newcaney...first of all thank you so much for your service to our country and to keep us all safe.
My husband is a VietNam vet...he swears Agent Orange might have caused his UC or a contributing factor as nobody in his family has this or any kind of bowel disease.
Aside from that...........we met with his local GI Dr here last June. He was at the point he had tried so many different things, suffered for 5 years. Remicade failed and the pain management program he was on and supervised closely every month needed to be increased! We were going to the Mayo Clinic twice a year and his Dr up there kept talking the surgery route but he wasn't ready and thought he found a way to cope and deal with this even though his quality of life (and mine) was horrible.
Back to the June appt..........his local Dr told him straight out that he was now at the point that she thought he should have colonoscopies twice a year to try to keep ahead of things. She explained in detail even though the polyps they find and remove are non-cancerous it would be very easy when collecting those polyps that they miss a cancerous one in between. This was the kicker and defining "AH HA" moment for him........she said "I honestly feel it is not a question of IF but WHEN this turns cancerous" thus the reason for colonoscopies twice a year.
"If that were to happen then not only are you in a spontaneous emergency surgery situation but chemo and radiation to deal with too on top of it all". Of course she went on to say that is her professional opinion due to her treatment and monitoring of his case over the past 8 years in conjunction with the Mayo findings. Of course there is no way of knowing when something like this would/could happen. But since he was basically strong and not in a terrible flare but flaring nonetheless he made up his mind right there and then that it was time.
Once he made that decision it wasn't until mid Dec he had the surgery due to the logistics with Mayo, a prostate issue and an Oct. vacation we wanted to take but it was a tremendous relief overall. It's funny how that decision just seemed to make things better in a sense.
You are younger than my husband and I am sure dealing with other thoughts too. But like so many have said once you get over the surgery healing, the learning curve with the ostomy and finding what works the best for you personally it does give you a different lease on life.
Good luck with your decision. It certainly isn't something any one of us sets out and wants....everyone hopes to try to get a remission...but when you suffer and miss out on so much it is time you will never get back. I like looking forward and seeing my husband continually improve and being able to get back in the game and do more and more. Still recuperating and not quite there yet stamina-wise but overall our lives are so much happier. I thank God he survived a tough surgery and we look forward to many more years together doing things we love to do.
This is an awesome forum with great people and great advice.