Posted 6/20/2010 8:07 AM (GMT -6)
I haven't been as active here for awhile as I had been when I actively suffering UC. Once I decided to have j-pouch surgery I moved over to the boards on j-pouch.org (where I am Meesh62) because they were more relevant to me. But I have had great success with my surgeries and just wanted to let you all know that there can be an end to the medication and relapse merry-go-round you may be experiencing if your meds can't keep you in remission. While I regret not having done this sooner in retrospect, had I experienced any complication I may have had a harder time accepting them had I not reached the point of "I can't take it anymore!" with my UC.
I was diagnosed four years previously almost to the day that I had my take down surgery. In that time I was on Prednisone for two years, had severe anemia, was on Remicade for two and half years ... now I am completely medication free and while my stool is soft and I have a tendency toward diarrhea, I have COMPLETE control over my bowels and just shy of three months post-take down, most days I only go 4-6 times. Most nights I am sleeping through the night. I am almost back to a completely non-restricted diet (fear of blockages has me leery of raw celery and popcorn still).
My first surgery was January 12, and to be honest, it was pretty brutal. I was in a lot of pain for several weeks. I also had a hard time adapting to the temporary ileostomy. But I did feel a lot better after the surgery and got my "zip" back. By the time I was ready for my take down surgery I was feeling like my old self, lots of energy, no pain at all ... just the hassle and discomfort of the ileostomy bag (I kept leaking and the fluid burned my skin, the mark from the irritation is only JUST starting to fade).
The take down surgery, April 6, was a piece of cake, as was adapting to the new plumbing. There were some hiccups along the way -- a couple of weeks of night time incontinence was far from pleasant, reintroducing foods was (and is) a little scary, but all in all, I feel fantastic, the j-pouch works well, my "new normal" is pretty darn close to normal normal. For the most part my stools, while soft, are well formed. I have not infrequent bouts of diarrhea, but a tweak to the diet usually fixes that and there's no discomfort, no sense of urgency at all, even when things are loose. When I have diarrhea I get more irritation around the anus, my stool is more acidic without a colon. I use a barrier cream down there to keep comfortable.
I'd be happy to talk to anyone who has any questions.