Six Months Post-Surgery: Smiling Through Ups and Downs

Nov 05, 2016 6:29 am

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My smile says it all. I'm super happy to be here.

Hi everyone :)

It has been six months since I had my original colostomy surgery due to diverticulitis, perforated bowel, and septicemia. Life is good and I'm really doing OK. I have had my ups and downs with this colostomy that I have named Donald Trump – I think I may have a small hernia, but I'm not really sure. I have to see my surgeon in regards to that. Unfortunately, I've gained back a lot of the weight I lost originally – and that's because my appetite came back. I'm still trying to figure out the kinds of foods that I can eat safely that don't cause me any problems, that are low carb, and helpful for weight loss. My bowels like things like Cheerios, mashed potatoes and gravy, crackers – you know, stuff that's easy to digest but high in calories, but we are still figuring it out.

I'm slated for the reversal surgery as soon as I can lose 100 pounds – I really need to be at about 199 pounds, and that will make me feel more confident. I'm smiling more these days – working through a little bit of depression, which they say is normal – but very thankful and happy to be alive.

I just wanted to let you know that I read stuff. I'm much more of a lurker, but I want to thank you all for helping me during such a scary, scary time. I will be back, I'm sure, as I am terrified of having another large surgery – and really worried about this hernia, but I will figure it out.

Nov 05, 2016 9:21 am

Hello pnwgirl1963.

Thank you so much for your post as it is good to hear from a 'lurker' every now and then. ( I prefer to think of the readers as 'learners')

Anyway, I think your smile is wonderful and says it all.

Keep smiling

Best wishes


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Nov 06, 2016 11:56 am

Hi pnwgirl1963!

Just wanted to say hi and that I'm happy for you. It is rough coming back from such a big ordeal. But you have come out the other side and as you say, life is good! It's easy to get frustrated and feel bad about yourself, I know I've been there and still have those days!

As for the weight, you can do it!! I know it's hard. I was so excited recently when I got down to 199. Just seeing the "1" as the first digit in my weight was so cool! And it really helped mentally and physically.

Hang in there and take it one meal at a time. You will figure out over time what foods work for you. Try "new foods" slowly, take in just a little bit of one and see how you feel and how Donald Trump reacts. Just don't try too many foods too fast. Give your body time to work with each new food and decide what it likes and what it doesn't like.

Keep getting better! You are not alone!

Nov 07, 2016 12:34 am

Hey Pnwgirl,

Welcome back, so good to hear you are doing well.

May I suggest you keep a food diary of what you eat and how your output is the following day. It was a blessing to me when I first started my journey. I still prefer 4 smaller meals per day than 3, it helps keep hunger at bay and makes it easier to not snack in between. Don't forget if you drink 8 ounces of water before each meal, it will fill you quicker and you won't be so hungry.

Nov 08, 2016 8:25 pm

Due to a rare cancer, I have lost my sacrum, rectum, and nerve bundle. I have a colostomy, a neurogenic bladder (it simply flows), rectus abdominis damage, glute damage, etc. The least of my problems is the colostomy. The biggest is a GIGANTIC parastomal hernia. Has anyone had complete abdominal reconstruction? I hear it is brutal and difficult to recover from.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
Nov 08, 2016 9:00 pm

Hi there and congrats!

My doc told me 12 months and 20 lbs before reversal and she seemed mean about it but I think she got tired of me whining about all my problems and decided to apply the weight I was before my emergency and then said 15 was close enough to 20! I am a heck of a whiner, right?

Then she pawned me off to another doc who does laparoscopic surgery. The new one is not near as mean and scary. (Do they take a course that teaches arrogance? Oops! Did I say that out loud!?)

I am 6 months post-reversal surgery and I'm waiting for hernia surgery. This weekend it started hurting, sometimes a lot, and I don't have any guidelines of how to eat or what to watch for or anything.

I'm dreading passing a stool through there because I can really feel it when I lay down. I'm imagining that I'll be able to see it passing like an alien in my stomach while I writhe in pain.

No, I don't have a vivid imagination. I just get freaked out about some things.

I've been reading that hernias are common for us ostomates and that chances are good we'll have more hernia operations in the future. Lord, I hope not, but that's my clue to stop looking it up on the internet.

But best of luck to you. I'm enjoying your smile so much I'm going to post my post-reversal smile!


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Nov 10, 2016 2:08 am

Hi, I have been through similar surgeries, twice reversals, and then the final gutting of all of the rectum. I have a permanent bag from now on. It left me with several hernias that seemed to get bigger as time went on. I recently had hernia surgery where they put the mesh across my entire abdominal section and worked it around my stoma. The surgery has gone as well as it could and has stopped the god-awful hernia that was projecting out of my stomach like a third arm. Thank God something went right, huh? Anyway, God bless you and wish you well in your further healing. Hang in there and say lots of prayers, but at the end of the day, I think everyone's is different and some easier than others, but none of them are a walk in the park. Good luck


Nov 10, 2016 2:31 am

I am just 5 months from my surgery and at times I think I have a hernia because it's like a mound but I don't really know if that's bad. Still trying to figure out foods myself, I don't need to lose any weight but I am not a model eater either. I'm trying to figure out the best supplies and every time I try to talk to my supply co. they don't really know the products. I am using the Hollister 3803 drainable bag which has a smaller flange than the other one but still not thrilled with the Tupperware plastic disc digging in my gut when I sit upright. Coloplast is supposed to send me some samples. Any other recommendations? I don't talk often either but I find everybody's share humbling and helpful. Thanks

Nov 10, 2016 11:14 pm

Yay! And love the pic :)

Nov 27, 2016 10:51 pm

Hi pwngirl,

Just want to tell you it's been a week since my laparoscopic hernia repair and it's true that the surgery was not too bad at all. I am sore but it's such a relief that I have no wound care to worry about. The three little sites are covered with a clear "glue" my dr called it and I was able to shower the next day.

Actually the hernia has taken away all my observations about the reversal. From both operations, which probably means from having my bowels and organs shifted around, I feel uncomfortable when my bowels or bladder gets full. After I empty them it is almost painful because it feels like it's loose and shifty in there. I'm then in enough pain to take pain medications again sometimes, not always and I'm only taking them as needed instead of regular prescribed doses.

And as it should be since I'm recovering from surgery, I have to pace myself and take serious breaks from chores or other activities.

I'm a little bummed that my recovery extends through the holidays but that's just silly. I'm lucky to be having another holiday and shows how spoiled I must be.

Besides that, I will listen to my body and if I'm feeling okay I will do what I like.

Good luck, Charlotte

Nov 28, 2016 2:36 am

Hi Charlotte,

Sounds like you're doing okay. That's great. Recovery takes time as you know, keep listening to your body and you'll do well. Enjoy the holidays with friends and family, and let time heal you.



Nov 28, 2016 10:43 am

Thank you Alice, as always you are so kind and thoughtful. I've already started pushing it. The holidays do that, don't they?

I will make a big sign that says, "You are in recovery! Forget about it!" Maybe that will help. I could probably sell variations of the theme.

It's good hearing from you,


Dec 05, 2016 3:36 am

Now Charlotte,

Please don't push yourself too hard, take lots of breaks. Recovery will be over before you know it and then there will be no stopping you from living a full and active life.

I'm sure you know what you're doing.

It's nice to hear from you too!

Best wishes

Dec 30, 2016 4:45 pm

Hi Alice,

Here it is almost New Year's and I have to admit I overdid it again. I stayed in bed all day Christmas Day feeling lousy. My kids were coming to exchange gifts but we put it off for a day for one of them and the other 2 I'm still waiting for.

I like to do stockings for them all but I just threw their gifts in plastic bags that I'm still adding to if I get around to making them stuff I planned.

I'm walking around looking at the awful mess I have to put away even though I didn't really decorate.

I did take your advice and rest often and I thought I was doing well but there is no such thing.

The moral of this story is that I don't care! I made it to the big event on Christmas Eve and I'm fine with that! And the joy for me is in giving the gifts so I can wait a while for that. Also, it's nobody but me to be concerned about the putting away and if somebody does care they are welcome to it.

I always have a problem starting early enough because here in California we can wear short sleeves up until December 15th and sometimes longer with these strange weather patterns. If not for that, I might be stark raving mad from TOO MUCH CHRISTMAS I'm afraid.

I hope you had a good one. I'm now making plans to have the grandchildren here tomorrow night to beat some pans at midnight.

Happy New Year to you, God bless and guide you in the New Year!

Dec 30, 2016 4:51 pm

Sorry, I made my famous typos that I can't fix. This time I somehow inserted a grocery list in the heart of my post. I think you will get the gist of my message.

When you make your New Year's resolutions, be sure to give yourself credit for what you accomplished this year! I call it New Year's Affirmations!

Dec 31, 2016 1:47 am

Hi CharK,

So nice to hear from you. It has been a busy holiday season. I know you are going to enjoy hitting those pots and pans with the grands! Grands are wonderful, they remind me of the days when we were raising our little ones and trying not to make the same mistakes with them.

Don't worry about any typos, we all have them. Your message read just perfectly. I'm glad to hear you did a lot of resting and I know that "the day" has come and gone but I believe everyday we can find Christmas when we find the joy of Jesus in our lives.

New Year's resolutions hahaha, way past doing that here, I just try to make a resolution at the beginning of each day. It seems easier and more realistic if I take it one day at a time.

Best wishes for a wonderful, happy and healthy 2017 to you and your loved ones.


Jan 02, 2017 5:29 am

Hi Mrs. A,

Charlotte here to tell you it's been fun but I sure am glad it's over! I sent the little tyke home earlier and now I'm going to kick myself in the ass for not listening to your advice and acting so cocky about it!

It's time to settle down, dig in and relax for a good long while. I'm almost worn down to the bone enough to affect my mental state and begin to feel depressed.

Going to get a grip on those emotions here and now because as I'm so fond of saying: attitude is everything.

Happy New Year!


Jan 03, 2017 2:16 am

Happy New Year, Charlotte!

Nov 27, 2017 9:31 pm

Have you tried a one-piece bag? I have a rather recessed stoma (1 month post-op) and have to use a convex piece. Instead of using the two-piece, I decided to try the one-piece and it's much better for me. Look up the Hollister 8958. Just make sure you order the right size, this one's really small. I also like it because it has the Velcro closure instead of the clip. Good luck!


Jan 19, 2018 9:37 pm


Firstly, can I just say OMG. I too, like yourself, have gone through exactly what you have, and I actually can't believe that there is someone else that knows and understands what I went through. I have now had my reversal (6 months now), and my health is almost back to normal. I hope you are keeping well.


Feb 05, 2021 6:50 pm

If it helps, my surgeon told me the reversal is a quick thing, at least for the ileostomy. I have a two-day stay in the hospital with a few incisions put back together and placed inside. I think I read a 3-week recovery over the 8-week plus one for mine. I hope that helps. I am going to have to wait as they found 5 of the 14 nodes with cancer, ugh. So I have to now heal and then go through chemo and radiation for a short time and then after that get a reversal done instead of just healing from the ileostomy and then going back for reversal.