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Successful ostomy reversal

Posted by hockeymom5331, on Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:30 am
I am almost 3 weeks since reversal date and all has gone well.  Haven't needed pain meds for 3 days now and am sleeping on my sides again so all that is big progress for me.  The large gaping hole where my stoma was is closing up more each day.  I have times where I am running to the bathroom to get there on time, but not always.  I mostly feel in control but am comforted by being able to have a restroom nearby available.  There are days I go several times a day and others twice.  No loose bms. My hemorrhoid friends are back occasionally and if there is one plus to a colostomy it is not having those pia things around.  After major complications with my first surgery I was very scared going into this one, but I found a new surgeon and hospital with this surgeon being a colorectal specialist, which I highly recommend.
I have recently started to go on short shopping trips and outings again too so I really feel I am getting my life back.  Can't wait for the hole in my tummy to close completely and forthe first time in almost a year be with hubby with nothing but the real me in my frontal areas!  

Wanted to share the success to give hope to others as I think too many folks get rid of the bag and don't bother posting as it is a time that I'd like to forget, but we need to hear success and not forget those who need the hope and support of those who have been there.  
Need to look into donating my supplies locally now!  
Reply by Mrs.A, on Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:03 pm
Congratulations Leanne and thanks for sharing your successful story. It is good to know what life is like when anyone goes through such a change. Keep posting as you heal and let us celebrate with you!
Reply by 48 and losing it, on Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:01 pm
Hi Leanne, congrats on the reversal. I'm about 9 weeks since my reversal and my hole where my stoma once was is completely healed over. It's really very amazing. I never thought I would ever be rid of my bag. But thank G-D I am. Yes for the first time in over four years I was able to make love to my husband with out feeling embarrassed about my bag. My husband has been my best friend for over 25 years and my life partner and husband for 17. It was me that had a problem not him! I even ate a salad for lunch today how amazing is that! Ok so I still have to run to the bathroom 10 times a day but ill deal with that if the trade off is being bag free! Take care, Barb
Reply by vikinga, on Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:21 pm
You are so right! We do need to here about the happy "endings" Smile). I am facing the evaluation soon by my surgeon to see if it is a good idea.Congrats on yours!!
Reply by DuckyChick, on Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:21 am
Thank you for sharing your positive stoy! I'm still deciding deciding whether I want to go through the pain and hassle of a resection, and allI seem to read are nightmare stories. I'm so glad things are going well for you!

Reply by Beaner, on Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:04 am
I am so happy to hear that all went well. I think sometimes people hesitate to tell about their positive reversal because so many people don't have the option on this site. I also have a positive reversal. Ducky Chick, look into all the positives and negatives. Of course there is always healing time after surgery, but if the surgeon says it is right for you, go for it. Some people still go a lot after. I think it has to do with the location of the original surgery' and also it takes a period of time for your body to adjust to using all its parts again...
Reply by octobersunrise, on Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:57 pm
Thank you all for remembering us who still have bags and dream of not having them.  Please keep posting as time passes since these are the kind of stories we need to hear.  Loretta
Reply by dtkaye, on Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:17 pm
Sounds like your recovery was like mine.  I am about 6 months post op from my reversal. The only negatives I have to deal with currently are hemorrhoids, and possible hernia (going to look into that). Otherwise, it has been a positive experience.  Best Wishes to you!
Reply by Patrice, on Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:23 pm
I haven't posted in awhile, but after reading the recommendation to post success stories, decided to write. I am 17 months past my reversal. I had a sigmoid diverticular abscess and lost my sigmoid and most of my rectum. (I had never had an episode of diverticulitis so this complication and resistance to usual treatment hit me hard). I had the bag for 4 months while the tissue healed. Even though it was a pretty short time, it still was a life changing experience.  Recovery from both surgeries was pretty rough. I am doing extremely well now, but tell folks who ask me if everything is "normal" - that it is a new normal. Frequency averages 4-6x/day, smaller amts. and smaller diameter all due to the fact I have almost no "holding/storage area" - a function of the rectum. Urgency is much improved, which means I can delay for pretty long periods.  Most of the time I do not experience the urge to "go" so it is not constantly on my mind and I can go about my day. I eat anything I want and have travelled extensively. Having the support of the folks on this web site helped me more than I can say. Thanks to all of you who have posted. Of course I will continue to think of those who are living with the bag and those considering reversals.
Reply by bag_n_drag, on Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:31 pm
Hi Patsy and Others -

Good to see some of you again who had reversals around the same time as mine!  I am 16 months "out" now and doing pretty well!  Had a bag for about 15 seems so long ago, now, but I DO remember the challenges and discoveries of the "bag" days!  One thing that I can say about this journey is that it has taught me SO MUCH about MYSELF.....some good things, and some not-so-good things!

When I first lost my entire large intestine back in Dec. 2010; I went through a period where I wasn't sure that I even wanted to go on.  I was in a major pity party with myself; and there were several times that I could have just given up.  But, when I found the folks on this forum.....folks like Primeboy, Dave_Canada; Yukon Steve; Patrice; Beaner; Mooza; Loretta; and many others; I discovered that these "earthly angels" could live life to the fullest.....some with reversals done or on the horizon; and some who would have their bags and conditions permanently.  YOU folks are the ones who taught me to stop feeling sorry for myself and to get out here and live LIFE!  And, that is exactly what I did.  EVERY DAY.....ONE DAY AT A TIME!

Now I know that WITH OR WITHOUT A BAG, that I CAN live life to its fullest!  It's the size of the HEART that counts; not the size of the BAG or the plumbing! Smile

Sure, there are still challenges WITH a reversal.....things like "going" 7-10 times per day on average; nighttime accidents; continued food restrictions for some; constantly working on the bulking up and slowing down aspects; etc......but, all in all, I am just happy to be here!

Take care, all.....both ye "baggers" and "bagless!" Smile

God Bless!
Reply by jodelin, on Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:03 pm
Not sure if I am a success story yet.  Had my  reversal 3 weeks and 1 day ago.  Still having multiple accidents a day.  Was getting a handle on it last week by taking one metamucil drink at night.  Then, I caught the stomach flu at a birthday party. OMG!!! That was a nightmare.  I couldn't stand up without waste pouring out of me.  I think that is behind me.  So, started back on the metamucil tonight.  I am hoping this is going to continually improve now.  I am nervous I am going to be stuck in the house for months.  
Our wedding is Oct 5th and I have to pick out a dress yet.  I hope I can do that without a depends on.  Smile  
I am happy for all that have the success or wish that they have hoped for.  And, have passion for the ones that didn't.  The frustration with any step in this cancer process has been enormous.  But I am happy to be here.  Am ready for things to go smoothly (literally).  
I have learned so much from this site.  Nobody talked to me about how to live with the bag.  Until I found this site it was like a prison.  I had my bag for 16 months.  
Thank you for all your help.  And if you have any advice on how to make this part of the process easier, please let me know.
I am missing part of my rectum and the sigmoid colon because of cancer and 5 feet of my small intestine due to radiation damage.  
God bless and take care,
Reply by bag_n_drag, on Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:05 pm
It is still very early on in your reversal process.  I, too, was very skeptical when the docs told me that the body would eventually "retrain" itself to some extent.  I remember those first weeks right after my reversal were tough going!  (no pun intended! Smile)  I had several accidents, especially during the night, and had to stay really close to a bathroom in the daytime.  For me, things began to get noticeably better by the 6 month mark but I could see improvement every week starting after about the 3rd month.  Now that I am over a year out, things are pretty much in control during the day, and I can stay out for several hours without having to stop for a potty break!  Nighttime can still be challenging at times, but I have noticed that the later I eat, the more problems I have with nighttime accidents.  Or, as you say, when you got sick with a stomach bug things were like a faucet!  I have been sick with stomach bugs about 4 times since my reversal, and you are is a bad, bad thing to be sick like that without all your plumbing!  You literally have no control over the "pouring" until things are better!

Metamucil really helps me with the bulking up and slowing down; but I cannot stand the texture of the liquid so I take the capsules....about 10-12 per day.  I take a couple before bedtime every night, and they do help with the nighttime bathroom visits as well.

In another 3-4 weeks, I bet you can get out and try on some wedding dresses without fear of an accident!  I would plan on a late morning outing with a light breakfast like toast or something binding like oatmeal.....with limited caffeine beforehand! Smile

Best wishes to you in your journey.  Sounds like you have a lot of great living in store for you! Smile

Reply by shmily, on Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:27 pm
May I ask how they did your reversal? I haven't seen anybody say and my doctor said he thinks he is going to use a circular stapler and I watched a few videos on YouTube and some left a metal ring in that during the healing process it dislodges and you pass it with stool and others didn't! And when closing the stoma site some are talking about it being stitched closed and others are talking about it being left open to close on it's own!! I am just curious as to what I have to look forward to! Thanks for any and all information that you feel like giving!

Reply by notexpectingthis, on Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:32 am
Way to go hockey mom! That stoma hole will close in time & the hemm friends will calm down too!
Reply by notexpectingthis, on Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:46 am
I was reversed in August 2012 (ileostomy). There was a circular stapler used but I did not pass a ring that you speak of.  As for the stoma hole, mine was left open to close from the inside out.  This experience was sort of strange as the closing of the stoma hole looks quite impossible to begin with.  It drains a clear chicken broth looking fluid that hot quite aggravating at times. All in all I would say it took about 9 weeks to fully close.

If I can make a a wrap or waste cincher from a lingere store .... Just a plain spandex tube to cover your abdominal area.  After a while the tape you use to cover your wounds will begin to irritate your skin & this way you can just place the gauze inside the cincher against your skin with no tape!!!!!!

The best thing I found to cover the stoma hole was a non scented Kotex overnight pad. The backing is plastic & will keep the drainage from seeping through to your t shirt or nightgown so quickly. Again....just place the absorbant side of the pad against the hole & pull the cincher over it.

The waste clinchers I use I buy from vanity fair for $5 a piece.

Oh! One more thing.....I was reversed using an open midline incision technique due to the amount of scar tissue & adhesions inside my abdomen. While this certainly was not as easy as some of the laparoscopic technique scars I have seen...I do not regret taking the advice of my colorectal surgeon & going this route.

I was cut from sternum to near pubic hair line but I knew the surgeon could see everything inside of me & was literally freeing my guts from all those concrete like adhesions.  He is my hero!!!!!!

If you are curious, I only have about 9" of large intestine left. No regrets for the reversal!!!!!!! Just wish I would have found the surgeon who reversed me before the one who nearly killed me!!!
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