Depressed and Struggling

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 7/23/2008 3:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I was doing pretty well after having the emergency surgery and so many complications (a month in the hospital) back in mid-May. I have been home recuperating and things seemed to be progressing. But within the last two-three weeks I seem to have gone backwards. Last week I picked up a virus and ended up in the hospital overnight due to dehydration. And I've been having problems with leaking -- I found a really good nurse who is trying to help me find the right combination of bag/wafter/seal to solve that. Which is great but the process is frustrating and I'm tired of not feeling good -- I end up obsessing about the bag and if it's leaking, etc.

To top it off I can't sleep at night now -- I toss and turn for hours. I've been having chest pain which hopefully is just my acid reflux acting up -- I'm going to talk to the surgeon on Monday about all this.

But it seems I'm going backwards and the depression is swamping me. I've always been prone to bouts of depression but never like this. I have an antidepressant but I'm a bit scared to take it because I worry there will be side effects that will make things worse. I've never tried one before. I can't afford a therapist as we have huge medical bills from the surgery and all the scans and tests for weeks even after I got out of the hospital. And the support group that meets once a month is an hour drive (at least) from where I live. I feel very isolated right now. My husband is "tired" of thinking about all this and doesn't want to hear about how I feel -- he wants me to be happy again -- sigh.

I have to go back to work August 1st which seemed fine earlier but now I'm worried I'll be overwhelmed and I'll fail.

I won't be able to have the reversal surgery until next summer (have to build up my vacation/sick time again since I depleted it all) but even that panics me. I'm terrified of more complications and never feeling "normal" again.

I know I should be happy to be alive but I just can't seem to put it into any perspective right now. I don't feel like I'm any good at anything -- being a mom, or a wife, or an employee, or just me. I want to feel better, why does this seem so hard right now?!

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 7/23/2008 3:48 PM (GMT -6)   

I inadvertently learned a trick from my ICU nurse back in March that may help you also.  She would come in every morning and sit with me to discuss what goals we (me and her) had for me for the day.  The first day was sitting in a chair and small things like that but it gave me direction.  She wrote them on the dry erase board on my wall so that I could see them all day and would mark them out when I accomplished one.  When I left ICU she explained the reaon is to keep my mind focused on progress so my mind wouldn't wander to thinking about the bad things.  It did me good and now I have continued that in my daily life.  I used to drive truck over the road but haven't been able to since the first of the year.  It was a big shell shock for me, I was used to working all day and now was stuck at home with a routine I coudn't relate with.  By giving myself "goals" for the day I was able to think about what all I had to do for the day and at the same time keeping myself from constantly thinking about the "bag" and all the problems that could happen.  At the end of the day I review what I have done and reflect at all that I was able to accomplish with the bag.  By seeing that you can accomplish these things at home should help to see that you can do it at work too.  I hope this helps, it has realy worked for me when I got down and felt helpless right after my first surgery.


Total Colectomy with End Ileostomy May 27th, 2008

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 208
   Posted 7/23/2008 4:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Doodle, My name is Amanda. I am 28 and had a subtotal colectomy with ileo rectal anstamosis last year. I too like yourself have become someone else. I have 4 young boys and a very busy husband, and it is a strain on everyone. I was offered anti-depresants a wee while ago and I refused, I gave in and went back and got them, and what a differnce it has made. I am on fluoxetine/prozac in the morning and amitryptiline at bed. Both are helping in their own little way. It does put a strain on your marriage but what doesn't these days. I find it hard to make love to myhusband cos of pain but we have lots of cuddles and laugh constantly. if we didn't we would probably cry. But friends are also needed. I couldn't have done any of this without support from both family and friends. You need both in your life, especially at difficult times like this. I also used to feel as if I were the only one suffering like this. I have had bowel problems since a baby. It took 27 years for something to be done other than tests. Docs were amazed i actually had 4 kids too, throughout all the misery. But my advice to you. Try the meds! If you want to. Its not for life. But if they have been prescribed you should try them. And laugh as much as you can. Get your friends to make you laugh, get your hubby to act like he used to b4 surgery, and try andsmile. I know it feels like hell right now, i felt exact same, and even now still have problems with my bowel, but aslong as have my family and friends I know I can get through anything the man upstairs decides to launch at me. lol Listen to your fav music and watch your fav hunks in the movies always puts a smile on my face. I came on to this site about 4 days ago, and I am so glad I did, cos it is only then you realise how many people are going through the exact same emotions and pain as yourself. Take care and I hope you are on the mend soon. I will be thinking about you xxx

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 7/23/2008 4:39 PM (GMT -6)   
she is so right about laughing. This sounds stupid but laughing and smiling, even when you dont feel like it, actually make you happier, something to do with some chemical.
Doodle i don't know what was wrong with you that you had to have the surgery. But the surgery did save your life and that is something you have to concentrate on. And also, i know it is so hard right now, but life with the bag is NOT the end of your life! Its very normal to be obsessed with messing with it at first, i probably opened and closed it 50 times at first, just to make sure it was right. I did that for probably four months. But as time went on, i got more confident about it, and you will too, it will help alot when you stop having leaks. Something that helps with that is to use the hairdryer on the wafer when you first put it on. Also, those skin preps can shorten wear time. There are some on here that swear by Eakin seals, i can't figure them out though, lol.
After about six months i got where i would forget i had it everyonce ina while, and now over a year later, the majority of the time, i don't even remember i have it!

And you are NOT alone, we are always here for you, and i will keep you in my thoughts.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 39
   Posted 7/23/2008 6:06 PM (GMT -6)   
I can relate to what you are going through. A few weeks out from surgery I got REALLY depressed. I actually did not notice until my Mom brought it to my attention, and then I realized, she is right, I need help. I was crying a lot and just generally down on life. I also was scared as it was getting close to being time to go back to work. What worked for me was getting out more and being around people. But, I must say, try the antidepressant. I did not take one this past time of depression, but about 4 years ago when I was having soooo many problems with my constipation and had not yet found a regimen that worked for me, I went into a deep depression and my doctor gave me Lexapro. Like you, I could not afford a therapist. It was one of the best decisions of my life. I quickly began to feel better, laugh, and deal with my health problems in a much more positive way. Word of caution though, you may have to try a few antidepressants before you find one that works for you. If you start taking it and feel worse or 'out of body', call your doctor and try to get a script for a different one. There are lots of antidepressants out there, but finding the right one is almost an art form. Second thing I want to tell you is that going back to work made me feel so much better. Being around people and not having endless hours to sit at home and think about "poor me" really helped my outlook and actually gave me more energy (I was worried I would be wiped out). Stay positive, this will pass, you will feel like yourself again. We are given challenges to face throughout our lives and getting through them only makes us stronger. You are not alone.
Sigmoid Resection due to sigmoidocele 3/07
Total Colectomy due to colonic inertia 2/08

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 7/23/2008 6:47 PM (GMT -6)   
hang in there Doodle38...emergency surgery is ALOT to deal with (for both you and your family). I definately liked the suggestions of focusing on something possitive...I have always followed that for myself. Talk to your doc and express your concerns, they should be able to prescribe something for you.

Make sure you are using a non-residue soap when cleaning your stoma area and some wafers do not work well with skin prep. I am a fan of the Eakin Seal, it really works at filling any gaps (my stomach is uneven).

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5698
   Posted 7/23/2008 7:18 PM (GMT -6)   

Okay, here's the truth.  This surgery is complex and difficult.  Recovery is hard enough when surgery is done when the patient is healthy but it's much harder when the patient has had the surgery in an emergency situation.  Your recovery will take months, not weeks or days.  You probably will see improvements in six week increments; but you will get better!  Have patience, get plenty of rest, and I found going back to work distracted me from my butt and allowed me to recover mostly without thinking about it all the time.



dx proctitis in 1987
dx UC in 1991, was stable until 1998

1998 started prednisone, asacol, pentasa, nortriptylene, ativan, 6MP, rowasa enemas and suppositories, hydrocortisone enemas, tried the SCD diet, being a vegetarian, omega 3s, flax, pranic healing, yoga, acupuncture, probiotics

2000 lost all my B-12 stores and became anemic

2001 opted for j-pouch surgery- now living life med-free

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