Not much to report today, which I view as a good thing given my recent difficulties. The new appliance we applied yesterday seems to be holding up pretty well. The wafer opening has “turtlenecked” slightly, but the stoma is still sitting pretty high and the seal appears tight. More importantly, I haven’t felt any burning sensation in conjunction with stoma output (which is a sign of a likely leak). And the overall pain/burning around my stoma seems to be somewhat improved, though I’m going to wait another day or two before I make any bold pronouncements that I’m on the mend.
My back pain persists. I’m now fairly certain that it is just really bad muscle spasms caused by a vicious cycle of post-surgery pain→awkward positioning→weak/healing stomach muscles (due to surgery)→overcompensation→muscle strain→spasm→pain→repeat. I’ve tried some new stretching exercises, walked more, and am consciously trying to maintain a better posture, but there have been so signs of improvement. Because I’m impatient (and in pain) and my nurse suggested I do so, I emailed my primary care doctor today to get his thoughts. Perhaps some mild muscle relaxants when I sleep may help to loosen things up just enough to stop the spasm. We’ll see.
In other news, I’ve spent the day wearing a Carefix StomaSafe support garment (available here). It took me several tries to figure out which way it goes on and how my bag fits into it (I bought the cheaper version, which is made of a gauze-like material with no obvious sign of which sides are the top or front). But once I figured it out, it worked as advertised. The bag fits securely in the pocket, and the opening at the bottom allows for drainage without having to remove the support (or the bag from the support). The StomaSafe holds the bag flat and tight to your body. I like this for three reasons:
- It makes it easier to wear regular clothes while concealing the bag. (My biggest issue now is that my stoma opening is pretty much at waist level, which can make it difficult to wear fitted pants).
- It provides support for the bag when walking or moving around. The weight of the bag does not tug on the appliance or stoma opening or get pulled when you twist or turn. It’s not perfect, but it’s an improvement.
- Like an ostomy belt, the tight-fitting StomaSafe helps to hold the appliance wafer close to the body providing some additional convexity—a must for folks with loop ileostomies (or an otherwise low-sitting or recessed stoma).
One downside is that it doesn’t play nicely with a full bag, especially bags filled with gas. This wasn’t a huge issue for me, but likely did prompt me to empty my bag more frequently than I otherwise would have (which isn’t a bad thing). I suppose it might be more of an issue if you were out somewhere where you couldn’t easily empty your bag. I also bought an ostomysecrets® “Classic Wrap.” It’s the same basic concept, but made of a thicker, sturdier material (and 3x the price). I didn’t care for it when I briefly tried it a few weeks ago. I plan to test drive it again in the coming days, and will let you know my verdict