Over the past couple of days I started to get some itching again, and last night when we were out, it got so bad that I couldn’t wait to get home and take the bag off and see what was going on.
The skin was quite irritated again so obviously there had been some contact with output from Kermit E.G. Robinson. I cleaned the area thoroughly and applied some Head & Shoulders shampoo which I left in contact for a few minutes (zinc content very good for skin problems) while I measured Kermit again – he now about 28 mm in diameter with a slight bulge – and cut a new bag to size. Once the H&S was rinsed off I prepped the area well with stoma powder and barrier wipe, and applied the new bag.
Within a short time – after I had put all the stuff away, of course! – I realised that there was a problem with this bag too, and pressing on the flange, realised that it did not seem to be sticking down properly, so I got everything out again and took it off.
This time I examined Kermit closely, and the surrounding area, and noticed that the “moat” which had developed recently and which had caused so many problems with leaks, had virtually disappeared. The stoma nurse had given me some Salts convex bags to help with this problem, and they were no longer working properly.
I decided to go back to one of my original Coloplast bags, with a Hollister ring, and also added a banana flange on the side nearest my tummy button, where there is still a crease in my abdomen where the first leaks occurred, and was pleased that for the rest of the evening everything seemed to be OK.
It is now mid-afternoon the following day, and so far so good! The itching has disappeared, and there don’t appear to be any leaks.
I shall be delighted if this situation lasts, because of the several bags I have tried, it is the Coloplast that I like the best. Fortunately I had several left when I was transferred to the convex ones, and when I see the stoma nurse tomorrow I shall discuss this with her.
The Hollister ring is rather thick, and I was a bit concerned that together with the bag flange, it came all the way up to the top of Kermit and I thought he might leak underneath again rather than outputting straight into the bag. Ideally what I would like is to use one of the new Trio silicone rings with the Coloplast bag – these are much thinner and automatically shrink to the size of the stoma, providing a good seal. I shall see what the nurse says tomorrow.
I am particularly pleased because the original Coloplast bags I was using are now available in the updated model which I like even better, with their very nice new covers, and I do hope I shall end up being able to use these permanently, and eventually get my home delivery set up, with these, the Trio rings, and also the Trio banana flanges which are brilliant – really thin, and transparent too.
I want to get this all sorted out before I start my radical chemotherapy which is due to begin perhaps next week. (See the Cancer Diary page on my other blog for full details of that.) Once the side effects of the chemo kick in, I am sure the last thing I shall feel like doing is messing about with bag problems.
This is quite a rollercoaster ride, getting the right bag and accessories and a good fit – one minute I’m “up” and feeling we’ve finally got it right, and the next I am in the pit of despair and wondering if I’ll ever get this sorted! Eventually I know I will, and a year from now I shall probably be doing it in my sleep and looking back on this time with amazement. It’s just getting there that’s the problem!
The changes are due to my body settling down after surgery. The swelling from the operation is going down, Kermit is shrinking, and also my weight has been changing a bit. I lost about a stone (14 lb) in hospital, and then, when I came home, because my dear hubby will keep giving me delicious and tempting little pots of desperately fattening puddings, and the fact he needs continuous lessons in portion control lol – I gained about 7 lb! I also battle with the habit of “finishing everything on my plate” with which I was indoctrinated as a child – I hate waste! – if it’s on my plate, I will eat it!! Anyway, I am working on this, and so far have managed to lose a couple of pounds. I am not dieting as such; before the operation the surgeon had told me to hold off my diet until everything has settled down and I am better, because my body needs the nutrients for energy and healing; but I do want to eat as sensibly as possible and not undo all the good I did before. After he told me to stop the diet, and with the postponements in my surgery, I managed to gain 7 lb before going into hospital!
With all these changes to my body, the shape of my stomach is bound to be in a bit of a state of flux. The operation wound now forms quite a valley vertically down my belly, and I have noticed that I have developed a couple of “love handles” running diagonally downwards from my hip bones since the swelling has reduced – some internal bulk has been removed with the colectomy, and together with the weight loss, there is some sagging of my belly. Gravity, gravity, all is gravity… Maybe the NHS would be good enough to give me a tummy tuck if I tell them it’s for the benefit of Kermit E.G. Robinson? Hmm.. I don’t suppose they will! I thought it was jolly mean of the surgeon merely to laugh when I asked if he’d scrape out all my tummy fat while he was in there – all he said was, “No… I’m afraid everybody asks us to do that!” Shame.