Posted 5/13/2012 1:32 AM (GMT -6)
I started with small steps. After the 9 day hospital stay for the colectomy, I went shopping for groceries on my own, and found this a bit tiring.
Then I went for walks in the park with friends. We stopped in cafes there and I started emptying for the first time in public toilets.
All this time I felt comfortable and confident that nothing terrible would happen.
I can't remember when I first started going out in the evening, to restaurants etc. but I was definitely limiting my social life to the friends who knew. It was about three months before I would go to a gathering of people who did not know.
Main thing: I was prepared for leaks and always had gear in my bag, enough for two changes, plus fresh underwear. The important thing was that if something happened, I could treat it as a practical issue; notice the leak, just casually get up, go to the ladies room, and do the change. I was always prepared to do a change anytime anywhere.
I started a new job about 3 months after the surgery. This was a big deal, and I was very nervous about being "discovered", leaking, etc. There were very few leaks, and as I said, I just went to the bathroom and changed bags. No one would ever know because no one would ever guess. I kept it a secret at work for over six months, and went through the jpouch operation and then take-down and no one at work would know what the sick leave was about.
UC Dx and then 7 years of no symtoms. But when they started, they didn't let up, ASA stopped working, pred stopped working, and azathioprin did nothing. The threat of much more radical drugs, plus the fact that a stricture was about to shut down my colon, led to my decision for a total colectomy in April 2011, 2nd step December 2011 and ... TAKE-DOWN WAS ON MARCH 19, 2012.