Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I want to document my scars at this point for several reasons. Before I went into surgery I was curious to know the length/width and overall appearance of the scars that were soon to become a permanent part of me and so I would like to show other panproctocolectomy patients what they can expect. I would also like to document them for myself so I can watch the progression and be able to look back and appreciate the body's healing process. In order to capture my scars, I will also need to show my ostomy appliance and so I will give a brief explanation of how that works:

The ostomy is a two-part system. The "flange" is the part that sticks to my body. A whole is cut in this system that is sized to fit perfectly around my stoma (my small intestine that is pulled through the skin). The bag clicks onto the flange to cover the ileostomy and collect waste. There is no smell and the bag is fairly easy to hide. I wear beige-colored bags, so you will not see my ileostomy/stoma in the pictures. If anyone has any questions about the ileostomy, please feel free to ask. I know I had a million questions about it before I went into surgery so I would be happy to help anyone out. Please note that an "ileostomy" (a stoma that uses the small intestine) is different from a "colostomy" (a stoma that uses the large intestine) and they function in very different ways.

The appearance of my abdomen will change after my second "takedown" surgery that will hopefully occur around the last week of June or first week of July. The ileostomy will be reversed and so instead of the ostomy appliance I will simply have a scar from where it used to be.

For now, this is what my abdomen looks like (5 weeks post-op). The scar on the left side of my abdomen is from the sump that was draining fluid from my abdominal cavity during surgery until a few days after surgery. The top photograph shows the ostomy. The bottom two photographs show my scar and the scars from the staples. The scar continues quite a bit further down my abdomen to the end of the pubic bone and the total length is 18 cm. You will notice some post-operative swelling on the left side of my abdomen that is actually muscular inflammation. It is slowly going down, but is still fairly visible 5 weeks later.

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