What a Pain in the Stoma…
August 24, 2010
So I had another follow-up today. This was a month from the last appointment. I saw my ostomy nurse to see how I like the products I’ve decided on (I like them a lot) and how the separation/wounds around my stoma are healing (not really at all).
Okay. Basically, my stoma is an end ileostomy if you want to google or look under my pictures to see what it looks like. It is mostly round; it tends to move around and change shape as it pleases. To create the stoma, the surgeon folded back my intestine like a sock and sutured it to my abdominal wall. There was a small space all the way around the stoma between the intestine and the abdominal wall that needed to heal up after surgery. I used to be able to see the sutures poking out, but they are now dissolved and I can’t really see any anymore. Some parts around the stoma seem to be healed very well. Little patches on the top and the side have small skin irritation and still have wounds right where the separation is. The area that is irritated the most is right at the bottom of the stoma where it is difficult for me to see. I’ve been packing those areas with stoma powder during each pouch change for the past four weeks, but that area hasn’t gotten any smaller. In fact, it seems to have gotten a little worse. The separation area right near the stoma is pretty irritated, but now there is also a smaller hole right below that. We found that this hole is actually connected to the other wound via a tiny skin tunnel.
Also, my belly button wound from my keyhole incision is no longer a gaping hole. It kind of evolved into a strange bump. I guess it was still a hole, but now some soft, moist tissue was now protruding out of it. It still leaked a little bit of clear liquid every now and again. Gross.
Now that you partially understand what my wounds are like, I will tell you WHAT MY NURSE DID TO ME. She got some long sticks with silver nitrate on the end.* They kind of look like long Q-tips, except with burny chemicals on the end instead of fuzzy softness. SO… she took one of these sticks, and shoved it into the hole in my belly button! I thought the hole had disappeared, but apparently not! She tried to knock off the piece of tissue that was sticking out, but that ended up being a futile and painful attempt. However, I did end up knocking it off when I got home. I guess the silver nitrate had a chance to work its magic by then. It was still painful. Now there is a tiny hole there, and I’m keeping gauze in my belly button to keep the area dry.
Next on her rampage of destruction, she rubbed the silver nitrate stick all in the wounds around my stoma, and through the hole into the other wound! This would have hurt with just a regular Q-tip, but now I get an added burning sensation! Now everything around my belly button and my wounds is grey and…sooty? I’m a trooper though. While she was doing it, I was just staying silent and cringing to myself. She asked me, “Does it burn? Most people react more than this.” I replied, “What? Do they scream in bloody horror?” I’m just hoping that the pain was not all for naught and everything heals up perfectly soon.
I promise really do love my ostomy nurse, but ouch. Ha.
Note, however, that my wounds have nothing to do with an effluent from the stoma or defects in the ostomy appliance that I’m using. And there is no fault with my surgeon either (most of my incisions are healing quite nicely, and they were all absolutely BEAUTIFUL when I came out of surgery). My body is just being stubborn and deciding to heal slowly. Do you know what I blame this on primarily? PREDNISONE. The medication that keeps on giving.**
The wounds around my stoma aren’t serious by any means though. They are pretty small. They are just kind of annoying. They don’t usually hurt in everyday circumstances. It is kind of painful when people stick things in them though. :( Anyway, I am going back in four days to see what my surgeon has to think of this. My nurse said that they will probably do something similar to THE HORRIBLE BURNING “but it will be worse.” Haha. I’m glad I’m a good sport. They might numb the area first, but they might not. I’ll let you know.
*At the animal hospital where I work, we use silver nitrate sticks to cauterize dog toenails if we accidentally cut them too short during a toenail trim. We usually only resort to this if we are out of “Kwik-Stop” powder, because the silver nitrate burns, and the doggies are usually very unhappy about it.
**Yes, yes, prednisone, I do realize you pretty much kept me from literally dying for most of my life. Still, can you knock off the nasty side effects?