One year on the bag

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Wade457
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 12/9/2008 1:13 PM (GMT -7)   
It's been a year since I got home after a total ilestomy. October 17 2007 was the day my life changed when after a year of UC I finally gave up hope of ever being healed and decided to go under the knife and get my colon taken out..

I felt good at first, of course, my trusty morphine pump that I could press a button and get the dose and kill any pain I had, but that was taken out after a few days at the hospital, I was up out of bed and walking around the ward. until one day I found I coudn't get out of bed with a while cell count of over 100,000 - a staph infection got me and I coudln't move by the end of the day.. and two months in a nursing home before I could move around with a walker. but that was a year ago.

Today I just returned from a business trip to northern Canada without a second thought. No one can tell that I have an ostemy bag on me. I've gotten so good with the bag that it stays on for about 4 or 5 days until it needs to be changed. Although I've changed my diet and I don't eat a very large dinner - actually I stop eating any food by 3:00pm each day.. and have a very large breakfast so I don't have to get up at 3:00am and empty the bag.

Fortunately, my company lets me work from home almost 100% of the time. When I have to meet customers I don't have a problem wearing business clothes and a suit. The bag tucks inside my shirt and pants nicely.. And I keep a small cup in my office to go into the lav so I can fill it with water and rinse out the bag when I empty it. These are the changes I've gone though.. which are a piece of pie considering what life was with UC. I wouldn't wish that disease on my worst enemy..

I had the J-Pouch made inside me.. When I first got out of the hospital a year ago, I was expecting to go back in after 3 months and get the reversal. But then I put it off for a month.. then two months. Then I asked my doctor what if I put it off for a year? The answer was: Nothing. I can get a reversal anytime I wanted to.. But what would life be like if I went back and had the J-Pouch connected...?

The answer I got was that I wouldnt' be much better off than I am now. I'd have to go though another recovery period. What I would pass out would not be what it was before I had UC..

So why should I bother? I'm healthy now.. I've adjusted my life to living with the bag. Can anyone tell me what advantages there are in going back for the reversal operation?

Charlotte Gilman
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 100
   Posted 12/9/2008 1:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Wade, I had the j-pouch done in April and the reversal in early July. I was pretty well adapted to the ileostomy, but for me the j-pouch is better in the following ways:

1. No gear to cart around. I also travel a lot, and it's nice not to need all the stuff.
2. Less dehyration. I was never hospitalized for dehydration or anything, but I had to drink almost all day with the ileo; now I don't have to be as observant about it.
3. Less vivid physical reminders of all those years I spent sick.

That's all besides the body-image aspect, which isn't small. My output is pretty close to what it was before UC (albeit more frequent).

One other thing you should know is that because you had the j-pouch created with the piece of small bowel that does the best job absorbing vitamin B-12, that piece of bowel is now bypassed by the ileo and you may need B-12 shots. (I don't so far, and most people with connected J-pouches don't either.) Get it checked every year or so if you're going to skip the reconnect.

I was out of the hospital in two days after the reversal and back to work in two weeks. Whatever you decide, enjoy your health!

suebear
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5696
   Posted 12/9/2008 2:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Wade,

You have adapted well to the ostomy and you certainly don't have to proceed with the next surgery. However, at some point you will need to make your temp osotomy and permanent ostomy and then also have your anus sewn shut. So, there is more surgery in your future no matter which decision you choose.

I chose a jpouch because of my lifestyle. I am a long distance hiker (100-200 miles) and a backpacker. An ostomy didn't really fit with my active life. I am happy with the jpouch but I also know lots of people who are happy with their ostomies. It's your choice!

Sue
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


pj6047
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/9/2008 3:45 PM (GMT -7)   
 My name is Paula. I was born with Familial Polyposis, a disease of the large intestine, maglinate and is  inherited. Finally after  8 abdominal surgeries, I had a total colectomy, J Pouch in 2000. I live with diarrhea all the time. Now I have adhesions so bad they cause small bowel blockages. Cramping so bad, no BM, throwing up. Usually I end up in hospital. I take 8 imodium a day, bentyl 4 times a day and donnatal after meals. I only eat once a day because as soon as I eat I start going to bathroom. I am very depressed. My colon or lack of controls my life. Would a permanent ileostomy be the answer to my problems? I don't know. Will my pain be over? My Dr's can not answer my questions. Can anyone relate to any of this?
Vitamin B-12 def. anemic, iron def, dehydration, I eat crushed ice all the time. It is easier to tell someone what I can eat than what I can't. I have 2 grown children and 6 grandchildren and a lot of living to do. I hope someone is listening, it would be nice to know I am not alone. Thanks. My email address is pj60472007@yahoo.com. I wish all of you good health. Good luck.

suebear
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5696
   Posted 12/9/2008 4:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Paula,

I am sorry you have suffered so with the jpouch. Your situation is atypical of most pouchers. I encourage you to visit www.j-pouch.org and post your problems there. There might be some people who have suggestions as to ow to improve your quality of life or at least help you decide on the future.

Sue
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


pj6047
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/9/2008 4:10 PM (GMT -7)   
 Sue, thank you so much for your reply, and the info.  You are the very first one.  I wish you the best. Happy Holidays. PJ

summerstorm
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 12/9/2008 10:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Wade-its great that you are doing so well and happy! that's what is the most important!
I opted for the perm ileo, casue honestly after 8 years of UC i never wanted to use the bathroom the regular way again!
I also didn't see how still going to the bathroom 4-8 times a day would help me out, lol. There were other things like the possibilty of pouch failure and pouchitis. But those are rare, and dont' happen to most people.
I do live a pretty active lifestyle, not like suebear though, she is awesome, lol.
But i do go to the gym and i have a son (3) who is a wild man, and we go ontrips and i go out with friends ever friday night. Those are all freedoms it has given me.

PJ-i am sorry i do not have any advice for you, but i hope you feel better soon and get some help.

Charlotte Gilman
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 100
   Posted 12/10/2008 8:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Just two quick things, not so much for Wade but for other lurkers who might be trying to decide between their options:

On the 4-6 times a day thing: 1. it may be more but 2. even at that, for me it is no more frequently than I went to the bathroom to empty the bag when I had the ileostomy, and no more urgent. It generally takes the same amount of time when I'm in there. If you've got a loop ileo, Wade, chances are that that is/would be the same for you, though you could have surgery to switch to an end ileostomy and maybe empty less often.

92.3% of people with the pouch report "good" or "excellent" quality of life--that's more than any other medical treatment for UC, which I think GIs ought to mention sooner than they do. (And that's not screening out people who experience pouchitis or pouch failure--it includes them in the group from which that number is calculated.) The same is basically true of people with ileostomies, though they report lower satisfaction with body image. So it's probably about even, as the researchers measure it.

PS PJ, when you say your doctor has no answers, do you mean your surgeon or your GI? If it's the GI, I would definitely go back to a surgeon. And if it's the surgeon, I would try another one--preferably someone with a lot of j-pouch experience. If you've got insurance and it covers it, I can highly recommend at least one at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and have heard fantastic things about others there, also.

Post Edited (Charlotte Gilman) : 12/10/2008 8:54:17 AM (GMT-7)


Wade457
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 12/10/2008 7:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all for your thoughts. The only person I've talked about this (other than my GI and my Surgeon) has been Mrs Wade.

When I first came down with UC, it was this creeping illness. First i thought it was common diarrhea , and for a week or so I tried the over the counter remedies to no avail. Then my internist gave me some antibiotics, and it was a month before I saw my GI. She recognized what it was very quickly and I started on the first of several medications, including the prednizone ... one of the most evil medicines created by man i think :) After almost a year of going to the ER dehydradted and sometimes spending a few days in the ward, but mostly getting a bag or two of saline I had reached the end of what my GI could do for me. I was so bad that the last time I went to the ER, the med-tech couldn't find a vein in either of my arms, and I must have been stuck abuot a dozen times before the IV worked. Even when I had the surgery to remove my colon, I had to have a central line put in my chest just below my neck.. and had 2 units of blood as my red count was low. I'd go in the ER with blood pressures of 30/50... all that seems so long ago now..

I don't think I'd be here writing to you if I hadn't had the operation.. It's that simple. Even now it's unbelievable to me that a 52-yar old man who never had been sick (seriously) a day in his life and was still at his high school weight could be taken down so fast and so hard by UC... I think also during the year of hell (2007), I was in denial about all of this thinking it would just go away .. it never did.. I'm 6' and was at 190 pounds before the UC. when I got out of the Nursing home after dealing with the staph infection I was at 133... Today i'm back to about 180 and want to stay that way..

What I'm concerned about is not about the surgery ... been there did that already.. but the effects of the poop that comes out of me If I elect for the surgery to activate the J-pouch. I've read that it's very irritating to my skin and that I'd need to put on some sort of skin cream to alleviate the irritation. One of the steps in recovering this past year was just the ability to put normal underwear back on. Those friggin depends got to be uncomfortable as heck and I was so glad to just wear normal cotton ones again. Will I have to go back to those depends if I have the reversal ? Again, because what will be coming out won't be the same as it was before, willI have to worry about accidents? Will I be able to sleep at night and mess up the bed?

God I'm sorry to have to ask these questions, but after a year of UC and dealing with krap all over the place It's just that now, I'm at a point that I can deal with it... and facing the unknown again is something that I need to decide.. and if anyone can answer these questions.. it's those of you who have been though all of this...

I think I need another year yet to decide how to end this.. if it ever really does end.. The only thing I missed this year was swimming.. which, of course, I can't do right now.. Going out to dinner also is another thing, as if I eat in the evenings. I have to deal with issues at 3am that I'd rather be sleeping.. So that's why I stop eating anything pretty much before 3 in the afternoon so my body can process it.. Also eating a wider variety of food would be good. as I've noticed that some foods use a LOT more water than others.

I know lots of questions. But I'm a long way from the day I got home and as I think of it today, a year later... was really totally unprepared for what was ahead of me.. I'd just to have a bit of guidence now as what I consider the midpoint of this adventure ....

Wade457
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 12/10/2008 8:08 PM (GMT -7)   
summerstorm said...
Wade-its great that you are doing so well and happy! that's what is the most important!
I opted for the perm ileo, casue honestly after 8 years of UC i never wanted to use the bathroom the regular way again!
I also didn't see how still going to the bathroom 4-8 times a day would help me out, lol. There were other things like the possibilty of pouch failure and pouchitis. But those are rare, and dont' happen to most people.
I do live a pretty active lifestyle, not like suebear though, she is awesome, lol.
But i do go to the gym and i have a son (3) who is a wild man, and we go ontrips and i go out with friends ever friday night. Those are all freedoms it has given me.

PJ-i am sorry i do not have any advice for you, but i hope you feel better soon and get some help.


Well and happy. Yes I'm much better and living life that appears normal.. but it's not the same as it was before. Going out bowling and havng pizza at midnight are fond memories that are still out of reach I suppose. But the important thing is that I'm alive.. everything else is relative...

One of the things Mrs Wade has noticed about me is that very little bothers me any longer. I'm a much calmer person than I was before because when the little irritations of life happen.. especially because I live in a large city and have to deal with traffic.. It just doesn't bother me the way things used to..

Also a lot of things that were happening to my body over the past 5-6 years remarkably went away when I had my colon removed. I was diagnosed as a diabetic in 2000. Today my blood suars are normal. I had marginal high blood pressure. about 140/100 no longer. . It must all have been the problems in the colon that were causing my body to go out of whack. Amazing what a little going under the knife can do to a person I suppose :)

I think the best word is "adjusted" ... and I'm at a stage where I need to just decide whether to stay this way.. or go ahead and finish the operations.. get the J-pouch working and get rid of this bag.. and leave Hollister out of my life... Or welcome the calls I get each month from my supplier and put the order in for supplies for the next 40 years or until medical science develops artificial colons or colon transplants. :) But .. I suspect.. that's not yet to come until long after I'm an entry in an encyclopedia with two dates next to my name in parentheses....

suebear
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5696
   Posted 12/10/2008 8:31 PM (GMT -7)   

Wade,

All the surgical choices for UC have pros and cons.  There is no perfect surgery but there is a surgery that is perfect for you and it's the one you can stand behind (no pun intended!).

I think the stories you have heard about the jpouch are the worst of the worst.  If those of us with jpouches had to live the way you describe I can promise you that none of us would keep the jpouch.  As for me, I have never worn depends.  Yes, I had some intial leaking but it resolved itself and it was minor.  Yes, I go more frequently than those with colons but it doesn't get in the way of my activities, and I am active.  If you were to opt for the jpouch, yes you would have to endure some more recovery and adaptation and it doesn't sound as if you're up to doing that.  And like I said, if you can't get on board with your choice there is no sense in pursuing it.

Sue


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


summerstorm
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 12/10/2008 9:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Wade-why is going out bowling and eating pizza at midnight out of the question? I take my son bowling all the time, and sometimes i actually do it too, not well, but i try, lol. I eat lots of different foods. If you dont' like having the watery output you can use these gel-x tabs that kind of soak it up and make it thicker. Or you can eat bananas or potatos which will thicken it up. Or take an immodium if you dont want alot ot come out for a while. And i swam numerous times over the summer. i even spent 6 and half hours in the pool one night (which by the way if you want to keep your skin on and not be a prune, literally, for a week, i dont' suggest, lol) and had NO problems. I have done lots of crazy things with this bag, pudding wrestling, riding a zip line, going down slides regular ones and water.
On fridays i go out with my friends and we stay up till usually at least 3, and i eat then and have no problems. I have foudn no matter how late i eat that i still have to get up and emtpy and that if i dont eat i get up starving with lots of gas, lol. My husband asked me the other day, "how can you get up at 8 on Friday monring and stay up until 3 or 4?" i said, "before i got sick i did that all the time, and i just didnt realize how much that sickness was doing to me" and he said, "yeah you slept all the time when you were sick" and i did, i realize that now.

I noticed that some problems i had went away after my surgery also. Its amazing just how much damage having that toxic colon in your body can do.

Shaz032
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1250
   Posted 12/11/2008 5:34 AM (GMT -7)   
I agree with Summerstorm - bowling and midnight pizzas aren't out of the question. I've been bowling numerous times and had many midnight feasts as a young adult (still do occasionally) without a problem :) I've been kayaking, swim regularly in summer, ridden elephants and camels, went on a jetboat last weekend, been rock climbing, on a flying fox, rollercoaster rides, etc all without a problem.

Your ostomy shouldn't stop you from doing anything you want to do - only your mind will. YOU control your ostomy, not the other way round - don't let it dictate to you what you can and can't do!
I have had an ileostomy for 32 years now due to UC.
 
Moderator of the Ostomy Forum
_______________________________________________
 
I'm not a complete idiot - some parts of me are missing!


Charlotte Gilman
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 100
   Posted 12/11/2008 9:34 AM (GMT -7)   
I think Wade (Wade, correct me if I'm wrong) was saying that he doesn't eat late (in settings like bowling) because he doesn't like having to get up in the middle of the night to empty the bag. Obviously what works for you on that is a judgment call--I would eat as late as I wanted and just set my alarm to go off in the middle of the night so I could deal with the bag before it started making choices on its own. With the j-pouch I had to limit nighttime eating pretty strictly for the first couple of months (my cutoff time was 9 pm), but since then have been able to have a light snack later than that without problems. I usually wake up once at night, which is no more sleep disruption than is normal for someone who's totally healthy.

My experience with the rest of it was basically like suebear's. Minor leaks the first month or so; none since then. For the butt burn (which, again, is a lot more frequent at first) you just use a little zinc oxide cream right around the anus; there's a butterfly-shaped piece of gauze that you can tuck in there over the cream (and it's also sufficient to catch any of those minor leaks). You wear your normal underwear for all that. I don't wear Depends, haven't at any point in this process (including getting home on the plane right after the takedown surgery), and would go back to the ileostomy if I did have to wear them.

You should definitely swim now if you want to, and eat whatever you want unless you have an allergy or something. Same with the j-pouch; you'd have a post-surgical low-fiber diet for 2-4 weeks after the takedown; since then I eat whatever I want. Jalapenos burned a little coming out at first...but I hear that's true for people with healthy colons, too!

Wade457
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 12/11/2008 7:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you .. thank you all for your words. and for the knowledge you have. Each day is a learning experience for me.

I had no idea I could take various medicines to control the releases out of the stoma, and how to control the texture of the releases into the bag.. It seems at times this bag has taken control of me at times. especially that the beginning when I wasn't very good at attaching it. It took a few months just to get the bag to stay on reliably.. learning how to use the various adapter rings.. the paste. the adhesive spray. but i've gotten that down now to somewhat reliable. and this last trip to Canada on an airplane was really a test for travelling. I traveled quite a bit up to two years ago.. and it seems that I've been trapped because fo first the UC. then on account of this bag. Each step seems to be a return to the life I had before UC.. one step at a time....

Reading yoru words.. It reminds me of what my therapist told me in the nursing home when I was regaining my strength after the staph infection.. If you don't try... you never will. And that's absolutely true.. I suppose it's just a matter of mentally taking over and not worrying about if this bag will start leaking..

Actually.. on the way back from Canada last week. I had put a new bag on in the hotel where I was up in northern ontario the day before returning back to Atlanta.. where I live .. so when I got to the airport. I knew I was on day two and it shouldn't have been a problem. carrying my overnight bag. and also a wheeled computer bag... picking up.. settign down. when I arrived in Toronto to change planes and go though customs. I thought I got a whiff of bag gettng off the plane. but I got off. .went though the airport.. though US customs. and decided to go to the bathroom and empty it. Yes, I saw a small leak out of the bottom and I thought.. Oh chit.. where am I gonna change this thing .. there must be a first aid place where I can lay down and change it (I carried along my supplies with me). .. but no, the first aid place at Toronto airport was closed.. so back I went into the mens's room. found the handicapped stall that's large. just stretched out on the floor inside the stall and went about putting on a new bag. Did it w/o a problem. and figured I was good for anothr flight and getting home to Atlanta.. Well. that bag decided to work for the next 4 days before I changed it.. So I suppose I've gotten that down well enough..

One step again..

From reading yoru words. I'll probably wait another year for the reversal.. I'm just not ready yet to go in the hospital again.. Knowing what will happen.. and reading that it will be better afterwards.. That's good and I thank you for sharing with me.. I think after another year I'll have reclaimed more of my life and be less bag-centric mentally... an ready to be rid of this.. which is much better than dealing with UC.. but I know it's only a half-measure..

Thank you again for the help you've given me...

Wade...

summerstorm
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 12/11/2008 8:27 PM (GMT -7)   
i am not sure why you are using adhesive spray, i dont' know what kind of system you are using, but i don't use that stuff, i foudn that the more stuff i used, the more often i got leaks.

Clyde01
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 12/18/2008 4:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Wade, I had my ostomy done the same day as yours, what a small world. My condition was alot different than most of the people on here, I had a near perforated colon and had to have emergency surgery. I have had my ostomy for a year+ now and will be goin back in for the reversal next month on the 12th. I am a long haul truck driver by trade and I have not had too many problems with my ostomy. I have had a couple of blow-outs but those can be cleaned up. My doctor said the same thing, I can have the reversal anytime I wanted. Honestly, I don't want to live with the bag for any longer than I have to, that's why I am goin for the reversal asap.

If you want the reversal, I say go for it, just be happy with your decision.

Good luck!!
Ileostomy Oct. 17,2007 Only temporary till next year

No meds at present


Wade457
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 12/18/2008 5:28 PM (GMT -7)   
summerstorm said...
i am not sure why you are using adhesive spray, i dont' know what kind of system you are using, but i don't use that stuff, i foudn that the more stuff i used, the more often i got leaks.


I've got a fold in my stomach where the wafer attaches and it's always been a bear to get it to adhese proprly with just the flat part of the bag and the green wipe stuff.

Hit it with the adhesive spray and it stays on 4-5 days till it starts to leak and need a change

Wade457
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 12/18/2008 5:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Clyde01 said...
Hey Wade, I had my ostomy done the same day as yours, what a small world. My condition was alot different than most of the people on here, I had a near perforated colon and had to have emergency surgery. I have had my ostomy for a year+ now and will be goin back in for the reversal next month on the 12th. I am a long haul truck driver by trade and I have not had too many problems with my ostomy. I have had a couple of blow-outs but those can be cleaned up. My doctor said the same thing, I can have the reversal anytime I wanted. Honestly, I don't want to live with the bag for any longer than I have to, that's why I am goin for the reversal asap.

If you want the reversal, I say go for it, just be happy with your decision.

Good luck!!

You know, the first weekend I got out of the Nursing Home, I wanted to get in the car and hit the road. I'd been trapped in the hospital and rehab for 3 months and it felt so GOOD to get behind the wheel and go SOMEWHERE. I'm from Atlatna and my wife and I decided to go to the coast, so we went to Macon then on to Savannah. OMG I took a bunch of towels and all the "gear" and it was that first weekend that I learned that I wasn't trapped to my room or to the house with this bag... Now, I travel pretty much when I want and where I want.. and usually just take some tape and a few washcloths...

Something else that happens when you're sick for a year and it REALLY affects your work and obviously income. I had blue cross & blue shield and that picked up most of the doctor bills; hospital bills; rehab.. etc. The entire sickness was somewhere around $200,000, given teh fact I had 3 surgeries (one GB, one for this hugs puss thng - not a bedsore that was on my hip, and of course the Ileo..) Add up the fact that I simply couldn't work a lot when you're sick.. so 2007 really ate into our finances and savings which we had to draw on. 2008 I've been able to work and we've gotten out of the free-fall, but haven't recouped all we had to draw on last year.. and honestly, the financial aspect of spending another month or so out of work isn't something we can deal with yet.

I think after another year of the bag we'll be in better financial shape to finish this operation up.. The most imporant thing is that i've gotten back to a "normal" life, and that's not the case when you're sick as a dog and going to the ER every few weeks for a bag or two of water becuase you're dehydreated and have horribly low blood pressure.. I remember in rehab I'd see a lot of people.. and all they wanted to do was walk again. I know I was one of them.. Well the walker is in the storage room and altough I'm not about to run a marathon, I've got my health back and my strength and to the everyday person I appear to be a nomal, healthy person.. I'm not disabled in any way, but I see people who are.. and believe me. I have an understanding of what they are going though. Been there. Did that.. even for just a few months. it's such a difficult life not to be able to do things you used to do without a second thought..

I'll deal with the final surgery probably next year.. then this entire chapter of my life will be closed. and the lessons I learned from it will be part of how I approach the second half of being around here :)
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