I have quite a dilema that some of you may or may not have read about in my recent blog post.
Last week, after over four months since my emergency colectomy, I was made aware of the fact that my surgeon gave me a “closed mucous fistula” without warning me. It was meant to reveal itself after about four weeks, though I never knew that. It was also meant to be just three pin-sized openings in the pubic incision, but mine revealed itself during a colitis flare up in the rectal stump, and so it has burst that scar open and I now have an opening that is half as long as that scar line. The surgeon said that because I’m booked in for my J-pouch surgery on the 23rd of November, that he’s not going to do anything with it, and I am now forced to wear two bags: one for my ileostomy and one that is a disc-shaped bag filled with absorbant pads. The small bag over the wound needs to be changed twice a day, minimum, simply because of the amount of blood and mucous it produces.
My dilema is that I have only just started back at university two weeks ago, and so this is quite a big stress on top of that. I have until the 31st of August to drop subjects. My mum has called around to different departments while I have been busy studying to find out what subjects I could do externally as my surgeon has told me that he can move the J-pouch surgery forward to either the 15th of August or the 22nd. This would mean that I need to pull out of university and do three subjects externally and one over the summer semester if I am to remain on track time-wise for my course. It’s not a bad option, but I’m very worried that if I pull out of uni and have the surgery now that I’ve got the next seven months of living with myself. By that I mean that I won’t have much reason to leave the house, and if I force myself to leave the house to do things I’ll feel like I’m just going out for the sake of it. That’s exactly how I felt during my four months of being at home after my colectomy. Because my first attempt at my first semester only lasted under two weeks because of colitis and emergency surgery, I have never been at uni long enough to make any friends. All of my close school friends are either at a different uni or have moved to a different state. With this wound/fistula, I feel like I’ve been taken back to the very beginning with the ileostomy, trying to work out the best way of changing it and cleaning it, as well as having the stress of fitting it into a daily (or twice daily, in this case) routine. Then there’s the worry of either bag leaking while I’m at uni.
On the one hand, I deal with a physical problem by having surgery, but likely create mental challenges for a few months, but on the other hand I can deal with the mental challenges by staying at uni, but struggle with the physical challenge of managing two bags. I seem to be in uncharted waters here, as Googling anything to do with this yields very limited results. What would you do in my decision? I can’t make a decision about what to have for lunch, never mind having major surgery and messing around with my uni schedule.
As for my second question, are there any unmentioned complications that came with your J-pouch? I have found this mucous fistula incredibly frustrating because my surgeon has brought up the rectal stump and the discharge that comes with it many times, but never mentioned that it will most likely open up my incision and ooze from there as well. Is there anything that wasn’t mentioned to you by any of your medical professionals that you wish was?
I apologise, I have posted plenty of information to take in. I’ve had a rather stressful weekend trying to work out the best option. They both seem as bad as each other.
Thanks for any guidance,
Possible Reversal In Two Weeks. Two Big Questions.