I'm sorry to hear that you lost your dad, too. I can relate to your situation more than you can imagine. I had Crohn's disease in the rectum for the first 7 years of my marriage, and sex was difficult for me.
I also had a fistula that caused an abscess on my right butt cheek and had to have surgery to drain it. They gave me a temporary ileostomy to bypass the area to let it heal. Eight months later, I ended up having my colon and rectum removed, because we could not get the disease under control, and I have had a permanent ileostomy ever since 2006.
My dad was an OB/GYN who loved to travel, so I also did a lot of traveling in my youth, but that stopped when I got sick in 1999 at age 28. My mother is from Sweden, so we spent every summer there growing up, and one year, we took a cruise from Sweden to Russia. So, I have been to St. Petersburg, too! My mom still spends her summers in the same house I grew up in, but I have not been there since I got sick 12 years ago.
Even though having my colon and rectum removed stopped all of my Crohn's problems, I have had three surgeries and multiple hospitalizations due to scar tissue grabbing a hold of my small intestine and blocking it off. In April 2008, I almost died when a blockage caused my small intestine to perforate and was saved by having emergency surgery.
I have not had any problems with my ileostomy leaking, so when I feel good, I'm comfortable taking short trips, like visiting my sister who lives 3 hours by car. You said that you were stressed about
traveling with your ileostomy over Christmas. Have you been having problems with leaking? If so, there are many of solutions to that, and we can help with different tips.
I'm hopeful that my health problems are finally behind me and have been feeling great since August 2008. My husband and I have re-kindled our sex life, which has been a blessing. He has been so supportive and has never complained, which has made me love him even more. For the first time in 12 years, I am actually thinking about
planning a trip to Sweden this summer, which is a really big deal for me.
I just wanted to share with you how much I relate to what you're going through and to let you know that everything will get better. It just takes a lot patience, which is much easier said than done. I hope you have a really good first day back at work!