Since my primary tumor was located at the rectum, close to my anus, Dr. Tay had to performed a Lower Anterior Resection with Anastomosis. To allow time for my colon and resection to heal, Dr. Tay performed an Ileostomy operation bringing my ileum through a hole in the abdominal muscles and sewing an open end of the ileum to the abdominal skin so that my bodily wastes can be eliminated into a stoma bag.
The Stoma baseplate and disposal stoma bags that I am currently using are developed by a company in USA called “Coloplast”. Their official website is “www.coloplast.com”
The baseplate, that need to be replaced weekly cost about $11 each. The individual stoma bag cost $4.50 each but instead of using it once and dispose, I wash it and recycle them till they are too wore-off to be reused.
Having an Ileostomy and wearing a stoma bag 24 hours a day was not something I was looking forward too but prior to my operation, Dr. Tay had already forewarned me about it. But he did assured me that only about 5% of patients have to use a permanent stoma.
If everything goes well. at the end of my chemotherapy treatments, probably in December 2010, he will perform another operation on me to do a reversal.
Since I now have an Ileostomy, I have to watch my diet, chew my food carefully, and still make sure I eat a balanced diet. Blockages can occur when the Ileostomy fails to function for short periods of time.
Recently, I read a book entitled “Positive Options for Colorectal Cancer”. The book was written by a woman named Carol Ann Larson. It was about her experience living with the cancer. In the book she mentioned about her Ileostomy and that towards the end of her chemotherapy treatments, she met up with her doctor to discuss the reversal of her Ileostomy. Instead of being happy at this prospect, she actually dreaded it.
Radiation proctitis from her radiation treatments had weakened the lining of her rectum and augmented the pain of any intrusive test she had to undergo. Heavy bleeding after any rectal examinations had become a regular occurence and had become progressively more painful for her. Her doctor had to tell her the bad news that she was one of only 5% of patients with severe chronic proctitis. For that reason, her temporary Ostomy become permanent.
After reading about this I was a bit worried for my radiation treatment had resulted in much scaring and burns in my anus region. During my recent post-surgery appointment with Dr. Tay on 31 July 2010, I raised this concern. But again, he reassured me that radiation treatments nowadays are plan more carefully and the dosage are more evenly spread out to ensure that such severe chronic proctitis does not occurs again. I just have to trust my doctor.
Having wore a stoma bag since 27 April 2010 till now, I had gotten used so far to the daily routine of having to empty the bag, wash it and ensuring that it is properly kept hidden from view when I am in the public.
In fact, until today, no one in my office are aware I have a stoma bag on me. At times, it feels good wearing the stoma bag for it is quite convenient to remove the waste. With the Ileostomy, I cannot tell whether I am having Diarrhea for the waste discharges are not solids but are quite wet most of the time.
The only constraints are that I cannot wear tight fitting clothes and my clothes cannot be tacked in. Since the intestine are working 24*7, I have to keep going to the toilet even when in bed to clear the contents in the stoma bag. When in the public, I got to be very careful not to expose the stoma bag and arouse curiosity.