Another post op question (or two) for you vets out there. Had my rectum removed, ileostomy, hysterectomy, etc. about 6 weeks ago. I have been eating for about two weeks now and things seem to be moving well. Other than skin irritation I've been doing OK... This weekend, though, I started having pain again...not sure what it could be. It is always in the same spot - to the right (as I look down) of my stoma and down about an inch or so. I can only compare it to a labor pain, in that it comes on very strong and then subsides. It seems to be happening w/movement... i.e. when I get up from sitting, sit down, or if I lift my son (24 pounds). It seems to be getting worse...kept me up last night as every time I rolled over or switched position I would get this pain (probably a 7 out of 10)...it would last for 30 seconds or so then pass until I moved again. I thought maybe a hernia, but there is nothing purtruding from my skin. Maybe just a cramp? muscle pull?
My second question is about depression... I have been having significant bouts of crying, etc. I called the gyn. oncologist and was put on hormones (due to removal of ovaries), which has helped some, but I am feeling tremendous anxiety about going to the oncologist on Thursday and starting chemo again...not sleeping at all. Anyone else? I'm sure it is not that uncommon. Wasn't sure if most try short term meds, counseling, support groups? Other than you guys and my husband I don't really talk about this w/anyone so I think I have built up a lot over the last six months.
Final question for those w/ileostomies...how often do you empty? I thought they told me 4-5 times per day and I'm probably doing double that, plus at least twice at night (VERY full bags at night...) . I can't seem to keep up with the liquids...feel dehydrated a lot. I get so thirsty at night.
Thanks in advance for your help. Happy New Year to you all!
First the depression. Its quite normal I think .. WE have every damn reason to be depressed., and Im thinking myself of going to my GP for some anti depressants. I used to be on Zoloft before any of this happened but lately Im thinking of trying them again as everything seems to be getting to me lately. Go to your GP and tell him/her whats happening and dont be scared to go on anti depressants.
Secondly the ileostomy. I empty my bag alot more than 5 times a day!! Try about 10 + times.. For the night I try not to eat too much or drink too much a couple hours before bed, due to the filling up and now get the 6-7 hrs without having to wake up to empty the bag. Stay away from gassy foods/drinks of a night also as this will fill it up quickly. Wehn I was eating just before bed, was also getting so full that it would leak more often too.. due to filling up and not knowing becuase I was asleep.
Im not sure about the pain you mentioned, but I would see your GI about it for sure.
Take care and please see your gp bout some anti depressants.
Hi Cats - I can relate to your depression as I went through the same thing when I had my ileo. Part of the problem was that everything I was eating was going through so quickly I wasn't absorbing all the nutrients I needed and nutrition does affect your mental state. I was emptying almost every hour. I did a lot reading on nutrition and found a super chewable vitamin and also had my doctor prescribe B12 shots. I found this helped my mood and energy levels quite a bit. I also found a special bottled water called Penta which helped with my dehydration - I believe Penta has a website.
As for the pain you're experiencing. It could be a number of different things but I found out that during the healing process after surgery there is a lot going on inside. As tissue heals it can pinch or pull and nerves can re-awaken and cause some strange feelings. Also adhesions could be forming - not all adhesions cause problems. If this pain continues definitely mention it to your doctor.
There a number of great support sites on the web for people with ostomies. I regularly follow one run by a lady from Australia - Shaz. If you Goggle her I think her site will come up. I also joined my local United Ostomy Assoc here in Canada- there's a new group formed in the US called UOAA - they have a website as well. Hope this helps! Hang in there!
Thank you for the advice. I put a call into my gyn oncologist to try a new med since my ET nurse things the premarin might be adding to the frequent watery stool problem. She has me taking lomotil before meals and two at bed time to see if that helps too. I cannot believe how full the bag gets at night. I do not eat after dinner ever (and we eat by 6 pm), but I do drink water at night...I have to lately. I wake up and my mouth is dry, lips are chapped...I think also the dehydration is why I'm feeling tired and run down again. The ET nurse also gave me a list of foods to try to thicken up the stool (bagels, pasta, peanut butter, rice pudding, pretzels, oatmeal...). I feel like the premarin isn't quite doing it for my mood swings and I've had more hot flashes and night sweats than ever!
Still not sure what the pain is from. The ET nurse said to mention it to the gyn (she did the hysterectomy portion of the surgery.) It seems to me like the pain is below the stoma - maybe where my ovaries use to be??? Who knows.
Thanks for the advice regarding depression. I have never felt like this before...There are so many variables in this - (cancer, ileostomy, hysterectomy, chemo...) it is hard to know what is causing what. The gyn should call me back tonight and hopefully we can get some things under control...
Thanks again for all of your tips. Hope you are feeling well. Maz, I would imagine you are feeling some major post traumatic stress from your surgery... that must be overwhelming in itself to deal with.