On Monday morning, as promised by my surgeon, his secretary emailed me with my surgery date, 7th September 2016. Just two weeks tomorrow. I'm really, really relieved to finally have a date which I can work towards. The only downside of that particular day, is it's on a Wednesday, the same day as The Bake Off, so I'll definitely be missing an episode but I guess you can't win them all.
The anxiety of not knowing has gone and been replaced with a two week wait for it to happen and the overwhelming thought of the whole surgery itself and the recovery and life afterwards. I think really it's too overwhelming to even contemplate. The moment it enters my head, my heart feels like it drops out of my body and I feel a little bit sick. It's a big surgery with a fair few uncertainties in regards to the op and recovery. No one can know exactly what is going to happen, which bothers me 'cos I don't really do the whole 'lets wait and see, go with the flow' thing so well. The rest of my life after the op is also way too big to think about. Even now, three years on from having Margaret put in place I still have the same one day at a time attitude. As I may have said before, aside from having kids and other medical issues, there are very few things in life which are 100% forever, with absolutely no going back or way to opt out if you change your mind. Of course there could be a medical breakthrough in 30 years time which allows me to grow a new large bowel but as it stands, this is forever and no new Crohn's treatment or cure which comes out will be an option. It'll be too late for my poor old colon. It's pretty big when you think about it too much and makes me feel weirdly claustrophobic.
All in all, I'm very glad it's happening soon. I think I'd drive myself mad if I had to wait any longer. I've already had too long to think about it and I'm already itching to be getting through recovery and back to functioning like a 'normal' person. I still have a bunch of questions about the actual op but as I understand, it should be a bit like this.
I go in to hospital on the morning of the operation or potentially (although unlikely I think) the afternoon before. I get all set up, do all the things you do before an op, chat to all the right people, sign a consent form and get taken to surgery. When I wake up I will have around 5 different tubes sticking out of me.
- a catheter (so they can look at your wee, weird)
- a tube in my arm for fluids
- potentially a tube through my nose in to my stomach, to stop me feeling sick. (I didn't have one of these last time so although listed, I don't know if I will)
- a drain in my side/groin (to make sure all the nasty fluid comes out of my body rather than collecting inside it)
- a tube providing pain relief (for this there are two options, a patient controlled morphine drip and an epidural in my back. I'm not sure how I feel about an epidural, especially if it has to be there for more than a day. A patient controlled drip is much more up my control freak street, so I'm going to ask if I can go for that one)
I'll have various wounds as well as Margaret still being there. Both me and my surgeon are hoping it'll be done key hole, which would leave me with 2-3 little coin shaped scars rather than the two other more invasive options, one of which would leave a scar from my belly button down to my bikini line (not by any means the end of the world, but not something I'd opt for). I'll also have a wound where yes, as many have asked and I'm sure more have wanted to but felt they couldn't, they'll sew up my bum-hole. There will be nothing there for it to connect to so it will be sewn closed, the people in the business call it a Barbie Butt. This bit does make my toes curl a little and it is the wound which apparently can have a really hard time healing, fab news all round.
Once the surgery is complete (4ish hours later) I will be taken to post op, where they keep a very close eye on you straight after surgery one-on-one, for a while before either going to straight to the ward or High Dependency Unit, depending on how I do. Considering I am a non smoking, young, 'fairly' fit and otherwise healthy 24 year old with no other medical issues to worry about, I should go straight to the ward. There I will stay for aprox 7-10 days until they send me on my merry way and I can return home. There are so many variables on this but I hope it all goes swimmingly and to plan. Once home it's around a 6-8 recovery with some people taking many more months to fully heal.
I found this pretty good diagram of what exactly my anatomy will look like after the surgery. I know for many, it's hard to quite imagine whats being cut out of where so I thought this might help. On the left is a 'normal' person and me currently (minus Margaret who is sticking out my tummy right before my large bowel or the big chunky, pale pink, brain looking bit starts, even though both my small and large bowel are intact and sitting there). On the right is what I will then look like.
Talk about losing some inches off your waist eh! In fact, a silver lining is, I'll lose a couple pounds just from having that bit cut out (around 4lbs according to Google). A pretty drastic way to get down to my goal weight but I won't be complaining.
My constant, cuddly companion Toby
So the next two weeks are going to suck a bit, luckily I have lots of films & box sets ready to watch, my gorgeous dogs to keep me company whilst friends and family are at work and I'm still running Chroma Stationery, which is keeping me distracted with new product launches.
The countdown begins!