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9 days post surgery

Hello everyone! Got home 2 days ago, which made it exactly 1 week in hospital after abdominoperineal resection. Surgeon had to remove ovaries and tubes as well---they were swollen and ugly. No cancer. I got the last drain removed today from my bum----oh thank you! Abdominal incision looks really great---the buttcrack is REALLY ouchy---but all in good time. The ileostomy intimidates me a lot. I am scared to change the wafer, etc. Right now I am using the hollister thing--and I'm not really fond of it. It's quite bulky--but I know it will take time to pick and choose what brand as the stoma will have to recover postoperatively as well. Here are my questions: How do you sleep (mine's on the right side just slightly below belly button). How do you shower? Where do you put it (inside your underwear or outside--down your pants or outside your pants)? How often do you change the wafer? I have a home health nurse visiting twice weekly to check out my wounds and help with ileostomy. I believe she is coming tomorrow---but what better people to ask than the ones who do it every single day! Sorry I am being a little paranoid---still emotional I think from the "trauma" of such a big procedure. When I woke up in ICU my first thought was "Well I didn't die!" Yikes---no way that would have happened----I was on every prayer list from here to who knows where! Thank you everyone--I am going to bed now---still kinda whipped from the surgery! :cool::soledance: Snap (Dana)
Hey Dana glad to hear everything is working out for the best. I myself am about 8 weeks post op now. I will try to help answer any questions the best I can. I had my surgery laproscopic so I know that the healing process was different for me than those with the abdominal surgery when something has to be removed. As far as my ileostomy goes mine is pretty even with my belly button, slightly lower but not by much. I use Convatech two piece with clear bags as those are what I was given at the hospital.

Q: How do you sleep (mine's on the right side just slightly below belly button).
A: For me I am now starting to sleep on both sides but when I first had the surgery and was home recovering I tended to sleep on my right side with the stoma just resting on the mattress, I wasnt fully laying on my right side but it felt best for me. I know now that if I want to I can lay on my stomach as I had to for an MRI for 2 hours, but I dont like to. "You honestly just have to find the most comfortable position for you. As everything heals you wont even think about it honestly.

Q: How do you shower?
A: When I shower I keep the bag on and just dry it off with a blowdryer or the towel when I get out. If I am changing the bag that day I get in the shower with just the wafer on and peel that off in the shower and let the water run over the stoma. It doesnt hurt it and I feel much cleaner putting on a new wafer.
Q: Where do you put it (inside your underwear or outside--down your pants or outside your pants)?
A: I have longer bags cause apparently that is just the standard after the surgery until you change it. I fold my bag almost in half and wear two pairs of underwear. I wear my normal ones and then a pair of hi cut over top and tuck the bag in between so it is tucked in and not hanging but also not against my skin. I did this cause I didnt have the money for a belt to tuck it in or a wrap that Ostomy secrets sells. It works well for me and also helps if I want to wear tighter shirts because the high cut underwear act like a type of girdle almost but not tight and keep it against the skin so you cant even notice my bag.
Q: How often do you change the wafer?
A: I changed my wafer every 4 days at first. Now that I am back to work and moving around a lot more I noticed I have to change it a little sooner about every 3 days. I was told my wafer should last me about 3 to 5 days and so far it has with no problems.

Keep us posted on your post op recovery. Trust me your life will change with your ileostomy although it sucks now. I have more energy than ever before and have gained almost 20 lbs and enjoy my life again!


Hi Dana! Glad you are home safe and sound.

It IS quite a big adjustment to make. Also the fact that they have given you a hysterectomy at the same time....whew have you been through it!

You are so very fresh from surgery! When I first had surgery I slept on my back I admit. But after week or so I slept on my side (both sides). I use a pillow between my legs and one to sort of support my belly. I helps to keep pressure off your lower back, and keeps your spine straight, causing less pain and pressure on you.

How do you shower...For the first little while after surgery...very, very carefully! Do you have a walk in shower or a tub? If you have a tub you have to step over, get help if you need it. Also, make sure someone is there in the house with you. I showered with my bag on, and changed afterward. I HATE a wet bag! If you feel you need help to shower to begin with, dont worry, you are not alone!

You will have the larger bags to begin with because you may have more output in the first month or so. I change my wafter every 3-5 days. When I came home from hospital I had a one piece. I didnt change as often as I shoulve because I was so exhausted. If I'd come home with a two piece it wouldve been better.

Depending on what underwear I have on, I may tuck it in, or leave it out.

Dana, you are gonna be emotional not only due to surgery, but the removal of your ovaries. Thats one hell of a proceedure you've been through. The most important bit of advice I can give you is....be patient with yourself. Dont push it, and remember, you arent alone!
Hi Dana. I've had an ileostomy for 12 years, but remember well the early days!
You will get to find a comfortable way of sleeping - I sleep on both my right and left sides.
I use a one-piece opening bag, which I change every second or third day. If I am changing the bag, I take it off before I shower and find that the running water is the best thing for calming down any irritation and cleaning off any adhesive residue.You will get to learn when your ileostomy is least active and, if it fits in with your daily schedule, this is the best time to change your bag and shower with it off. If I am not changing the bag, I just dry it with a towel after my shower.
I also use longer bags because I have a retracted stoma and need a convex base and these are usually only available in longer bags. I wear midi briefs and wear my bag outside them because I find this more comfortable.
You will probably be very conscious of your bag at first, but, can I tell you from long experience, nobody else will.
It's not all easy and everyone with an ileostomy has had their dramas, but you will learn to cope. Do you have a stoma nurse (or the equivalent)? They often have samples that you can try and so find out the best brand and model for you. The various companies will also send you samples and have consultants that you can talk to on the telephone.
All the best - and don't hesitate to ask questions!
Thank you sooooo much Misty, Susan, and C. Girl! I think I'll take a "spit bath" until I'm a little braver (so who cares if I smell like a camel's butt---LOL). I do have a visiting nurse twice weekly--and she will be coming today and again Tuesday I think. Just need more confidence in changing it, etc. Funny how paranoid I am about leaks---so if it leaks, clean it up and change to a fresh and move on! Funny how sensitive you are after surgery--maybe it's all the anesthesia working it's way out! I'm sure I will have more ?'s later----thanks a billion! Merry Christmas Eve! Hugs, Dana
Oo yes, be very careful with those first few showers.. It used to be way too much for me in those first few days and my mum had to help me to make sure I didn't faint! I usually shower with my bag on but change it right after! If I had to change before the shower then I'll dry it with a hair dryer. I had a shower without my bag on today. Was nice to spend a bit of time with my stoma and he was very well behaved. I forget he's there the rest of the time so it was nice.

I hope you get on ok with the bag. I'm not even 3 months post surgery and mentally I feel exactly the same about myself as I did before. I even forget I've had anything done most of the time. I love not holding in farts or pooing out of my bum!! Hope you are able to enjoy Christmas!!