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What To Expect If You Need Emergency Stoma Surgery
Each year in the UK an estimated 13,500 people undergo surgery to form a stoma. Most of these people will have been living with an inflammatory bowel disease or a continence disorder and may have had months or years to mentally and emotionally prepare for the possibility of a stoma – which can sometimes, but not always, make the adjustment less difficult to deal with. However, there are also those who unexpectedly require stoma surgery, possibly as a result of an injury or other health complication. In these cases, people have very little time to process the information before stoma surgery takes place. If you are one of these people, please read on for some support and advice we think you may benefit from.
A key thing to remember is that stoma surgery is often life-saving.
Although you may dislike your stoma at first and have difficulty getting used to the idea of being an ‘ostomate’, many people eventually feel quite grateful for their stomas, and some even become fond of them, giving them names and celebrating the anniversaries of their creation. There is no pressure to feel this way, though, and if you are struggling with feelings about your stoma, it may be worth speaking to your health care team about the possibility of some counselling. Don’t forget that you have been through an unexpected and possibly traumatic experience, so needing some additional support is nothing to feel ashamed of.
You may also find reading about others’ experiences or joining a support group helpful.
Visit our support groups page for a list of organisations you can join, both online and in person, depending which you feel more comfortable with.
SecuriCare also has over 300 blogs, sharing the experiences of those living with a stoma and how they came to first have surgery. Whilst many of our bloggers were aware of the possibility that they may require a stoma as a result of their health conditions, one of our bloggers, Jay Hyrons, had emergency stoma surgery as a result of undiagnosed diverticulitis and abscesses; she also went on to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Read her blog ‘When Stoma Surgery is an Emergency’ to see how Jay dealt with it. You may also find this blog from Aleesha Verma helpful, ‘Waking up to an Emergency Ileostomy’.
Make use of information booklets and the support of your assigned Stoma Care Nurse
Your care team should have provided you with information leaflets and booklets, if not, you can always ask and we also have some available to download online. You should also have been assigned a Stoma Care Nurse. These are specialist nurses who are available to speak to you in person or on the phone to discuss your stoma care needs. If you have not been assigned a Stoma Care Nurse, please feel free to contact SecuriCare and we will put you in contact with one. We also hold regular stoma care clinics in several locations around the UK which you would be welcome to attend.
If you’re going in for surgery over the next few days and are feeling underprepared, or you have woken up from surgery and are in shock to find you have a stoma please take a look at our advice and support section which includes the following: