Yes, the GIS is for Geographic Information Systems. I work for ODOT (state routes, U.S. routes and Interstate routes) and I'm their District 4 GIS coordinator (in NE Ohio). It's really a fun job, but my background and degrees are in Civil Engineering, which goes hand and hand with their GIS. I get to make maps, play with GPS equipment and do engineering stuff all day and get paid for it. I couldn't ask for anything better.
My advice is get the surgery otherwise your just wasting a part of your life that you can never get back. I wish I did my surgery 6 months earlier even though I was in misery for only a very long year after my UC diagnoses. Don't screw around with the disease, if surgery will cure or improve your quality of life...do it!!! Get off the meds, they are killing you too, just a little more slower and can affect your offspring. I did the surgery just to get off the meds...the elimination of the colon cancer risk 30 to 40 years down the road was just a bonus.
If they leave the rectum, that's fine, that's where I'm at currently and chances for complications to your other organs are extremely low. If they leave the rectum, you'll have a small controlled BM of mucus every 2 to 3 days...no urgency. This was a funny fact I discovered two days in the hospital after surgery. Remember, most of the people you read about on here have or had complications, the others with successful surgeries are living their lives.
I'll let you in on a secret that my surgeon told me yesterday at my post-op visit. Don't let this scare you out of the surgery, but this is what you could expect pain wise and time off of work wise. My surgery was not done lapriscopically due to the one year effects of prednisone on my other organs (it turns them into the consistency of butter so they cannot hold staples or stitches), so I got the 10" incision in my belly and they just removed the colon and stopped. However, the pain from the incision was gone in two weeks with the help of the pain medicine. I even noticed 5 days after surgery that the pain I had from UC was gone and I just had pain from the incision, or so I thought. That's how quickly the major pain decreases after surgery.
After the pain from the incision is gone, a new much more milder pain takes over and lasts up to 6 months. This is the pain in the entire abdomen and it's from all of the work they did on the inside removing the colon even though on the outside everything looks normal. The best I can describe it is it's like the pain from a large bruise. I can sit and walk and sleep on my sides and not feel any pain (4 to 5 weeks post-op). But any pressure on the abdomen makes it sore (any poking, tight wastebands, or any type of pressure on it). It's not enough for pain medicine, just more of an nuisance...far less than living with the chronic pain from UC. You'll also experience some itching around the stoma and incision for the first 6 weeks. You cannot even tell your colon is out, other than being thirsty more often than before and being symptom free.
For me, the ileostomy was a secondary issue to all of this and really not a big deal to me since I had a year to prepare for it and it will be for 6 to 9 months. I spent my time recovering researching the internet to find the "best" bag system that took as little amount of time in my life to deal with it. After researching, I prefer the Hollister 2-piece system. My wafers last a week and I change the bags every 2 to 3 days because their waterproof filters stop working and they begin to balloon up during the day and night. After doing this ileo thing for 6 weeks, I'm now a pro at it and I found the right combination of accessories, bags and wafers that work very well for me. If the J-pouch fails down the road, I know I can live with an ileostomy without any problems.
I recommend finding a good stoma nurse. One ET nurse I had in the Cleveland Clinic had a stoma for 17 years and was very helpful to me. She was the one who marked (tattooed...yes tattooed...no permanent marker) the stoma location prior to surgery. In the hospital, you may see several different stoma nurses and each one of them will tell you different things/systems to use (probably the system or company they learned from while in nursing school)...so you'll wind up experimenting on your own when you get out.
I got a lot of free samples because every ostomy supply company will be calling you when they find out you have an ostomy to get your business. I would recommend that you take full advantage of them!!!
I'll be off work a total of 8 weeks with this colon removal surgery. Surgery #2 being scheduled in 5 months (actual J-Pouch one) from now, and the amount of time I'll be off for that one is another 8 weeks and expect the same amount of pain.
For your work, I would check to see if they have disability benefits. I'm covered for a year (they pay 70% of my salary for the first 13 weeks, 50% of my salary for the next 13 weeks, then they pay nothing afterwards). They must also have FMLA (not just for babies but for chronic diseases also), which by Federal Law, they have to hold your position for a year even though they are not required to pay you. Check into this before the surgery, it was a God send for me!!!
Take care and good luck!
10/2006 - Symptoms of UC began - 100% healthy and drug free until then
3/5/2007 - Diagnosed with UC - Pancolitis whole colon involved
20mg-40mg/day Prednisone, 4.8 g/day Asacol - didn't work at all
10/12/2007 Diagnosed with Osteoporosis from Prednisone
2/12/2008 Total Colectomy with temporary Ilestomy
Off all UC Medicines and feel normal again
8/2008 J-Pouch Surgery scheduled
11/2008 Ileostomy reversal Surgery scheduled