On Thursday 28th May I had my final regular appointment at the stoma clinic – up until now I have been attending fortnightly, and then this last appointment was three weeks on from the previous one. In the early days I was having to ask for emergency appointments in between, because of problems, but now that things have finally settled down and I am using the right bag to suit me, I do not have to attend again for the next three months. I am very pleased to have reached this stage at last, after a lot of teething problems (which I think everybody goes through in the early stages), because it’s good to have them behind me as I start my chemo. The chemo increases the stoma output and makes it a lot more liquid too, and I wouldn’t want to be dealing with this if I was still experiencing leaks and finding stoma management difficult.
At this appointment, the nurse discussed setting up my prescription for me. She told me the supply company would phone me in the next few days, and that she would send my prescription to my GP. After this, when I am beginning to run low on anything, I just have to contact the supply company direct and let them know what I need, and they will get the prescription from my GP, and in due course my parcel will arrive. Easy peasy.
She told me that in order to save the NHS money, my choices may be fairly limited. However, I know many people who are able to get both adhesive remover spray and wipes, and not just a choice of one, so it may be possible to ask for it and see what my GP will allow. If they say I can’t have certain things, so be it.
She has also ordered a couple of pairs of pants for me, and a wrap – I should be able to get more of these in due course – to hold the bag in place more securely and to stop bulged showing as the bag fills. I have found that it flops about a bit in bed, and a wrap will hold it in place. These will be sent from a different company so won’t arrive with my first parcel of supplies.
The nurse put a fresh bag on for me, and said that I had cut the hole too small – if there is no room for movement, one can develop granulomas which can bleed a lot and be a nuisance. However, as she cut it and applied it, the hole looked a lot bigger than what I had cut and I was pretty sure it was too big. She said she would send the template to the company and they would pre-cut my bags for me.
Over the next few hours, my worst fears were realised, and I could feel the itching and pain beginning again, and I knew the hole was too large. I left the bag in place until the following day and when I changed it, I was glad I’d caught it in time – the skin was beginning to redden, but it was not yet broken. I cut a fresh bag to the smaller size, and phoned the nurse to tell her what had happened. I asked that she phone the suppliers and ask them to send my first batch uncut, and I would forward my template to them in due course, and she was absolutely fine with this.
It was a very satisfactory appointment.
Yesterday the company phoned me and we discussed this, and other matters.