was all about the initial dealings I had with colitis and how it resulted in my first operation to have an ileostomy created. In this blog post, I want to share with you the next step in my recovery from colitis.
Back in 2008 when I had the surgery to remove my colon and create an ileostomy, I was too ill to have it completed.
I had been on the operating table for nine hours when the surgeons decided it was best to do no more. Prolonged surgery time would have been another factor that could have killed me! They opted to give me a temporary ileostomy so I would have time to decide if I wanted to make my stoma permanent or have it reconnected at a later date. If permanent, I’d have my entire rectum removed – something that’s often referred to as a Barbie Butt (after the popular dolls that have a distinct lack of orifices!).
After five years, the colitis was still active in my rectal stump…
I was still passing blood and mucus daily like an additional bowel movement. I was given various treatments over the years including suppositories for the rectal stump, but nothing was getting rid of it. I was also incredibly drained and tired all the time so I decided that the only way I was going to get my life back on track was to have my stump removed.
Having the rectal stump removed carried a lot of potential complications, including things such as damage to certain nerves which could cause impotency. It was a small chance, but a possibility none the less so I had to freeze my sperm. This was probably one of my biggest worries about the second operation. A 23-year-old guy, not being able to do what 23-year-old guys want to do, after already having so much of my life taken away by Ulcerative Colitis, was probably one of the hardest things I dealt with after the first operation.
The day of the operation, I was absolutely petrified of what was going to happen.
The last time I was in hospital, I was ill and didn’t have much choice. This time, I was going in well. I was aware of everything that was happening and that made it a thousand times harder! The operation took less time than the first - roughly three hours on the operation table, but the surgeons said this one was actually harder to do.
I came out of the operation feeling well, nothing like the first time!
The hardest part of this operation was not being able to sit on my bum or bend for about six weeks! Having to sit on my side and lay all the time, even when I was eating, was tough! Being in such an awkward place too, it took quite a while to heal.
I wasn’t able to return to work for around three months and even then, I still had to pack the wound! Having said this, it was worth it. I finally had my energy back and felt somewhat normal, and I had no complications with the operation. Apart from the occasional tearing of the scar from squatting too low, but this heals easily and it becomes less and less over time.
Having a ‘Barbie Butt’ simply means that the rectum is removed and closed up, but it still looks like a normal butt!
I get questions about this over my social channels and in person, and you wouldn’t know I didn’t have a rectum, even to look at! It’s a very clever procedure.
There are lots of things to think about when presented with the option of a reversal and the right choice will vary from person to person. Speaking of my own experience, it was an incredibly hard decision to make but opting for the permeant ileostomy and a Barbie Butt really was the best thing I have ever done in terms of getting my life back on track!
If there is one piece of advice that I can give you with this operation is, ask questions! It’s not embarrassing, it’s your body and you should all feel comfortable in your own skin.