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Coming up on 2 years...

Posted by jghandymann, on Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:17 pm
I'm still here. I had a total colonectomy in Feb of 2010 because ibuprofin burnt several holes in my colon. They had reconstructed my colon and I was told that I would be hooked back up in a couple of months. We'll all the fistulas and infections almost killed me. I was septic on two different occasions in the first 6 months. I went from 225lbs to 149 lbs in 3 weeks. I had 9 drainage tubes coming from my body for the first 3 months after surgery. Then 1 tube in my rear end cheek for 2 more months past that. I didn't count the 2 vacuum tubes coming from my stomach that were in for the 1st month. I spent 8 months total in the hospital in 2010. I also had 30 different surgeons from Feb 2010 to aug 2010. I was in a VA training hospital. If it could have gone wrong it did. The first 3 weeks after surgery I was completely out of it. I could not tell you what happened. My wife tells me things a litttle at a time. I was gutted in a hospital bed(a week after the first surgery) from hip to hip after because the surgeons determined if they did not cut me immediately I would have died. There was green puss everywhere and then I was rushed to my second surgery. I felt horrible for a year. Not to include all the infections from the appliance around my stoma.
   There is a light though!
        In August of 2010 I met surgeon who completely took over my care. Noone was to touch me or test anything without her permission. I can't say her name but she was from Saude and my Guardian Angel. She had to perform a couple of minor surgeries from August 2010 to Feb 2011. In Feb.2011 she removed the reconstructed colon and literally hosed out my insides. I am now a permanent illeoscomy person.
    Here's where I am as of today.
          My stoma no longer has sores all around it and it sticks out about an inch and a half. I weigh 195 lbs and have a nice color to my skin. I have no infections nor fevers. I'm active and have actually came to terms with the bag. I like having it over needing to sit in public bathrooms. I go places I couldn't go before because of that reason. I enjoy more foods now that I couldn't eat before. I smile more. The kids like the fact I don't fart anymore. Was I through some crap over the past 2 years? Yes. Am I alive and happy? More than ever. The only thing is I tire real quick. Am I going to live longer and healthier now? Yes, but they also have to close all the McDonalds. I'm addicted to Big Macs. It does get better after all. I was so scared and begged God to take my life at one point but he said no! I'm glad I'm here and when your at your lowest through all of this remember "It will get better". Good luck to all who are going through the pain right now. I wish you the best and I'm here for any ideas or just to be a person to be a pen pal.
Reply by three, on Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:51 pm
What an interesting story — thanks for sharing it!
Reply by Pinky, on Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:52 pm
Well done, jghandyman!  I peeked at your photos and you are looking very good!  I hope you continue to recover and enjoy those Big Macs.  I'm at about 2 and a half years with my colostomy and YES things do get better.  Best of success to you in your recovery.      Smile
Reply by supernan, on Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:07 am
Such a joy to hear such a positive story come out at the end of all that. Thankyou so much for letting us hear about it.
Reply by mooza, on Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:12 am
OH wow thanks for your story mate be ptoud you made it i understand but if i had a button not sure if i would of pressed it you are my new hero xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:29 pm
Good for you !!! Inspiration just keeps pouring out of our "OSTOMY BROTHERS AND SISTERS"..............Wow.....Success stories do more than just lift our spirits, they give us hope and sometimes  allow us to dream and consider the possibilities of a future,  limited ONLY by our imaginations !!!!! That's a gift indeed.......Continued Great Health and Very Nice to Meet You.........BEG
Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:30 am
Hi: Thanks so much for sharing. I am having a lot of issues myself - or so I thought until I read your journey. May God bless you and keep you all the days of your long life. Thanks.
Reply by jghandymann, on Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:28 pm
Hi Painmed, I will tell you I wanted to die at one point and I almost did. It will get better. Sometimes we find ourselves with more than we can handle but we have no choice but to handle it. I was scared and in allot of pain and thinking how am I going to live the rest of my life this way. My God what did I do to deserve this? That question still hasn't been answered. I read your profile and found your going through allot of what I went through. That damn bag was the worse. I had a hard time getting it to stick for months until I realized I (and the nurses) were using remover to attach my appliance. The packaging was the same. And the smell! I threw up a few times when I changed my bag at first. I now set everthing up on the sink. I cut my appliance opening. I change my appliance every 4 or 5 days unless it starts seeping. I take my showers at 10 or 11 am on mornings when I don't have breakfast. I remove my appliance in the shower and let the water beat on the wound. It cleared up all my rashes and sores. After, spray it with a antiseptic before I dry off. I get out of the shower go to the sink and put on my appliance. I use a blow dryer to keep things dry and to dry the adhesive spray. I apply it, dry it, apply it, dry it and then stick on my appliance. Sometimes I do get sore and I use the paste applies directly to my skin around the stoma. I also use powder from time to time. The hardest part of all of this was acceptance. Other than being tired all the time my life has gotten better. Good Luck. I hope to hear from you in a year.
Reply by LadyHope, on Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:16 pm

This is an excellent post - I am not certain how I came across it.  The writing really tells a story of determination and strong will.  We are survivors and although this life is different, we can manage it with some adjustments.  Not perfect but what really is?  Thank you for the lift.  Take care.  LH

Reply by Mrs.A, on Sat Jan 30, 2016 1:23 am

Wow, this post was written in 2011, it is now 2016 so almost 5 years now and still sounding good. Hope today jghandyman is doing even better as his words have been left to inspire all who read them.

Reply by jghandymann, on Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:42 pm

A lot has happened in the past few years.. 8 surgeries later from all the damage from Pgh Va.. I'm doing ok and am still alive but why, who knows... I now have a 7 inch ileostomy hanging out of me that's about 2 inches across.. I'm not saying what it would rmind you of but you have a picture.. I did a little work last August as an extra in the TV series the Outsiders.. It was an experiance but once was fine with me.. Working on bucket list stuff and enjoying life.. But I am doing better than I was 5 years ago..

Reply by LadyHope, on Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:57 pm

Hi jghandymann, Thank you so much for the update and the post.  Sometimes, people sign up for the website and post some really great information and never return.  It is a cliff hanger for me.   I often wonder how are things going...etc.  Since we use pen names, it is almost impossible to contact anyone. Welcome back!  It sounds like things are much improved and am glad to hear it.  Your journey is inspirational.  I really liked how you reiterated, things will get better.  Those are very powerful words.  Those are the same words that were said to me when I was at my lowest.  Hope for tomorrow.  Wow...and you had an additional 8 surgeries from the one that you posted about in 2011. Thank you again for touching base with the site.  It is good to know that everything is going well.  PS - Pittsburgh is a nice city with many bridges that confuse me:)  I have been there several times.  Take care.  Sincerely, LH

Reply by jghandymann, on Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:03 pm

I'm actually having one of the best days I've had in years.. I have been able to stay up all day and was out working in the yard today.. Life is funny. When you get knocked down for years you learn to appreciate things all the more.. The one thing I've done since the beginning is everyday do something constructive.. It might not be much but it tells you how you feel... People tell me I do more then them all the time and where do I get the energy,, I tell them "You should have seen me before I got sick!" Lol What takes me a week or two I would do in a day.. As long as I can get out of bed I'm happy.. Life is to short.. How long has it been for you LH? Just so you know my initial cause of all this is from Ibuprofin.. It burnt holes in my colon.. In a week of taking it.. Alergic reaction that the VA knew about..


Reply by LadyHope, on Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:40 pm

It is good to read that you are doing so well.  Your post is very inspirational.  I can't believe that all of your medical problems began because of ibuprofin and an allergic reaction.  I never heard of that type of reaction.  How awful and you were probably taking the medicine because of some sort of pain to start. Medicine is a necessary evil that may cause other issues.  Side effects scare me to death.  I had so many while I was ill.  It seemed everything prescribed to help me caused me grief.  It has been three years for me.  My story is that I ate a spoiled hamburger at a picnic and had food poisoning and resolved and then was out with clients and partially ate another bad (under cooked) hamburger.  I was sick again and never resolved. Both events happened about two weeks apart.  From that point, my entire system was out of whack and before I knew what was happening UC started.  It was dreadful.  I lost my battle with UC, nothing worked and nothing helped.  I tried everything.  I went from healthy as a horse (LOL) to surgery in a short time...less than one year.  I am happy and grateful that I have this second chance.  Good health is something so many take for granted....not me anymore.  I am thankful each morning when I wake up and get on with my day.  Thank you God for the gift of life.  Anyway, my ileostomy is permanent so here I am taking it one day at a time.  Thanks again for posting.  Talk to you soon.  LH BTW....yes I still eat hamburgers from time to time but today they are well done.  

Reply by jghandymann, on Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:32 pm

You asked about other problems with pain.. I had an incident in the service in 1983. I broke my leg, shoulder in two places, broken jaw, concussion, whiplash and was dead twice.. I was on Vicodin for years.. I never took many and I never abused it.. I was getting 60 tabs a year and that was it. I'd only take it when the pain became extreme.. Well when I went in for a refill the doctor told me that the VA doesn't want to prescribe Vicodin no more and put on 800mg Ibuprofin.. I told him I can't take any Nsaids.. He said take one a day.. It was Monday. by Wednesday I was feeling great.. Thursday I noticed some spotting and when I woke up Friday the bed was bloody and I went to the bathroom and filled the toilet.. My wife rushed me to the hospital where the took me back for emergency surgery.. I thank God that the surgeon scoped me firdt and stopped the bleeding.. That was in 2008. I went through every known thing to repair my colon chemically.. It didn't work and then the VA talked me into getting surgery that I would go through two sugeries and be as good as new. I had no idea.. I'm a contractor who had to quit working and retire because of this.. I wanted fixed.. 2010 they opened me up and I don't remember much but bits and pieces for 8 months.. The rest is already out... I really don't mind it except for being tired and I get the sores.. I hate that lit cigarette feeling on my belly.. But still smilling! Lol I'm going to bed and I hope alls well for you.. Good luck.


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