Colostomy Surgery and Recovery Story

OstomyLife Co-Moderator
03/01/18  3:03 PM PST
Colostomy Surgery

Kelsey Scarborough is a co-moderator of our OstomyLife community. To learn more about her diagnosis, you can read her introductory article here.

Going into surgery I was scared. I wasn’t scared of the prospect of having an ostomy; I was scared because I had never had surgery and I did not know what it would be like. The idea of someone cutting me open, even though I would not be conscious, scared me. This fear, however, was not as strong as my desire to be well again. So, I went into surgery ready to see the other side.

Upon entering the surgical bay where they prepped me, I was given a morphine injection in my spine. I know this sounds scary, but they numbed me and gave me anti-anxiety medicine so it didn’t hurt a bit. The ostomy nurse came in and drew on me where the ostomy would go. She had done this once before at a pre-op appointment where I would stand up and sit down several times to make sure that the ostomy wasn’t in a body crease when I moved. After all the anesthesia paperwork, I was wheeled into the operating room and put out.

The next thing I remember was being wheeled down a hallway. I woke up in a flurry of panic. I had searing pain where they had operated. I don’t know if I had woken up earlier than they expected and therefore I hadn’t been medicated yet, or if this is just how it went. I remember seeing the anesthesiologist’s face and begging him to put me back out. Soon I was wheeled into another bay and a nurse quickly put some medicine into my IV and the pain just vanished.

I did not recover as well as I could have. Although I had no complications and my surgery was a success, it took me several months to feel recovered. I stayed in the hospital for only four days. At home, I made sure to walk every day to speed up my recovery. I ate a lot of protein to hasten my wound healing, and I had a lot of visitors. Having visitors was great, since before my surgery I didn’t want to see anyone. Before surgery, I had been in pain and was not keeping myself together very well, so I had no desire to socialize. After surgery, I had people come to me, but I didn’t go anywhere for a while, and I was sore for weeks. I was set up with the visiting nurses association in my area, and they helped me learn how to care for my ostomy and find products that worked for me. It was not an easy road but it was so worth it. I had forgotten what not-feeling-sick was even like before my surgery. Now I can do all sorts of things.

For more information, see related articles and resources here:

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I had emergency ostomy surgery last march. I have a peristomal hernia the size of a breast. Is that normal?
Unfortunately, hernias can often occur following ostomy surgery.
We definitely recommend speaking to your surgeon about the issue, but additionally ...

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