Confessions of a Rocket Scientist
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
  The Lighter Side of a Colostomy
I think I mentioned that I survived Colon Cancer. It was over 2 years ago. I was treated with radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. The surgery was the final part of my treatment.

I knew going in that a colostomy was a real possibility, so I discussed it with my surgeon before the operation. If I had to get it, I wanted it to be below my waistline if possible. It would be easier to maintain if it was below the belt.

Actually things looked good going in. I had a preliminary colonoscopy the morning of surgery, and the tumor had really shrink down to almost nothing. All indications pointed to a successful re-attachment. But this was not to be.

When I woke up in PACU, my first question was "Do I have a colostomy?" The nurse answered that I had. She then told me that I had awakened earlier (I have no memory of this) and asked the same question, but my phrasing was a bit more "colorful." (In other words, it was something like "Do I still have an asshole?")

Okay, so I have had this bag catching my poop for two years now. What's it been like? Actually, it is interesting and in some ways amusing.

I suppose I could have become horribly depressed over the whole thing. I mean, colon cancer is inherently depressing. Imagine having to crap out of your side into a plastic bag for the rest of your life. But I am definitely a survivor. I managed to get this far and by God I would keep on going. And my first line of defense would be humor.

That's right, humor. If you can laugh at a situation, it hasn't beaten you.

Of course, I am always running into crepe-hangers who expect me to be miserable and depressed over my situation. "How can you possibly be so happy?" they ask. "Don't you know that you have a colostomy?"

Like I could ever forget! But part of the fun of being a pleasent fellow is the way that going through life with a smile on your face and a song in your heart can so thoroughly piss off these misery mongers. I just love it when I can laugh off my condition and send them on their way shaking their heads in bewilderment. God, but it is a pure pleasure to screw with their feeble minds!

So here is a list of things that are really cool about having a colostomy.

First off, I never have to worry about sitting on the toilet seat at a dirty men's room. This is really a huge advantage. For some reason, public rest rooms in today's world tend to be disgusting.

I never have to excuse myself from a really long meeting to take care of "nature."

I don't have to turn over for my annual colonoscopy.

No more prostate exams! Yee-ha!

If I ever do time in prison, there's at least one thing I don't have to fear.

I'll never need Preparation H.

I can pass gas and nobody will ever know because my bag has a charcoal filter.

Of course, a colostomy is not all fun and games. A stoma is a high-maintenance item and requires special supplies and extra care. Essentially, I have a hole in my gut that leads to my intestines. It needs to be kept clean and I have to change the bag regularly. I must also be aware of the possibility of the appliance failing. This can be rather embarassing as you might expect. And I need to carry some supplies with me, just in case I need to change the pouch or the appliance comes loose. But with a few adjustments, I lead a moderately full life. The hardest part of having a colostomy was finding shoes to match the bag. {grin and duck :-) }

Incidently, I gave my stoma a nickname. I call it Stinky.

Today's cup of coffee was Colombian Supremo, a mellow, full-bodied coffee with an excellent flavor.
Pretty impressive story. I lost my mother in law to colon cancer just after our wedding, so I've got some experience with the subject at hand. I laugh at most of what life throws my way, but I don't know if I'd have the stones to make jokes about something like this. I'm not sure I'm strong enough to pass that test.
A fantastic sense of humor, something you better have when life has kneed you for the second time.

An elderly female patient of mine had a urostomy and she had the best attitude I had ever seen. She told the now she can just pee against the tires on a long road trips, just like the men.

You are a fighter and an inspiration, my congratulations.
I was looking at your posts about cancer jennings peter and found a good article about the same cancer jennings peter info too...

God luck with it : )
Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

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Come and check it out if you get time :-)

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The continuing story of a man, his hobby, and the search for a really good cup of coffee.

"The first cup of coffee in the morning recapitulates Phylogeny." -J. Pournelle

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Location: Quakertown, Pennsylvania, United States

Two time cancer survivor, happily married, LaSalle Alumnus

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