I’ve been inundated with messages from people asking about my surgery which is so lovely so I’m going to do a little explanation of what this entails.
Basically, after years and years of tablets, infusions, injections, steroids, enemas, suppositories (you name anything for your bottom end and I’ve had it) and not to mention countless doctors, I am going down the surgical route. This means that either by keyhole or literally a slit straight down the stomach – I wont find out until on the table (well, me personally will find out when im awake obvs otherwise that would be terrifying) – and will be taking out 20cm of intestine, part of my colon, parts of other random bits and pieces that are too damaged and a hell of a lot of scar tissue.
The small bowel (or small intestine) is where my Crohns is most active, it is commonly used for the breaking down and absorption of nutrients but because of my Crohns, this is severely damaged and not a lot is really happening in there and so it clogs up, gets damaged and creates other ways to breakdown everything – I think, its hard to follow because each doctor says a different thing.
I have multiple fistulas in my small bowel also, which are kind of like little alleyways. The intestine coils round like a weird fat worm but when a fistula is formed instead of finding its way around the intestine normally, flowing around the corners, it creates holes in the intestines walls and makes a short-cut to pass through.
The bowel resection I will be having is the removal of the diseased intestines and colon and then if there is enough healthy intestine that has not been attacked by my Crohns yet, the ends of all the little bits will be stitched or stapled back together. This is most likely what I will be having this time round. I say this time as it is unlikely I will not need further surgery because Crohns disease is a life long disease and cannot be treated, no matter how much of the disease you can surgically take out the disease will still be there lurking to take another bit later on.
However, when you do not have any healthy gut left, this is when the surgeon will create an opening called a stoma which is a hole through the skin of your stomach. The small intestine is then attached to the outer wall of your stomach (the stoma) and a bag is fitted so that any stool will pass into the bag, known as an ileostomy. This can be permanent or semi-permanent. Yes, that does literally mean that instead of winding down your intestine and lying in your stomach to be passed out of your arsehole it will come out of your intestine directly – no bumhole is damaged in this process.
So yes, that’s basically a simplified explanation of what I’m having. I’m thankful enough that I have my partner john who suffers with the other form of IBD, colitis, and he himself has had numerous surgeries. Although they did it in Spain and his interpreter was in the bed next to him with pneumonia so he couldn’t understand a word of what was happening, to which I’m fairly confident they stole his kidneys or intestines and sold them on the black market. So he understands and supports me through the process and we can both have mashed up looking stomachs together (as I know a lot of you with Crohns are worried about how your body will look post-surgery). He will argue with me till he’s blue in the face that he has a belly button but I can tell you he does not and his favourite thing to do when he’s had a drink is get his scars out and tell people he was attacked by a shark.
Also people have asked me why I have decided to do this now, to which the answer is, as I have been trying to have children for the past year or so, I have been unsuccessful and have miscarried twice. I have since found out that my Crohns has been too active and caused too much damage that my body was unable to keep the baby alive and growing normally. So after this surgery, not only will I be a hell of a lot better with my health but I may be able to carry children and have a normal pregnancy as well, which is my goal for the future.
Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more on the surgery or if you’re having it yourself and need some support.
*Diagrams from other sources