I had my colectomy and ileostomy due to UC. I was leaning towards the operation, and then my liver began failing because of all the meds, so it became a no- brainer.
I can tell you this. The surgery is a big one. It isn't fun or easy. HOWEVER, it is sooo worth it, at least it was for me. I felt a zillion times better with my ileo. I went back to the gym because I finally had energy again. I lost 60 pounds of pred weight. The surgery itself is painful while you recover. But you get good pain meds! The ileosotmy does not hurt to touch - it doesn't have nerve endings, so that impossible. You can develop sores around the stoma, and those may itch or hurt a little, but not everyone gets them.
I am opting for a jpouch. I had step two of my three step process a couple weeks ago. I can't wait for step 3 and to have this over with, I can tell you that! But I do wish I had done this long ago. I'm a girl, so I can't help on the guy stuff :). What else? Oh - I went back to work a couple motnhs after my first surgery. My recovery was a little long, because I was so so sick going into it.
I will tell you that the healthier you can be when you go into surgery the better, So take care of yourself.
Keep us updated on you! And ask all the questions you want.
If at first you do not succeed, then skydiving is surely not meant for you.
Jo - UC, total colectomy and ileostomy on August 24, 2008.