Getting a bag
by Oscar on September 25, 2017
For me, it was about getting relief for a bowel that was giving me problems. The problems began several years ago when I could not eliminate my waste, which would occasionally lead to issues of being constipated. Then, six (6) years ago, it got so bad that I ended up with a perforated colon because I got so impacted. The attending doctor, at that time, said I would need to wait a couple of months after which he would remove the affected section of my colon and I would return to normal bowel movements. A couple of months turned into 6 years of waiting because that doctor ended up doing many, many elective surgeries. At the beginning of this year (2017), I began to experience greater frequencies of constipation and pain associated with each period. After a couple more months of putting up with it, I visited a different doctor than before because I was informed that the first doctor was out of the country. Upon visiting with the second doctor, I was informed by that doctor that I needed to have a major operation that entailed the doctor to make a large incision from just below my belly button to just below my sternum and that I would end up with an ostomy bag for a period of time- 6 to eight (8) months. WOW!!! The first doctor had only mentioned that I would have laproscopic surgery, not major surgery, and that I would not need a bag. Now, this doctor said I needed a bag. Immediately, I asked for a 2nd opinion. That led me to Dr. Fathi who explained everything in detail, including the very real possibility of being connected to an ostomy bag, if he could not do it laproscopically. Lo and behold, after the surgery, I woke up to find that I had a new dancing partner- a bag. That partner was the result of having seven (7) feet of my colon removed! WOW!! 7 feet! For the next three (3) months, try as I might, the bag went everywhere with me. But, in doing so, I learned to work with it. Initially, I was taught that the bag was going to need to be replaced once to 3 times per week. I found a way to make it work for a week-and-a-half to two (2) weeks, without having to replace it. This cut down on supplies needed and started to give me confidence as I continued to work at my job- mortgage lender. That was very important because, through my work, I meet many people every week and I needed to have the confidence that my dancing partner would follow my cue every time! To be sure, I signed up for a once-a-week visit by a homecare nurse to make sure that all was going as planned by Dr. Fathi. However, those visits ended up being coffee-drinking sessions because there was no need for them to change my bag as I had already figured out how to do the task. In fact, 2 of the nurses that visited me, asked how I did it. Once I showed them how, they determined that they would begin to show their patients my way as it seemed easier and could be done by most of their patients. As I have continued to visit with Dr. Fathi, as part of my follow up, I have shared with him my experiences with the ostomy bag, he, in turn, has encouraged me to share my story so that others can know that there are many, like them, that have had to deal with having an ostomy bag, but have figured out how to deal with it and continue to prosper with the things that life brings everyday. If there is a support group out there, I am willing to meet to help others because I have been given another chance.