As my surgery date approaches, I’ve continued to waffle about what to do or whether to go through with it at all. I know I need to do something. My current loop ileostomy is not a permanent solution. It will eventually degrade. It is in a bad position (right at the waistline, preventing me from wearing a belt or sitting without slouching). It is diverting digested food from traveling the full-length of the small intestine, reducing nutrient absorption. I either need to reverse the J-Pouch and get an permanent end ileostomy (i.e., remove the J-Pouch and create a new ileostomy from the freed-up small intestine) or try the takedown again. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve had a couple of small epiphanies that have convinced me—at least for the moment—that trying the takedown is the way to go.
First, a few days ago, as I sat on the toilet at 3am emptying my ostomy bag (as I do every night), a thought flashed through my mind: I don’t want to do this forever. I just don’t. It’s manageable; it’s livable; it’s better than being sick. But I don’t like it. It’s likely that I will have to get up in the middle of the night to “empty” my J-Pouch too, but it’s just not the same. There is something about this plastic thing hanging off of me, the crinkle of the plastic, the weight of it, and I’m just not a fan.
Second, after explaining my surgery options to a friend at work last week, she immediately responded: “Might as well go the optimistic route and try the takedown again.” The optimistic route. “Optimistic” is not an adjective often used to describe me. And, given the complications last time, staying optimistic about trying the takedown again has been particularly challenging. But my friend is absolutely right. Might as well go the optimistic route. Might as well try again for the life I wanted when I decided on surgery a year ago. Might as well believe it will work this time. If it doesn’t, I can always go for a permanent ileostomy down the road, but I might as well go for the best possible outcome now.
Takedown it is, July 2.