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A good J pouch story

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:05 pm

Hi,

I had my J pouch formation and ileostomy reversal done all in one step last Thursday (23/11) and I can proudly say that, after a particularly straining 8 months, luck has finally come my way. I was extremely concerned that a two-step J pouch wouldn't work because the method my surgeon uses is no where to be seen when scouring the internet for stories. Rather than removing the colon and forming the J pouch in step one, then reversing the ostomy and connecting the J pouch in step two, he both made the J pouch and attached it in the second step. It worked, so who cares?

I must say that it wasn't great from the very beginning, though. I felt fantastic coming out of surgery and all of Thursday night because of the anaesthetic and painkillers, as well as the emotional high of something finally going well for me this year. From Friday morning onwards, however, it was a very different story. I spent Friday in terrible pain with tubes attached all over. Saturday morning was spent vomitting bile due to what the nurses dubbed a "lazy bowel", where the small intestine simply doesn't work after surgery for a few days. Sunday was just generally in pain and feeling lethargic again, same as Friday. Monday was still pain and fatigue, though I lost all but one tube. Tuesday I began to pick up after losing my final tube and IV pole, so I was a free man once again, though I still felt terrible. Finally, on Wednesday morning, I felt somewhat of an improvement. I was back on solid food after eight days and I was in significantly less pain. My J pouch was working and so I was finally passing some of the gas that was trapped inside my gut from the surgery. I was discharged on Thursday morning after the surgeon saw how rapidly I picked up in a single day.

It's safe to say that I absolutely regretted my decision for the first five days. Whilst I hated having an ostomy and managing a unique two-bag situation, I was still healthy and ate what I wanted, when I wanted, for the most part. I had voluntarily sent myself back into the same state, if not worse, than the state I was in following my first surgery, i.e. walking like an old man, in constant pain, and struggling to walk more than 10 metres without losing my breath. The initial post-op period for this is physically more painful than the colectomy, without a doubt, but after that initial hump, it has been smooth sailing. Also, there's not the emotional pain (for lack of a better word) of waking up with an ostomy like after the first surgery.

I felt that I needed to write about this because there is a distinct lack of J pouch stories out there with a happy ending. I have put this down to the idea that those with a successful J pouch are too busy living their lives to write about it, whereas those who are suffering will, of course, warn others against the surgery, which I don't blame them for. There are successful J pouch stories out there, but they simply are not told.

As with anything, take this with a grain of salt. I am a 60kg, 18 year-old who is roughly 6 feet tall, so I am young and have very little fat. Therefore, surgery will be easier as will recovery.

Anyway, I hope everyone is well. I haven't posted in a while, so feel free to let me know what's been happening in your lives and especially if anyone on here had a successful J pouch.

Thanks for reading,

Hamish

Posted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:19 am

Hello HAmish.

Thank you so much for coming back to us and filling us in on your experiences.  Congratulations on a successful outcome to your operation.

It is, as you say, there seems to be a greater proportion of people who post when things have gone wrong, rather than right and, although we are guessing  at the reasons, you are also probably correct in saying that it is most likely that they are simply getting on with their lives and not looking back on experiences they would rather forget.

Best wishes for the future

Bill 

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:58 pm

Thank you Hamish for your very positive update.  So glad that you are feeling well and improving every day.  Take care!  LH

Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:07 pm

Great to read a positive spin on the jpouch there are a ton of negitive stories out there, my surgeon told me it’s down to the persons attitude to how well and quick they recover .. granted people have complications but we gotta take charge too and push threw and keep positive , I’m having a tough time now I’m 3 weeks post take down surgery but I know things will get better.  Thanks for sharing 👍🏻

Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:28 pm

Hi Recover18,

You’re certainly right about attitude. I had an extremely rough five days post surgery, but my recovery picked up massively on the day that I got my uni results back and found out that I passed everything, so perhaps some subconscious stress was hindering my recovery. Could’ve been a coincidence, but a good attitude definitely helps nonetheless. Sorry to hear that you’re having a tough time. I’m almost six weeks post op and my only two issues are having to pack my rather large abdominal wound that had to be opened and night time leakage, which I combat by either wearing a pad or having some toilet roll/tissues down the back of my pyjamas. I never get much leakage, but I have a tiny bit pretty much every night.

I hope things get better for you. As I said, I decided to write this post simply to let people know that it can go well. My mum was quite firmly against the J pouch initially because of the amount of negative stories she read online. 

Best of luck, I hope you’re recovery goes well. Happy new year. 

Hamish

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:23 pm

I have a similar problem too with the leakage,can b pretty demoralizing.. do u do the kegal excersises?  they do really help to strengthen the muscles there, when they haven’t been used in awhile they will need retraining, gotta do them threw out the day. And u will definitely see improvement.. Anyways all the best in 2018 brother 👍🏻

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