So, I guess it is best to go into what this is all about. This is my blog to tell my story of how things go for me, from day to day. Most of the posts will be about my ostomy problems. Some, however will just be me venting about my day. The short version is, I have two stomas, an ileostomy and a mucous fistula. These were created because I had to have emergency surgery to save my life, after a horrible flare up of Ulcerative colitis.
So, the first question everyone asks is what is Ulcerative colitis? Well…
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the large intestine, also known as the colon, in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers, that produce pus and mucous. The combination of inflammation and ulceration can cause abdominal discomfort and frequent emptying of the colon.
Ulcerative colitis is the result of an abnormal response by your body’s immune system. Normally, the cells and proteins that make up the immune system protect you from infection. In people with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Diseases), however, the immune system mistakes food, bacteria, and other materials in the intestine for foreign or invading substances. When this happens, the body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines, where they produce chronic inflammation and ulcerations.
It’s important to understand the difference between ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract, but ulcerative colitis affects only the colon. Additionally, while Crohn’s disease can affect all layers of the bowel wall, ulcerative colitis only affects the lining of the colon.
While both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are types of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), they should not be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a disorder that affects the muscle contractions of the colon. IBS is not characterized by intestinal inflammation.
And let me tell you, the level of UC I had, was extremely painful. There would be days my mom would come home and she could see how pale or ashen my face looked, because of the pain.
The second question I usually get is; So you have a colostomy bag? No. I have an ileostomy and a mucous fistula. So, what is an ileostomy? Well, not much different than a colostomy.
An ileostomy is a surgically made opening in your abdominal wall. Your surgeon will pass the ileum, which is the lower end of your small intestine, through this opening and stitch it into place. You’ll be given a pouch that you’ll wear externally. This pouch will catch all of your digested food.
This procedure is done if your rectum or colon is unable to properly function. If your ileostomy is temporary, part or all of your colon is removed, but you keep at least part of your rectum. For a permanent ileostomy, your surgeon removes or bypasses your rectum, colon, and anus. In this case, you’ll permanently wear an external plastic pouch to catch your waste products.
As for the mucous fistula…
When I had surgery to remove my colon and had a stoma formed, the disconnected part of the bowel still continues to produce gas and mucous. This gas and mucous needs to leave the body somehow. A mucous fistula allows this to happen. A mucous fistula is a stoma which allows the mucous to be collected in an ostomy bag. This means that I have two stomas. It is also known as distal mucous fistula. This one also happens to be my most problematic stoma and my most painful.