I saw my surgeon yesterday for my 6 week check, and am officially signed off! He doesn't need to see me ever again. So as long as I don't have any complications with the stoma, develop a hernia or diversion colitis (which is a slight possibility and would require another surgery - sigh) I don't need any further appointments, tests or treatment! So that's it.. I have a 'bag for life' and will live with my stoma forever. But that's fine by me.. most of the time now I barely even notice it's there. I do of course always have the support of my stoma nurse Lesley who is an angel and always there at the end of the phone or email.
Saying goodbye to my surgeon did make me reflect over the last 16 months though and thought I'd make a list of all the things that I've gone through:
4 surgeries - emergency surgery to treat peritonitis, sigmoid colectomy/stoma formation, stoma reversal, laparascopy/stoma formation
5 CT scans (with contrast)
1 MRI Scan (with contrast)
3 Gastrograffin enemas
1 small bowel follow through
2 transit tests with Xray
14 consultations with 3 different consultants (inc a world leading professor)
1 incorrect diagnosis of SIBO
8 courses of antibiotics
4 IV courses of antibiotics
22 days in hospital
I guess that puts things in perspective... Sometimes I get awful flashbacks to the times in hospital, especially the first admission when I was in so much pain with peritonitis and no-one knew what was wrong. But those flashbacks are getting less with time and I'm finding myself excited about the future instead and feeling physically and emotionally stronger every day.
I have even bought a proper pair of jeans - not leggings, jeggings or jogging pants - proper demin jeans with a zip and everything. Small things like that are quite exciting really and all signs of recovery and just being 'normal' again. I haven't worn jeans for so long and living in leggings and smocks gets pretty depressing after a while. Simple things I used to take for granted before like eating, sleeping, exercise and even wearing jeans, I'm so grateful for now. It's certainly been a life changing experience.
So, we are on holiday this weekend and are off to climb mountains, ride bikes and have fun in the Lake District. I cannot wait.. the next blog will be a photo of me at the top of a mountain!