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.Â 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,