Stoma Stories, Episode 11: “It’s going to hurt for awhile.”

I was back at the colorectal surgery clinic this afternoon so they could take a look at the slow-healing incision around my stoma. The good news is there is no sign of infection and, after we cleaned it up, they were satisfied that it’s on its way to healing—albeit slowly. They also removed the stitch (which had been getting stuck in (and pulled by) the appliance wafer) and snipped off a piece of skin/scab that was floating around in the wound. Although this will hopefully promote healing and lessen some of my pain, the bad news is that there is no instantaneous fix for the wound issue. It’s just going to take time to heal. And it’s almost certainly going to hurt in the meantime. On the mostly useless pain scale every hospital uses, my current pain level is a 7 or 8 (though fortunately not constant), which is as bad as it’s been since the hospital. Not super fun.

My basic care protocol for the incision is to clean it out really well during each appliance change (which will be easiest to do in the shower), dry it completely, and then fill the “gaps” in the incision with stoma powder before applying the new appliance. She also gave me Eakin Seals to use instead of stoma paste, because they offer similar skin protection, but don’t contain alcohol, which can irritate the raw skin. Unfortunately, they’re also not as flexible as the paste, and I think the rigidity is causing me some discomfort when I twist or turn the “wrong” way. We’ll see how it goes, but I may end up switching back to the paste (as long as you let it de-gas to allow the alcohol to evaporate, I’ve never had much problem with skin irritation). In time, the wound will supposed heal from the inside out and the pain should go away. Fortunately, the stoma itself is in good shape and I’m not having any issues with leakage, blockage, etc. (knock on wood). One complication is more than enough.

So no miracle cure—just reassurance that nothing is catastrophically wrong. And now we deal with it. And wait.

This entry was posted in Ileostomy, Stoma Stories, Surgery, Ulcerative Colitis and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Stoma Stories, Episode 11: “It’s going to hurt for awhile.”

  1. Pingback: What Ails Me Today | Know Guts

  2. Brett M. says:

    Wow, this sounds like it really sucks – I am so sorry this has been so difficult.

    My wife also had an inches-long incision that wouldn’t heal after her step-2 surgery — in her case it was due to infection, but after the infection was cleaned, it was the same sort of deal. Have faith — it does heal eventually — but it took a really long time to heal (approx 8 weeks). Our protocol was to fill the gaps in the incision with gauze to keep it dry and to re-pack the gauze every day — interesting that your docs are having you use stoma powder. One of the things we learned is that the presence of any fecal matter at the wound margins, even in microscopic amounts, interferes with healing, so the incisions at the stoma site always are the most difficult to heal.

    Your pain level sounds disturbingly high — reading your previous blog posts, I was surprised your docs didn’t put you on epidural anesthesia during and after your emergency surgery; the complete block tends to reduce stress and speed recovery (when my wife’s epidural failed was the only time we had significant surgical complications). I hope your docs can help you find something to reduce your pain on a day-to-day basis.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that your healing starts to speed up!

    • Ben says:

      Thanks, Brett. I appreciate the support and suggestions. The good news is the wound looked clean when I changed the appliance today. So hopefully additional time, combined with a steadily decreasing prednisone dose, will speed healing.

  3. Pingback: Forgetting to Blog | Know Guts

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