Back to Work

•June 29, 2009 • 4 Comments

Just a quick update on my progress.  I returned back to work this week and it has gone really well.  I don’t want to jinx myself, but the past two days have probably been the best two days at work yet.  I loved the freedom I had to do whatever I needed to do, without worry of needing a bathroom.  It was great seeing friends again and catching up with them.  I am hoping for even better days ahead.

It has been great to have so many people helping and praying for me along the way.  The other day I was trying to quickly cut the backyard before work, my neighbor saw me and offered to jump in and help.  He knew that I was getting ready to head to work for the first time, and he didn’t want me to be stressed before I left.  Lori and I love our neighbors.  We are really blessed to have good neighbors all around.  They have been very supportive and helpful through all of this.  It was a great start to my first day back. 🙂

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Beach Trip – Five Weeks Post Take Down

•June 27, 2009 • 2 Comments

I return back to work this weekend, so we took a few days to go to Cocoa and enjoy the pool and the ocean.  My J-pouch was very good to me while we were there.  I drove all the way there with out any incidents (1 hour drive), I went swimming in the pool, swimming in the ocean, and played around the hotel.  It was an awesome feeling to be able to do all of that with the family.

Over all the whole trip was an A+.  The ocean was a little weird on my J-pouch at first.  I don’t know this for a fact, but sometimes I feel like my pouch is moving around inside of me, I don’t know if it can still move around, but it feels like it is.  So, when I jumped into the ocean, I guess all the water pressure pushing on me and turning me all over the place, made my pouch feel VERY weird.  It took awhile for the body to get used to the pressure down there.

I don’t know if other J-pouchers experience the same feeling?  Sometimes when I sit for awhile and then stand up, it feels like all the blood rushes to my butt.  Kind of like a when you feel all the blood rush to your head, you feel all that pressure and it takes a second or two for it to level out.  That is what I feel, but it is in my butt.  Most times it goes away after a few seconds, but sometimes it lingers for 10 minutes or more.  That is annoying, real annoying.

Nights are still difficult for me.  We are continuing to try new things to help with my nights.  I am nervous about going back to work tomorrow because I am working a PM shift, so most of my shift will be during my worst hours. (4:00 to 11:00)  It will be a challenge that first night back.  I hope to have a good report later this week.

Here are some pics from the trip.  Enjoy.

Ready for some waves.

Ready for some waves.

Taking off!

Taking off!

Shipwrecked studs.

Shipwrecked studs.

My Love :-)

My Love 🙂

Doctor Visit – 6/24/09

•June 24, 2009 • 1 Comment

I can say this visit was much better than my last visit. (read it here)  Lori went with me and that help me to stay calm.  Usually when I get nervous I crack jokes, so I was crackin’ them like crazy.  Lori and I were dying laughing in the office.

My doctor came and and started checking my stomach and scar area.  “Everything is looking good,” he told me.  “Roll over on your side,” was his next statement.

I knew what that meant.  Gulp!  Here we go, some finger checking good time ahead.  I can say it was MUCH better than last time.  I didn’t feel as much pressure and I just tried to relax and breath while he checked me.  He said that I was still dilated and my opening was nothing like last time, so there was no need for any further stretching.  This was good news for me.

He told me it would be good for me to self dilate from time to time to keep the anus stretched.  I told him that I had tried twice over the past few days, but I wasn’t very successful.  He asked me if I felt the staples up in there?  I told him that I had not.  I didn’t realize that I will have staples in there for the rest of my life.  Where the J-pouch and the anus connect there is a ring of staples that, apparently I can feel when I dilate properly.

My Doctor gave me some pointers to help in my dilation process.  First, it is better if I don’t have anything in my pouch.  I made that mistake the other night.  I put my finger in and my butt popped like a balloon and I pooped/sprayed all over my hand. 😮  Thank God I had a glove on!!  So having an empty pouch can prevent that.  Second, I don’t have to dig around up there, just get my finger up to my knuckle to stretch that area where the pouch and the anus meet.  Third, wear gloves, use lubricant, and RELAX.  The last part is the hardest.  How do you relax during this?  People have told me that you learn to relax and it becomes easier.  I’m just glad that I don’t have to do it every day.

All in all it was a great day.  I am seeing so much success and improvement every day.  I am so thankful for my doctor and the surgery.  It really has been a blessing and really has given me my life back.  Thank You Jesus!!!

The Ups and Downs Continue

•June 22, 2009 • 3 Comments

I really have good and bad (sort of) news to share with all of you.  First the good news.  I had a wonderful week last week.  I did many things that I would have never done with my UC before the surgery.  I went on a 6 mile bike ride with the family.  We went to Kelly Park and went tubing down the river about 4 times with out any incidents.  It was weird, I didn’t even have to look for the bathrooms when we first got there.  Normally, anytime we went somewhere new, I HAD to know where everything was.  It really is a new freedom.  We also went to Wekiva Islands and went canoeing with some friends and hung out there for the day.  It was a lot of fun.  I have driven for over an hour in the car without any problems and have even slept a few nights for more than 5 hours without getting up!

Spending the day with friends

Spending the day with friends

Canoeing with the family

Canoeing with the family

I am very excited about having the surgery and I really wouldn’t change it.  I have really good days, when I don’t eat much the night before.  I try to stop eating after 7:00pm.  My system usually empties by 6:30am and then I have until around 5:00 that night to do what I want.  Night is still tough and I am working on stretching myself at night.

With all that said, there is some sorta bad news.  I had two accidents already at night.  One was very small, I think I farted before I could catch it while I was sleeping.  Unfortunately I can’t fart, ‘things’ come out when that happens.  So, I just dismissed it as an accident.  Then the other night I had more of an accident.  There was a lot.  The weird thing is I don’t remember getting up and going to the bathroom, I just kind of woke up and was sitting on the toilet going.  I guess I was ‘sleep pooping.’  Has that ever been documented?  Anyway, I was finishing up and pulled up my underwear and surprise!  I had a gift for me in there.  I am not really sure where the accident happened?  Was it before I made it to the bathroom, while I was sleep pooping, or did it happen as I was sitting down on the toilet and started just a second too soon?  Not sure I will ever know, but it was still discouraging.

Then I have noticed in the past day and a half that my urges are getting more and more intense.  I am starting to feel a little like I did the first and second week.  That probably means one thing… “Dilation”!  I don’t want to go to the hospital again so……..I may have to start dilating myself.  I told Lori tonight that I need to try self dilation to see if that relieves some of the pressure, and if I couldn’t do it she would have to do it.  She told me, “NO WAY!”  So, if I can’t do it, and Lori won’t do it, then we are going to call our good friend Kathy (the nurse) from Atlanta to come down and do it. LOL 😆

I go Wednesday to the Dr. so he can ‘teach’ me.  I am not looking forward to that visit.  I used to think the dentist was the worst doctor to visit, but I have changed my mind.  Fingers in my mouth?  Fingers in my butt?  Not too tough of a decision, you think?  I just hope the dilation works…..it did the last time!  I don’t want to feel this close to crapping my pants again.  I don’t want to go back to those days of all the pressure and feeling helpless.  If I have to dilate every so often, then bring it on!  I will do it to give me better health!  We’ll see……should be an interesting night at the Burton’s!!!!

Three Weeks Out – Post Take Down

•June 11, 2009 • 4 Comments

Today is the three week mark of my take down surgery.  Things have really been going well.  I have been out many times without any problems.  It is neat to feel ‘normal’ again.  My stomach muscles are just about all healed up.  The other day at the pool I could feel them hurting when I was climbing out of the side of the pool.  I guess you really used your muscles to pull yourself out of the water.  My scar is looking as good as a nasty scar can look.  I still have “Lumpy Lefty.”  I put a picture below to show you all a better angle of the lump.  I will be glad when that all levels out.  My stomach looks like a butt implant gone really bad, but I will take it over living with UC any day.

"Lumpy Lefty"

"Lumpy Lefty"

Scar at week 3

Scar at week 3

I am still learning about eating.  Last night I did not make good choices and today I am PAYING for it.  I have full butt burn back in action.  I haven’t really had any butt burn in over a week, but today I feel like I did the first week.  Ouch, it really hurts.  I was down to hardly using any cream this past week, but today I am lathering it on.

I still have a hard time at night.  I went out the other night and it was better than other times, but after an hour, I really needed to get home.  From about 5 or 6pm at night until 1 or 2 am I go about every hour.  I am hoping to get that under better control soon.  I return to work soon and I will most likely be working those hours, so I really don’t want to be running to the bathroom every hour at work.  I am going to try and not eat past 6:00pm and see if that helps end my bathroom time earlier.  We will see.

Mentally I have been doing MUCH better with the recovery.  My Dr. told me that the mind is the last thing to heal and I agree with him.  Physically I am healed, but mentally I am still healing.  When my body starts to have a pain or a feeling like I have to go to the bathroom, immediately my brain kicks into my UC days and starts to take over.  I really have to re-train my brain not to handle those feelings like that anymore.  That takes time.  It amazes me how much the mind can recall and repeat something that it has been conditioned to do over and over again.  I am seeing improvement, but at times I feel like I am learning to walk all over again.

A Good Time Out Today

•June 6, 2009 • 8 Comments

So I have been turning corners everyday.  It has been exciting to see the progress.  A friend of mine is under one week out from her take down, and she told me it is really rough on her.  I feel for her, because I KNOW how difficult that first week can be.  I realized that I became like an infant that first week: eat, poop, cry, sleep, eat, poop, cry sleep…  That was all I did for the first few days.  It wasn’t until mid way through the second week that I started to see real progress.

I went to the hospital yesterday for my early morning “stretching.”  I actually had what’s called a ‘stricture’, an abnormal narrowing of a bodily passage.  Scar tissue can form where my small intestine is attached to my anus….narrowing the opening.  This is probably what’s been causing my pressure down there.  While I was getting prepped I ran to the bathroom and when I came out, Lori was talking to the Dr.  He was telling her that she or I could do this at home, we didn’t need to come into the hospital and be put to sleep for it.  Lori and I both were like, “Nooooooo, nooooooo, noooooooo.”  Apparently the ‘tool’ that he was going to use can be purchased at local, ahhhh,  “special” stores.  Stores that Lori and I don’t frequent.  Hopefully we don’t need to buy anything for the future.

I had another major corner turn today.  I went out to our local shopping area, Waterford Lakes, for three hours today.  My panic attacks were mild.  I did have to use the bathroom once, and it was a little rough, but within 5 minutes of leaving the bathroom, I was back to something that was tolerable.  It was a huge step for me.  Lori was so excited she started crying in the car on the way home.  It felt good to be out, not completely worrying about a bathroom every second.  We will continue to ‘stretch’ my mental ability to travel more and more each day.  We are hoping for a day at the beach soon.

We also went on a walk tonight with some friends in our neighborhood.  Actually Lori and her friends ran it with the kids, but I walked it with my friend Dom.  We walked 1 mile out from the house (that is REALLY far for someone who couldn’t go three houses down three months ago in fear of having an accident.)  I had to fight some urges to go to the bathroom, but that is becoming a norm of getting used to the pouch.  The real celebration was me not panicking from being so far from the comforts of my house.  Knowing that I couldn’t get home ‘quick’ usually scares me, but tonight I was calm and just waited until I made it home.  Yeah 🙂  Never thought I would be happy to tell people that I can hold my poop.

Two Week Post Take Down Surgery

•June 4, 2009 • 9 Comments

Today is my two week mark from my take down surgery.  It has been a crazy two weeks with my emotions all over the board.  I can say that I am doing much better tonight than I was a week ago.  It has not been an easy road, and it is far from over, but I am seeing improvement, and that is a good thing.  Here are somethings that I have learned over the past two weeks.

Butt Burn is the most painful thing I have ever felt!  Nothing can accurately describe the pain from butt burn.  The closest might be hot, thick, liquid with sharp chunks of glass.  Even that seems easy compared to how it really felt.  I tried a lot of creams and remedies to help fight the burn, but nothing seemed to work until I found Ilex.  (A friend from Texas helped me with that one, I owe him a huge thanks for the advice.)  Within 8 hours of using the paste I was about 80% better.  It was amazing.  For those of you who read my blog and are preparing for surgery, I would try the Ilex if the other creams do not work.  Ilex is great, but it has it trade off.  Ilex is a butt paste, it is like skin in a tube.  When you put it on your body, it sticks.  My first advice, and the most important advice, is get your spouse, significant other, your REALLY good friend, or a good mirror and shave your self down there.  If you do not you will have dingle berrys of biblical proportions.  This stuff does NOT rub off, it clumps up.  Trust me, shave.  Another issue is the stuff really is paste.  Your butt cheeks will stick together.  You have to separate your bottom before you go, that is kind of a weird feeling.  Then when you wipe, the toilet paper can stick to the stuff, so now you have clumps of paste and clumps of toilet paper down there.  The first few days I took about 3 or 4 showers a day to let the hot water run over that area and loosen the paste so I could get it off my body.  Great stuff, just kind of messy.

I have also learned that what I eat effects my outcome.  In the first few days I ate everything and anything that I wanted.  I love to use food to comfort my woes and I had many woes.  I didn’t realize that my food was not helping my woes, but adding to them.  Two days ago I watched what I ate all day.  I was very selective in what I ate, and I had the best day since my surgery.  Everything was clicking along just great.  Then yesterday I decided to eat whatever I wanted.  Between lunch and dinner I had 5 hot dogs, chips, Mac-n-cheese, 2 cookies, yogurt, cake, ice cream, cheese curds, and some soda.  Yeah… that wasn’t smart.  By the end of the night my butt burn was returning, my bathroom times increased by almost double and I was just over all feeling horrible.  Today I watched what I ate again and it has been a great day.  So food is very important to how you feel.  I have to eat simple meals.  One or maybe two things like: A baked potato, chicken and rice, toast, single slice of cheese pizza, small salad, something like that.  I can’t do the 6 different items at one sitting right now, that is too hard on my system.

The mental battle is still just that, a battle.  I have done better, but it is going to be a long road for me.  I still panic when I am out.  I have gone out by myself and had good success, but I still have panic attacks, and I still feel like I am going to crap in my pants.  I hope these subside in the next few weeks, time will tell.

I am currently averaging 10 trips to the bathroom in a 24 hour period …..when I eat right.  Sometimes I actually have solid looking stool.  That is a first in 5 years!!

Over all week two has been nothing like week one.  I have seen many things get better.  I notice that I am holding more in my J-pouch before I go to the bathroom.  It isn’t a lot, but it is more than in week one.  I am looking forward to week three to see what else gets better.

I have to go to the hospital tomorrow so the Dr. can ‘stretch’ me down there.  (Read my last post if you don’t know what I am talking about.)  I hope that helps and that everything goes well.

Here is a pic of my scars.  There is a scab that has formed on my last scar, but that should heal in the next week.  Over all the scaring isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  The worst thing is the large fat lump I have on my left side.  Maybe my new nickname will have to be “Lumpy Lefty.”  My Dr. said it should go down over the next year, YEAH fun time swimming this year.

2 week post takedown

2 week post takedown