wound and swimming

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blueglass
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Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 3332
   Posted 6/24/2011 5:01 AM (GMT -6)   
I saw my ostomy nurse yesterday, and there was not very much progress on my butt wound healing -- it's a little smaller (it was doing really well, and then it reopened a few weeks ago). She wants me to just keep on keeping on w/the mesalt dressing. She thinks it's just too small for a wound vac -- it's maybe 2 cm now.

I said that the wound isn't that big of a deal now, except that it means that I can't swim, which is really the only aerobic exercise that I like, and I managed to still do it a fair amount of the time when I was sick (not when I was really sick). I just think I'd feel a lot better if I were swimming. Well, she said just go for it -- that as long as I take a shower right after, I should be fine, it's not a huge risk. She always thinks the wound looks really healthy, no sign of infection etc.

I was really excited, but then when I got home I thought that OK, it's fine in terms of myself, but it's really not OK to be draining and bleeding into the pool -- that's gross, and I wouldn't want to be in the pool when anyone else was doing that.

So, if I'm going to go I need something that will plug up the wound effectively for about 15 minutes-half hour. Sort of like a tampon for the wound.... the mesalt is designed to draw out the fluids, so it's not the right thing. I have a variety of other packing materials at home that I've used at some point.

I did email my nurse, haven't heard back from her yet, but I thought I'd see if anyone else had experiences or thoughts.

I have been taking baths regularly, and it doesn't seem like anything is coming out of me into the water. My surgeon told me a while ago that I could take a bath in my own tub or swim in a lake or pond, but not a pool, but it's not so convenient to go to a lake or pond (and my surgeon also said that my nurse knows more about wound healing than she does).

Today is four months since my surgery! My nurse said she's never had a butt wound that hasn't healed within a year, but she did have one that took that long. Sigh.....

Thanks.
48 years old, female.
2004 dx indeterminate colitis. Back and forth between Crohn's and UC dx. Many drugs, minimal success.
2010-11 Crazy skin and eye complications, high fevers, bad flaring. Out of good drug options, tired of scary drugs.
Feb 2011 -- proctocolectomy with permanent ileolostomy; abscess, blood clot. Still healing, still glad for the surgery

Another UC wife
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 2111
   Posted 6/24/2011 5:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Is the slow healing due to prednisone that you were on prior to the surgery? My sister's healing was very slow due to that. My husband healed quickly and without incident BUT he was off the prednisone almost 3 years prior to the surgery.

I feel your disappointment but just be real careful...you would hate to take a chance and take some steps back and add more time onto the healing. It stinks that you are still having to deal with this 4 months after surgery. Hope it just hurries up and heals!!!
Wife of 64 yr old male suffered with UC & in May 06 had a severe flare & hospitalized 6 days...various prednisone treatments leading to steroid dependence and osteopenia, 12 asacol, 200 mg Imuran, failed remicade infusions Jan-May 2010 Dependence on pain meds. Made decision 6/10 to have surgery which was on 12/17/10 (total proctocolectomy & ileostomy - unable to have the j-pouch) & now pain free

blueglass
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Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 3332
   Posted 6/24/2011 6:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm not sure if it's the prednisone at this point or not.... I'll ask my surgeon when I see her in a few weeks. I was on it a lot the last two years, but I have been off for several months now.

My nurse says these are just hard to heal. I was almost there, had stopped packing it, it wasn't draining or bleeding any more, and then it opened up again. I have no idea what, if anything, I did. There was no pain or anything, I just noticed that it started draining again.... then when the nurse debrided it a few weeks ago, it started draining and bleeding a lot more (which is not necessarily bad.... it wasn't her fault that it opened).

Thanks UC wife, appreciate your thoughts.... I do want to be careful.... how long did it take your sister to heal?

Sometimes I find myself having second thoughts about not going for a j pouch.... just so I wouldn't have this wound.... but going into surgery, they really thought i had crohn's, for a lot of good reasons, and I still really might have it.... sigh. And who knows what else might have happened.... not so helpful now.
48 years old, female.
2004 dx indeterminate colitis. Back and forth between Crohn's and UC dx. Many drugs, minimal success.
2010-11 Crazy skin and eye complications, high fevers, bad flaring. Out of good drug options, tired of scary drugs.
Feb 2011 -- proctocolectomy with permanent ileolostomy; abscess, blood clot. Still healing, still glad for the surgery

Another UC wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 2111
   Posted 6/24/2011 8:17 PM (GMT -6)   
My sister was operated on early Dec. She is now doing much better. She was on prednisone right up until the day of the surgery actually and her incision wound took awhile to heal. He rear area took awhile but she did not encounter the difficulty you are having.

It seems that being on prednisone and or not being off it too long prior to surgery seems to retard the healing process for some.
Wife of 64 yr old male suffered with UC & in May 06 had a severe flare & hospitalized 6 days...various prednisone treatments leading to steroid dependence and osteopenia, 12 asacol, 200 mg Imuran, failed remicade infusions Jan-May 2010 Dependence on pain meds. Made decision 6/10 to have surgery which was on 12/17/10 (total proctocolectomy & ileostomy - unable to have the j-pouch) & now pain free

Equestrian Mom
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 6/25/2011 6:36 AM (GMT -6)   
It took my bottom a lot of extra time to heal...and I hadn't been on Pred for years. Crohn's was my culprit:( I packed my bottom until I was at about 1/4". Towards the end I had to tape the gauze in but I didn't want to have THAT wound opened again shocked It sounds like a little bacteria caused an infection when you stopped packing at 2cm.

As far as swimming, is it a public pool? For many years I had several fistulas and was advised not to swim in public pools but could swim in the ocean/lake or my own pool (if my husband would have been so kind!). Not to mention the germ fests that are in public pools...you may not want to compromise the wound at this stage.

I know it really stinks when you have to hold off on something you love...it took months before I could ride horses again:(
formally known as OHIO76 ~ honoring my daughter's passion!
Crohn’s dx 1989
some terrible years before my temporary ileo in 2001
Proctocolectomy w/end ileo in 2008
...wish I knew then what I know NOW!

blueglass
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Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 3332
   Posted 6/25/2011 7:24 PM (GMT -6)   
My surgeon told me a lake or pond was OK but not a public pool .... but it's not so easy to get to a lake or pond (but maybe worth the effort) .... I live in the city and don't know anyone who has their own pool...... so, my nurse was saying maybe it'd just be OK to try....

My surgeon also said my own bathtub was OK, but not anyone else's.....

My wound got very shallow, less than 2 cm, it was almost closed, wasn't draining or anything.... was hard to pack it was so small.... and then it opened again. Maybe I should try taping it, seems to be shrinking some again....sigh. Did you tape right across your butt cheeks? Seems weird, but I guess there's no reason not to.....

I was on pred until about a month after my surgery. I tapered quickly from 40 to 20 before the surgery, then when I went back in the hospital w/the abscess, it interrupted the taper down from that..... I've been off of it for about 3 months now. UC wife, glad your sister is doing well now.

I've only ridden horses a few times in my life, but I associate them w/sore butts, so I can see why you couldn't ride.... oh well, I went for a brisk walk today and it felt good.

Thanks for the replies...
48 years old, female.
2004 dx indeterminate colitis. Back and forth between Crohn's and UC dx. Many drugs, minimal success.
2010-11 Crazy skin and eye complications, high fevers, bad flaring. Out of good drug options, tired of scary drugs.
Feb 2011 -- proctocolectomy with permanent ileolostomy; abscess, blood clot. Still healing, still glad for the surgery

stripey
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Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 1059
   Posted 6/26/2011 3:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Sorry you're still having problems with your wound closure. Sometimes steroids can have that effect. Think I have just been lucky in all my surgeries as have been on steroids for at least half of them and always been really lucky with my healing. When had my colon and butt removed was back to work after 5 weeks and wound behaved perfectly and was all healed after 3 weeks.

Mind you that is about the only part of my that behaves well, the wound healing. Currently battling sciatica and arthritis flare since stopping the steroids at beginning of May, so getting bit fed up with it. On holiday now for two weeks, relaxing at home so at least can dose myself up on painkillers without worrying about falling asleep at work and dribbling or muttering nonsense :)
Crohn's dx 1989, loop ileo 1992, end ileo 1992. Arthritis developed 1990 Stoma abcess 1995. Azathioprine started 1995. Panprocolorectomy 1999. Stillbirth 2000, antiphospholipid syndrome dx 2000. Flare up 2004, stoma abcess and strictoplasty 2004. Low blood pressure dx with impaired kidney function 2006, fludrocortisone pres. flare up 2010, steroids, Humira, codeine.

Trigirl
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 768
   Posted 6/26/2011 7:41 PM (GMT -6)   
I sat in my tub in just a lttle water (Like a sitz bath) with epsinalts twice a day for 3 weeks and it was all healed up. Sounds like you are gettinginfetion or the drugs upsetting things.

What if you bandaged and taped whole area like they do with other woulds that can't get wet. Put sure seal stuff over hole. I don't know just wondering.

Hope you figure something out soon. It feels so deliousto have water running over your body and you swim around.
Those things we keep trying to do get easier not because the feat gets easier but our ability to "do" gets better.
Thyroid cancer removed 1988
Stomach problems finally figured out 2001 Crohn's/Colitus
Tried every drug without much success
Colon/rectal cancer removed Aug 2009
6 Grown kids, grandkids and a great husband to keep me busy

blueglass
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 3332
   Posted 6/27/2011 6:19 AM (GMT -6)   
The wound has been pretty carefully monitored, and everyone says there's been no sign of infection at any point. The drainage never smells.

Wow, it is weird to wrap my mind around a sure seal over the hole..... but I see your point.... not sure if they'd stick or what they'd do to the skin taking them off..... with you on how good it'd feel to swim, thanks.
48 years old, female.
2004 dx indeterminate colitis. Back and forth between Crohn's and UC dx. Many drugs, minimal success.
2010-11 Crazy skin and eye complications, high fevers, bad flaring. Out of good drug options, tired of scary drugs.
Feb 2011 -- proctocolectomy with permanent ileolostomy; abscess, blood clot. Still healing, still glad for the surgery

blueglass
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 3332
   Posted 6/28/2011 1:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, I've decided that swimming now just isn't worth the risk. I made more of an effort to walk more and eat better, and I went to a yoga class, and I'm feeling a lot better. We had dismal weather last week and some other things weren't going well, and I was just craving swimming as the solution..... but there are other solutions (not that I had much to do w/the sun coming out again!)

I did talk to my nurse and pcp .... nurse said there's no good way to waterproof it in that location.... pcp said I hardly drain at all in the 15-30 minutes I'd swim, and since I'm not infected if a tiny bit got in a pool, it would be no danger to others and the chlorine would take care of it.

But when I thought about it more, just decided I'd wait. Boy is it going to be good when I finally can go. Even if I miss swimming all summer, I'm still getting so many things back that I've been missing for a lot longer....

Stripey, sorry you're having a hard time.... sciatica is miserable, I've had that before.... hope the pain killers are helping....
48 years old, female.
2004 dx indeterminate colitis. Back and forth between Crohn's and UC dx. Many drugs, minimal success.
2010-11 Crazy skin and eye complications, high fevers, bad flaring. Out of good drug options, tired of scary drugs.
Feb 2011 -- proctocolectomy with permanent ileolostomy; abscess, blood clot. Still healing, still glad for the surgery
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