At times in your life the future comes to mind quite a bit. Usually I try my best to live in the now but certain parts of life can’t be ignored. One of the IIF’s Board members recently had a proctectomy (removal of the rectum) and it got me thinking if I should finally have the same surgery. The decision to have any surgery is not a small one and I have given myself plenty of time to think about the proctectomy. It may be time.
Why have the surgery you ask? There are many reasons to have this surgery with my Crohn’s disease. Usually when a male has an ileostomy it is done in two surgeries, one to create the stoma and the second to remove the rectum. Many doctors will give the patient some time to think about when they want to go through with the second procedure when the time is right. For me that time might be next winter. Here the many reasons why I will be looking to have the proctectomy in November.
My rectal disease is still active and bothering me. Yes it has improved greatly since I got my ostomy but it still bothers me on a regular basis., especially lately. There really isn’t any reason for me to continue to live with this constant pain. On top of the pain, I have drainage which is expelled from the area daily. Not to the point were I need to wear a pad or anything but it is enough to be annoying enough to make me not want to deal with it anymore.
I am comfortable with my ostomy and I am not thinking of a reversal. When I first got my ostomy I was hoping that advancements would come along and I could get reversed. Now I’m realizing that I might not even want that. Living with the ostomy is not nearly as hard or bad as I thought. The mindset I always had been if they could grow a new colon for me in the future, then they could grow a rectum. Recently I have been thinking that even if the technology came along, I probably will not want to put my body through what will probably still be a larger surgery.
My rectum is already damaged and the more disease there is in the area, the harder the surgery will be. A proctectomy surgery for males is a little more difficult because the surgeons are forced to come close to the sexual nerves and the prostate of a male. The more extensive the damage and the disease is in the rectal area, the closer the doctors have to go to these nerves and muscles. If I’m comfortable with my ostomy there isn’t much reason to wait with the higher risk of side effects from the surgery.
The longer I keep my rectum, I’m at higher risk of rectal cancer. This one I don’t think needs a long explanation. My body and mind have already been through enough. If I can do anything to avoid a battle with cancer, I WANT TO DO IT. The longer I keep my rectum the risk of rectal cancer just gets higher.
When I put all of those reasons together it is not that hard of a decision. Still it is always hard to commit to a surgery. No one ever wants to go in for surgery but when a surgery is clearly needed, the choice is made for you. If I wait I will be in more discomfort, the surgery will be more dangerous and I play a game of chicken with cancer possibly. When I add all of those situations up the choice is made for me by the obvious factors. I’m thinking that the surgery will be at the beginning of November this year. Hopefully I will have a good year until then.
Never Stay Quiet!