Managing Physical And Emotional Pain During Stoma Surgery

Aleesha March 1

As many of you know from my previous blogs, Rosie (my stoma) unfortunately prolapsed in October 2020. This meant I had to undergo another operation to help her. Due to the pandemic and the pressure, the NHS is under, my operation was delayed.

On January 7th 2021 I was wheeled into theatre again.

While waiting to go into the theatre, I was sending pictures of me smiling to my family and partner. In reality, I was crying and petrified for what was to come. Due to a shortage of beds on the ward, I was put onto another ward. I looked around me to find that I was the only one on this ward, my only company was five empty beds. I felt these beds were a true representation of how I felt at that moment; lonely and empty. I knew this operation would help get my quality of life back, but was I ready to go through this again for the third time? Probably not. Would I ever be ready? Probably not.

It took me a few days to come around after my operation and for the high sedation and anesthetic to ease off. I literally couldn’t feel anything from my waist down. For this operation, I had a stronger spinal injection than I did for my previous two operations. I couldn’t move. I didn’t want to move. I was scared to look down at my stomach, to see my stoma and my ileostomy bag (a feeling that I am so familiar with now).

I knew my stomach wouldn’t look the same and I don’t think I was ready to accept it just yet.

My surgeon, who is absolutely amazing and has done all three of my operations, came round to have a chat with me and explained that not only was my stoma prolapsed, but my bowel was twisted and surrounded by a lot of adhesions. He had worked his magic again and for that I will be forever grateful.

It felt like the longest hospital stay ever.

I had multiple emotional breakdowns and was in excruciating pain. I was struggling to be patient and wanted my recovery to speed up so I could go home! When I was in physical pain I could press my morphine PCA drip to ease the pain or buzz the nurses. But what was there to press to ease my pain I was feeling mentally? Physically I was getting stronger slowly day by day, but I was struggling mentally.

This operation mentally affected me more than any others. I feel a lot of things contributed to this… it was my third major operation, we’re living through a pandemic so visitors were restricted, I had to wait so long for my operation, plus I lost four close family members to COVID-19. I wasn’t able to be with my family to mourn the losses in our family. Knowing I had lost so many family members due to COVID-19 while being in a hospital was extremely anxiety-provoking.

I have always shared positivity through my social media platforms and blogs.

I am extremely passionate about bringing the confidence out of others and helping them through difficult times, but I think it is also equally important to be vocal about your own struggles.

Physically, I am getting there day by day, but mentally I have been struggling. I am getting all the appropriate help to make me feel better and I find that talking to loved ones about how I am feeling has helped.

Mental health and wellbeing is a topic that some people find uncomfortable discussing.

It is often seen as taboo and there is a belief that people should behave in a certain way, which often doesn’t involve talking about feelings. I want to spread the message that being open and honest about how we are feeling mentally is nothing to be ashamed of, that it shows strength and may inspire others.

I look at my body and I see a warrior. I survived yet again and my body is stronger for it. It’s important to love yourself first and this is something I’m still working on every day, but I am proud of my body and I’m thankful to my amazing surgeon for saving my life yet again!

“Mental health and wellbeing is a topic that some people find uncomfortable to discuss.” - @gutless_warrior

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by Aleesha Verma

Aleesha Verma

About the author

My name's Aleesha Verma - also known as the Gutless Warrior! I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease at the age of 18 and now have a permanent ileostomy bag - not a Prada bag, unfortunately. You can also follow me @gutlesswarrior on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Recent Comments

  • john Wighton

    First time reading of this brave and selfless lady, may you have the rudest of health, you so deserve it

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