Just over nine years ago on the 11/11/2013, chapter one of My stoma story began. I affectionately named the cute red button on the left side of my abdomen, Rudolph. It was close to Christmas, and the red nose on the famous reindeer was my inspiration for the name.
Rudolph was a permanent addition to my life. Or so I thought! I never, for a moment, considered at some point in my future I would be saying RIP Rudolph and hello to a new colostomy on the other side of my abdomen.
A recent CT scan revealed an enormous parastomal hernia with a 5cm abdominal wall separation and my small bowel prolapsing through it into the abdominal cavity. I’m at extremely high risk of bowel strangulation, and my specialists are saying if, or actually, when this happens, I will not survive.
With these facts lit up like a high street advertisement board, it’s clear I only have one option…..surgery, major surgery!
From Sigmoid Colostomy to Transverse Colostomy
My Colorectal Surgeon has booked me in for a Laparotomy and re-siting of my stoma in the second week of March. While this is major invasive surgery, it is the safest way for him to access the mess in my abdomen, fix the prolapse, resect the bowel and adhesions, and re-site my stoma. This resection requires me to have a permanent Transverse Colostomy. This is made when the lower portion of the colon has to be removed or permanently rested for a number of reasons like diseased bowel, obstruction of the bowel, cancer,etc.
My existing colostomy is a Sigmoid Colostomy. It’s made from the sigmoid colon. The sigmoid colostomy is usually located in the lower left-hand side of the abdomen. It tends to operate normally in terms of output, whereas with my new stoma, I’m going to need to adjust to liquid, pasty type output.
My surgeon is waiting 2 weeks before doing my surgery to ensure he has his best team available and has time to plan carefully around my needs, as well as consult with my other specialists.
I’m so glad I have a little more time to prepare. Breathing space when facing life changing events is always a good thing.
I nearly cried at the end of my surgeon’s appointment (actually, I did cry, which is not like me at all). Why the tears? My surgeon is not charging me for the surgery. I would have been out of pocket by a few thousand dollars despite full health cover, and we had no idea how we were going to afford it.
What a blessing! Such an answer to prayer.
What’s In A Name?
I’m often asked why people with a stoma give it a name? Before having a colostomy, I also wondered why. Seems a little odd, doesn’t it. We don’t name our noses or feet or hands.
This article from stomatips.com is one of the best I’ve read, explaining the multiple reasons why naming a stoma has many advantages for the ostomate and close family and friends.
So a name has its uses, and choosing a name you feel comfortable with is really important in terms of acceptance and well-being.
For me I’ve found it makes it easier when I am in public at medical appointments, etc and I need to let my husband know I have a problem, I can simply say “ Rudolph is misbehaving ”. We can then swing into action and find the nearest disabled toilet without anyone having the faintest idea what I’m talking about.
The meaning of a name, or what it symbolises, is as important to me as the name itself. I had a few ideas I was toying with as I contemplated the creation of a new stoma, but some had connotations with death. I was leaning towards Poppy as a symbol of hope and remembrance, but as I dug deeper, they were also used by Egyptians in burials and particularly with mummification as a symbol of death, repose and eternal life. The poppy is also associated with opiates. I realised quickly that none of these associations were conjuring happy, peaceful feelings.
I decided I wanted a name that points to life, hope, and renewal. Something that makes me smile when I say it and gives me a sense of light heartedness.
After a little research, I came across the name Blossom. Without needing to do much investigation as soon as I saw the name, I immediately thought of life, growth, flourishing, etc. I wasn’t wrong in my interpretation of its meaning.
Blossom is a girl’s name of British origin, meaning “flower-like.” While the word blossom typically refers to a flower, it can also be used as a verb meaning ‘to flourish” or “thrive.” In the gardening world, the pink flowers of the cherry blossom tree are symbolic of renewal and growth during springtime.Thebump.com
So, the beginning of Blossom has commenced. It might be 2 weeks before my new stoma is formed, but I’m a firm believer in getting prepared ahead of time. To do so has always been the key to helping me accept the extraordinary challenges life has and continues to throw at me.
Facing an Uncertain Future With Hope and Faith
I can’t say I’m thrilled about my new circumstances. I really like Rudolph, and saying goodbye requires me to grieve. Nearly 10 years is a long time to care for something, especially when it’s literally a part of you.
I’m concerned about this upcoming surgery in terms of it being a laparotomy and invasive. So much could go wrong, and we are not sure what surprises my surgeon might find when he opens me up.
I am holding onto hope and my faith that God has His hand on my life. I feel encouraged. I thankfully found the name Blossom, and I am going to focus on flourishing and thriving post surgery.
Sometimes, all we can do is walk towards our challenges with a sense of resolve. Knowing we don’t have much of a choice can make acceptance easier, but it can also make you feel resentful if you don’t keep a check on your emotions.
I’m so tired and uncomfortable with this prolapse that I’m really at the place of “bring it on.” I can’t continue to live in my current state and the constant threat of my bowel strangulating. Given this confronting reality, I’m edging closer every day to looking forward to the “beginning of Blossom. “
With renewed faith, I know my path ahead is one I must travel. I have hope I will flourish and thrive with my new life with Blossom.
I’ll be a little quiet from a blogging and podcasting perspective for a few weeks post surgery, but I will be back as soon as possible mid March with an update on how I am and how life is blossoming again.
Lots of love, Sam xx
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3 thoughts on “My Stoma Story Chapter Two….The Beginning of Blossom”
Sam, Sheryl and I will continue to have you in our prayers. You have been for a few weeks and you will continue to have our faith that you will recover and be safe. Many blessings, and I am hoping blossom does enjoy its blossom in this world.
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Thanks so much Rick and Sheryl. Your support and prayers means a lot 🙏 ❤️