I drove myself to the ED the next morning and waiting for 7 hours in pain before they took me in. Again, tried to give me things to drink until I started throwing up bile. Took an MRI and whisked me off to the OR, tried to do a colonoscopy where I aspirated and developed pneumonia, was intubated and the GI doctor was replaced with the surgeon that saved my life. She discovered that my large intestine was perforated and leaking and ended up removing that whole thing as well as my gall bladder and appendix. I was in a coma for 3 days and my husband had to make the decision for them to perform the ileostomy. I was in the hospital for 12 days. I also had 30 staples from my sternum to my pubic bone. It's been lot of work every step of the way that's for sure. My whole life has been forever affected. I can tell you from the minute I was conscious and aware of what had actually happened I could only be postive because I had survived. The feeling of being able to be alive is what matters. Having friends, family and associates that care about you is what matters. It's amazing how an event like this can make you stronger, healthier and mindful about every moment. My daughter came to see from across the country and I can't even begin to tell you how much that meant. She was with me for my first visit out of the house and I drove. This was 3 days ago. I started to feel like myself again. We went out again the next day but I'll be honest, I'm tired today. I don't want to overdo it and my body tells me when to slow down. I've been increasing my walking because I know that will help. My diet has been deliberate, of course. I just switched up my previous vitamins to liquid versions as per my primary care. She is an integrative practitioner which iimportant to me as I tend to follow a holistic approach to my life. I'm curious to see if I can tolerate some of the foods I previously couldn't. I'm looking into getting some bone broth protein to meet those protein requirements. I have been eating eggs,salmon, turkey, beef, almond butter and hydrating with coconut water, I love to cook so I'm finding some great solutions to meals and am still able to incorporate a lot of what I previously made. I'm happy to share any meal ideas for anyone who might have some of the same intolerances. Movement is important to me and crucial for the best healing. I've been doing some very light stretching and being mindfull about my posture. I've also been using a heating pad on both my belly and my back when they are feeling achy. I'm still learning about all of the products out there but feel like I'm dialing it in. I'm not thrilled with the big wafer and so much tape. My goal is to finally get to the size my stoma will be and use a one piece pouch with as little excess tape, etc... I did have some broken skin below my stoma, I tried the CeraRing and it took me forever to get the adhesive off. Not a fan personally. I try to take a shower with my pouch change to give my skin a break and some air. I try to leave it off for as long as possible. Lastly, be brave. Be you!! I'm finding that I can wear all of the same clothing as I did before. Get creative. I can tuck my pouch into underwear, tights or my waistband. It's not even noticeable that I have had one. I am looking forward to trying some of the products that people make for when I wear fitted skirts or dresses. There are some great ones on Etsy. I also have started following some amazing inspriational people on Instagram. There is a whole community of us out there. I'm a little surprised at how little current info/support there is in the US, seems to be more in the UK and Europe. Expand your horizons! Thanks for reading this. I will be posting more and hope to be sharing my story and experience on different platforms. I feel its important for anyone interested in digestive health whether it be for themselves or for a loved one that we help educate people from our own experiences. The medical industry and doctors are specifically trained. I have had to advocade for myself every step of the way in this journey, before, during and after my surgery. Speak up and ask questions. More on this topic later. Thanks for reading, I hope you found this helpful and please don't hesitate to ask me any questions.
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