how has Sue prepared for a stoma surgery

Sue: The decision to have surgery and how I prepared

Visiting as many websites as possible and reading all the information from the Stoma Care Nurses helped Sue prepare.

Sue is 59 years young and from West Yorkshire. Diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2014, following a 30-year remission from ulcerative colitis.

It was time to consider the surgical option

On my third hospital admission on 1st June 2015 it was clear that things were getting worse. My Crohn's had spread and was not responding to any medical intervention. There were no drug therapies left to try and I certainly couldn't carry on in the state I was so it was time to consider the surgical option.

My husband and I talked things over and with his support I made the decision to go ahead with the surgery at the earliest opportunity. With the decisions made things started to move quickly. The operation was scheduled, and the stoma nurses made an early visit to talk me through the procedure and provide me with further information on living with a stoma. I must admit to being more than a little apprehensive at that time, but I am a practical person and I knew that I just had to look for the positives and get on with it because more than anything else I wanted my life back.

I read as much as I could before my op

I spent the three days before my op reading as much as I could about what was about to happen to me. I visited all the relevant websites and made use of the Coloplast stoma care demonstration kit left by the stoma care nurses. The kit allows you to get a post-operative idea of what life with a stoma will feel like which I found helpful as it was a very practical way of addressing some of the worries I had regarding using a stoma pouch.

The surgery went well and I was discharged from hospital seven days later armed with many leaflets and lots of advice on how best to recuperate.

I knew it was important not to overdo things

I expected to have some problems moving around due to the stitches and I knew that it was important not to overdo things because the internal wounds would take time to heal but I thought that once the stitches were out it would be a bit like getting over a bad dose of flu and I would be back at the gym doing light exercises within a couple of weeks and back to full fitness shortly after that.

Well now I know what the doctors meant when they said you will need to take it easy and listen to what your body is telling you. There were days when I would wake feeling fit and well and raring to go only to find that by the time I had washed and dressed my energy had all gone and I was ready for a rest. If I pushed myself to do more, which at times I did, I would end up feeling quite ill. I soon learned that I had to go with the flow and rest when my body told me I needed to.

My fitness levels began to improve

Within six weeks I was able to return to the gym. I was restricted to very light exercise walking on the treadmill and some light weight arm and leg workouts but it was a start and something to build on. Over the next weeks and months my fitness levels began to improve and I could steadily increase the intensity of my workouts by setting myself small targets to aim for. I was also, much to my husband’s relief, able to take back some of the household chores which he had had to take on board whilst I was ill.

To focus my recovery, we started making plans for a trip to New Zealand 

My next target was to get back to swimming. By January 2016 my wound had almost healed fully and I was looking forward to taking my first dip in the pool at Changi airport Singapore on route to New Zealand.

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