I am so sorry to hear you are suffering so with these health issues. Life can really throw some real tough circumstances and, I suppose, the only thing to do is just try to get through them the best way possible.
I didn't have cancer, I suffered with ulcerative proctitis, but I do have a permanent ileostomy. Because of my age, 63 at time of surgery, extensive use of prednisone over the years (prednisone dependent for two years) and other health issues...high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes from the prednisone, my surgeon told me I was not a good candidate for j-pouch.
Kate, I am sorry I didn't have the surgery sooner. I had a wonderful surgeon and having a "bag" is no problem at all. I eat anything I like as long as I chew thoroughly. My surgeon told me I made the right decision as my rectum was badly diseased.
I'll keep you in my prayers. God bless.