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Natalie-Amber’s Stoma Reversal Story

Hello, My Beautiful Pelican Lovers,

I am back again, this time with part 2 – so my stoma reversal.  If you are new to reading this blog of mine, if you go back and read part 1 your find out more about me and how I came to have a Stoma for a year.

So, continuing on from my last blog I had a stoma from December 6th, 2017 I am assuming as on my first operation on the 5th of December 2017 I was left clamped together over night. I was then took back down the next day for more surgery and a stoma. I had ‘Queen It’ (for those of you new here that was my stomas name) for a year and 15 days. I was supposed to originally have my reversal on the 5th of December 2018 so a year to the day, but I really couldn’t go through with that. Some said it could have been good luck, however I felt it could be a bad omen especially after the traumatic events a year earlier.  So due to having her reversed-on the 20th of December 2018 I spent Christmas in hospital on Meldon Ward for the second year in a row.  (Do not worry though me and Nan had made many Carvery trips beforehand to make sure I didn’t miss out on a Christmas dinner)

So, the day of my reversal, I woke up really early as I had to be on the ward for 7am, the surgery was due to start at 9am. I had my little dopey cuddly toy my aunty had brought me, and I had the last of those pre-op shakes whilst I filmed a bit of my reversal vlog.  You can see this here. (I apologise in advance for my poor editing skills)

I got to Meldon, wearing my Barbie tracksuit everyone hates apart from me and my regular choice Miss Piggy bag, which caught the nurse’s attention straight away. It might have been an operation I was having but I had to go in style, no matter how scary a situation is stay sassy. I was kind of okay, not really panicking until I was called into the room and was told what was going to happen, and the worst-case scenarios. Well of course as soon as the surgeon assisting my main surgeon in the operation said death as a worth case scenario that was it. I was crying, debating if to have it done, shaking, I was so scared, and all the memories of my last operation came flooding back. I am not going to lie the day of having a reversal had haunted me since the day I knew I could have one in the future; my anxiety really went havoc and I would have sleepless nights or go out with friends and get really drunk because I was just adamant I was going to die. Remember this is really the WORST way to ever deal with your problems it actually makes them worst. I even sent my horrible narcissist ex a birthday card in case bad did happen to me as I didn’t want any hate.

Back to the story after seeing the Anaesthetist, I was then given the dreaded gown and told to go change and wait for my main surgeon Mr A, to come and speak to me. I remember going into the little room with my mum to speak to Mr A, I was so scared and started to cry asking him if I was going to die again, he kept saying ‘no you are not going to die’ and remained calm and tried to explain to me as best as he could about the procedure to put me at ease. The operation he said would last about 3.5 hours. Well of course that again had my anxiety running. Seriously? 3.5 hours of my stomach being opened up? How is this possibly going to take you 3.5 hours just to connect two bits of bowel together. Of course, I am not a surgeon, so I know it’s not as simple as that and I respect any surgeon for the hard work they dedicate their lives to.

I was then taken down by a nurse to get ready to go into theatre, I felt sick, I was shaking, my heart was in my stomach. She was so lovely and was trying to keep a conversation going but I really couldn’t focus. I felt so sick. When we got into the theatre waiting area, I just lost it and broke down. I was so scared I was going to die, I had a massive panic attack and 3 nurses were all trying to calm, it got so bad they had to ring my mum and call her to the room, something that is never allowed as anybody that isn’t a patient of a nurse/doctor isn’t allowed into the anaesthetic room.  My mum came down, and then that started her off crying because I was, and I was just convinced I was going to die, then panicking more that I am thinking bad things, and law of attraction is you attract what you think. It was just all going downhill for me to be honest. I literally was happy to keep the stoma bag and walk away from the operation.  I remember when they finally got on me onto the bed I was facing ‘Theatre 15’ above to doors. I swear to you I have never forgotten that, of course that again set me off, I don’t understand how you’re going to lay somebody as mentally unstable as me on a bed facing two double doors with theatre 15 like way rub it in even further your just going to make me stare at those devil doors and wheel me to my death.  I just remember talking about my cats and that was it.

Next thing I know I woke up, and I had a lady sat next to me to make sure I was okay, I remember asking where my friend Aaron was, who not only was my best friend and prom date throughout school was actually by chance in my first operation. I remember him telling me he was on shift for my reversal op. The nurse was lovely, and she went and got him, we had a conversation which I don’t remember much but know it probably didn’t make much sense as I was still high on the pain killers and anaesthetic.  When I was finally moved onto Meldon Ward, I remember being wheeled to where I was going to be and waving at all the nurses saying, ‘I’m back’. Only me. I honestly can’t stress how amazing The Law of Attraction is however because I manifested a window bed, and also later on during my stay a room of my own. The universe really does have your back if you trust in this.  I remember the stoma nurse coming to see if I was okay to which she got from me ‘I don’t have a stoma.’ She laughed and said she was only coming in to see how I was. Mr A came in to see how I was after the operation and I remember saying ‘I am alive’ and he replied ‘I thought you might be’ with a grin on his face.

It took 5 days for my bowels to start moving, I was encouraged by my surgeon to try and have things with caffeine in and chocolate as that can sometimes help to get the bowels moving. I hate coffee so stocked up on Peach iced tea.  I was being sick a lot during those days to the point they had to put a tube down my throat to stop that. This was a good thing in the end because it started to move. It started off with real bad smelling wind, to finally the soggy wet poop. But it was such a good poop. The feeling of pooing again. Honestly, I love pooping and it is one of my favourite things to do. A weird but wonderful hobby.  However, pooping a lot added to a sore bum hole so barrier cream is a must.

I decided to have a reversal because for me personally I wanted to see now I had been correctly diagnosed if I could last without a bag, I know its 50/50 with Crohn’s or Colitis but I really never had a fair shot of trying any medications like most who already knew they had the disease.  My Crohn’s has sadly returned however after being in remission the whole time I had the bag. I will tell you more about that in my next blog on Body Confidence.

I had my beautiful friend Emily take some pictures of me after the reversal, which I have now had made into a hoody and a phone case, as I am not ashamed. Life after the reversal, I would say is scarier for me only because I have to be so careful now what I eat, more so now than when I had the bag I think, I do have moments where I do poo myself. I pooped in the library couldn’t make it to the toilet and even in my own home trying to make it to the toilet.  This no longer embarrasses me because I am alive, that Is the main thing and what’s poop compared to not being here today.  I would say if you are looking to have a reversal weigh up your options first the pros and cons.  If like me you never had a chance to see if medication would work for you, I say go for it, as worst-case scenario is, we will end up with another bag.  However, if you have tried and sadly medication hasn’t been good to you, I wouldn’t really risk it again.  Living a pain free life is so much better than living in pain just because you don’t want a little pal on your tummy anymore.

Lots of Love

Natalie-Amber x

Read Part 1 of Natalie-Amber’s story here

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