Well, it doesn’t get much more unpleasant than that. I just finished meeting with my new home stoma nurse. And by “meeting,” I mean laying on my couch for 45 minutes while she wiped and poked and sprayed and stuck Q-tips in and around my stoma. Given my skin inflammation (which, if anything, looked worse), it hurt. A lot. For pretty much the entire time.
On the plus side, this nurse at least seemed familiar with ileostomies and was knowledgeable about the various complications/solutions. As for my stoma troubles, she identified two issues—though neither seems likely to be the silver bullet to resolve my discomfort.
- My bag wafer was too small (7/8″). Stomas—especially loop ileostomy stomas—are always changing size, and it appears that what was the right size a week ago is no longer the right size. My stoma is also oval-shaped, as opposed to round, which can require a larger size or stretching the wafer.
- My stoma releases stool at skin level, which causes skin irritation. In my case, stool not only came in contact with my skin, but got into the pocket around and underneath the stoma (hence the 45 minutes of cleaning). Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about this, except use skin barrier spray/wipes and an Eakin seal (or other barrier ring) to help protect my skin.
Now that the surrounding skin is thoroughly cleaned, there’s a chance the stoma powder will (finally) work like it does for most people, but I’m not very optimistic. In all likelihood, I’ll just have to hope the irritation doesn’t get worse and be thankful that it’s only temporary. Seven more weeks temporary, but temporary.