Back in December, I learned that I would have to wait at least two months to have my ostomy reversal, and in that time I would have to pass a couple of tests at Mount Sinai Hospital. The first test was an exam under anesthetic (EUA) in which my surgeon would get an up-close look at my ileoanal anastomosis. The second test was another pouchogram that would follow two days after the EUA. I had both tests last week, but had to wait until this week to hear back from my surgeon with the results – I passed!
The EUA on January 21 lasted all but five drugged up minutes. The anesthesiologist knocked me the fuck out and my surgeon scoped the connection between my pelvic pouch and my anus. He was happy with what he saw, and I awoke a few minutes later with a wad of bloody gauze wedged in my asshole. Apparently he really got up in there. Good thing I had the anesthetic, eh?
When I returned to Mount Sinai two days later, I had another pouchogram. The doctors slid a tube in my butt. They filled my pelvic pouch with fluid. I rolled around on an exam table and an x-ray machine took some photos. I went to the bathroom and shat out the fluid, then hopped back onto the table. More photos. Done. I get to put my clothes back on. Standard stuff.
My surgeon called me earlier this week to say that I’m clear for the ostomy reversal that had previously been booked for February 11. We’re going ahead with it. At last.
Waiting this long for the operation that I was supposed to have last August or September would not have been so difficult if not for the terrible pain that I’ve had to endure everyday as a result of my shitty ostomy. Ever since December, I’ve been counting down the time until my reversal. I set target dates ahead of my reversal to look forward to. Three more weeks until January. Two weeks until my EUA pre-admission. One week until the EUA. And now, less than two weeks until the reversal. I’ve even broken down the next 12 days into smaller chunks of time based on when I change my ostomy appliance. I changed it this morning, and I change it every three days, which means I now have three more appliance changes until the reversal.
Despite marking days off the calendar as the surgery date approaches and generally looking forward to the day, I feel more trepidation going into this operation. I don’t have the naïve confidence I had back in May. I know that despite statistics and odds being in your favour, you can just as easily end up in the minority of cases gone wrong. I know that past performance doesn’t ensure future success. I know that the pamphlets and booklets that warn of a surgery’s potential complications are written in such plain vanilla language that they downplay just how much suffering you may have to endure if things go awry.
But when I start feeling nervous about my upcoming surgery, all it takes is a shot of pain around my ostomy to remind me why I’m looking forward to February 11.
Twelve more days.