The Busy Ileostomist: Scott Smith’s View on Life.
So who am I?
Simply answered I am no-one special. 7 years ago I was living my life like any normal 28 year old. I was married, balancing a full time career, I had a good social life. I'd go so far as to say I was decidedly average.
In February 2008, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and shortly after was told I had bowel cancer and needed a major operation which would leave me with an ileostomy. I had no time to process or come to terms with any of this information. In a few short months I was discharged from hospital, back into my 'normal' life, changed forever.
Yes, life has changed a lot in the last 7 years, dealing with cancer, adapting to life as an ileostomist. But skip forward to 2014 and who am I now?
I am now 35 and I'm still married to my lovely wife. I have a fantastic 5½ year old son. I have received a promotion and now manage a team of sales professionals. I have a great social life and I’m fitter than ever, competing in challenging cross-country obstacle races (something I had never done before!).
I'd be lying if I said the last 7 years were easy. But dealing with cancer, becoming an ostomist, does not mean the end of the world.
In my blog, I try to be honest and show how life has changed but not always for the worse.
Small, inconspicuous sachets and an impromptu experiment
I’ve had my stoma for 7 years and my body shape has definitely changed. My contacts at SecuriCare were always happy to discuss these changes and recommend products from their own knowledge or customer feedback.
I suffered with regular leaks until they recommended one particular product. I am not over-exaggerating; it has changed my relationship with my stoma. Previously I was always checking for leaks but now I feel confident that leaks are a thing of the past.
For a number of years especially during the watery output days, I had suffered with leaks. And with an ileo those days occur regularly. I tried different brands and sizes of bags but always found myself returning to my original brand. My stoma care nurse had commented on how clean my stoma site was so adhesion should be good. The leaks had started to become an issue and I became paranoid. Leaks never occur when you are sat at home watching TV. They always occurred when I was driving, in a meeting at work, always at the worst possible times!
Then in a conversation with SecuriCare while looking for another bag design, I mentioned my issues and worries. In my experience, SecuriCare always offer a consultative approach. After a brief chat, they had understood my problems and recommended their Morform sachets. They are a motion management sachet designed to 'gel' the contents of a stoma bag. Especially useful when suffering very liquid output. Perfect right? Sounds too good to be true?
Wow, I wish I had discovered these years ago! These small inconspicuous sachets made an immediate positive impact. When my output was watery the smallest crease or gap around the stoma site was almost guaranteed to leak. As my stoma appears to be very active it shifts in size and shape during output. Gaps became common and a slight lapse of concentration when applying a new bag creates a small crease. I have just calculated that in the last 7 years I have changed my bag over 2,000 times! Anyway, let’s just say the gap/crease issue occurred regularly.
When they first arrived I thought I had been sent the wrong items. Have you ever bought flat pack furniture? When you open it have you ever noticed the small sachets in the box? Apparently these are designed to absorb moisture while the goods are in a cold damp warehouse. The Morform sachets look exactly the same. Except they are on steroids!
I’m a pessimist and I don’t believe anything till I see it with my own eyes. So the first thing I did was see just how good transforming liquid into gel these sachets actually were. I was seriously surprised! Below are some pictures of my impromptu experiment. As you can see it transforms a lot of liquid to a manageable gel form.
I use drainable bags so emptying watery output also offers its own challenges so managing high output in this gel form is really handy.
You can put a sachet in your bag when applying. However, I usually only use them if and when I have watery output. Again, as I use drainable bags, I am able to simply slip a sachet into an emptied bag. If the watery output continues once the sachet has worked its magic I can just pop in a new sachet.
From talking to other ostomists, watery output is always challenging. In my opinion if leaks due to watery output are an issue or if you simply want to avoid this problem, order some Morform sachets with your next order...you will not be sorry ;)