- I'm Carole, living in London, happily married and mum to two amazing boys.I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectal Cancer in April 2010. Surgery took place in November 2010 and I now have a permanent colostomy...Spinal mets were then diagnosed in October 2011...In January 2012 I was told of further spread to the hip area (multiple lesions)..My life expectancy is now 6-9 months. Walk alongside me on the last part of my experience with this..
Monday, 10 January 2011
Bum update !!!
This post contains detailed information about my bum - so if you don't want to know, then don't read it....I won't be offended :-)
As you all know my rectum, anus and 15 inches of colon was removed during my op along with the stage 3a tumour and one impacted lymph node.
My surgery was carried out via keyhole operation which makes the healing of the stomach wounds much simpler. I can confirm that my stomach wounds - 3 small incisions - have all healed perfectly well and are now nothing more than very small light marks on my tummy....however the APR wound (I am stitched from the top of my bum just under the tail of my spine to directly underneath the vaginal area) is not healing - yet.
When the stitches were removed the surgeon was concerned about an area near to the end of the stitches, close to the vaginal area, but this has healed perfectly now. However an area that WAS stitched, and holding, no longer is. The part that has decided to be stubborn is about 3 inches from the tail of my spine and has opened up to about 2.5 cms now - it is also very deep and therefore being packed with the Aquacell treatment.
Over the past week or so the wound has become really sore and 'angry' although according to the nurse 'not infected'...I have my doubts about the 'no infection' part of our conversations as internally feels very 'hot', sore and hard itchy lumps in places - although not directly on the stitch line.
The nurse has debated that it's hot and itchy due to the natural healing taking place - but as I've recently pointed out the natural healing is not doing so well, considering the open part of the wound was approximately 1.5cms and is now 2.5cms......I find it hard to get my head around how a wound getting slightly larger is actually 'healing'.
I'd like to say that I'm feeling confident that all will be healed up and feeling fine soon - but truthfully I'm not so optimistic.
Right now, sitting in one position for more than half an hour is very uncomfortable - getting up and down from a sitting position hurts and I have to be careful how I move (any sudden movement is agony)...... I'm bleeding daily from the wound and although not excessive it's enough to require redressing in-between seeing the nurse twice a week (hence I do my own redressing on the in-between days).
Before the op they did discuss with me the possibility that the wound could break down after the surgery due to the way I'd burned during the Radiotherapy treatment. It affects how the skin repairs apparently....I was concerned but felt that as others things had gone wrong with my treatment plan THIS would be the one thing that went right (*or at least 'okay')....but it seems it's not to be.
My job involves sitting at a desk in one position for hours at a time - something I'm totally struggling with right now therefore this puts my plans to return to work as soon as possible onto the back burner again. I feel like it's still one step forward and two steps backwards.
Right now, onto the stoma and colostomy. This is all fine, healed well and all stitches have now been eaten up by my body naturally :-) .......I had a few stubborn stitches which the stoma nurses were going to remove for me but they've now disappeared themselves.
The care of the stoma is easy and mentally I've moved on from disgust to disinterest...I now view it as 'permanent' and therefore not worth wasting time feeling stressed about it.
As I said in an earlier post I've been sourcing different bags and once I find one I'm totally happy with the stoma situation is more or less done and dusted.
I realised that the colostomy wasn't bothering me in the same way when I answered a post from someone on a cancer forum who was feeling really concerned about their pending surgery and the permanent bag situation - when I read back what I'd said to this person, I realised that I meant every word of it and in all honesty, 2 months down the line, the colostomy is no longer a huge issue for me.
Yes it's life-changing...yes it's 'odd'...yes it's different but it's not as awful as I'd decided it would be before surgery.
It's the fear of the unknown, the thought of being 'different' and not knowing what to expect that freaked me out - as I'm sure it does for a lot of people. I no longer care much about the bag - it's part of my day to day routine now....
However - the wound is a big deal and I want it to heal... and until it does I can't even think about getting back to normal day to day things and I can't move on.
I don't want my every thought to be about bloody cancer, tumours and surgery but until this last thing is done I feel I'm stuck being a patient when what I want is to be as normal as I can - at least until the next scans and check up in June.
So, that's the current 'bum' situation - for all who have asked and wanted to know :-)