My personal ostomy story - Michael Traynor
Michael Traynor shares his personal ostomy story and how he regained confidence after surgery.
My journey started a long time ago I was at that time 25 years of age so relatively speaking quite young, I was married with 2 young children . I was a fit and sporty type playing football and no previous signs of ill health I did not realise I had a serious problem for some time. I was passing blood when I had a bowel movement but simply thought it would go away, I was working in an accountancy firm in Belfast at the time. Typical of most men I did not mention it to anyone, as I was carrying on fairly normally and nobody really noticed. The problem got progressively worse after a number of months and I was having more regular visits to the toilet. However it came to a head when I was at the beach one day with my family and friends and I had a great need to go for what I thought was just a bad diarrhoea. However, when I came home my wife persuaded me to go to the doctor as there were signs of bleeding. I went and it was diagnosed that I probably had some tear in my back passage and some medication was prescribed. Within a short time after that I was back a t the doctor and seen a more senior man who knew I had something more serious so he sent me home and explained that a consultant from the hospital would call out to see me at home. The consultant in fact arrived within a few hours and after an examination he said he was admitting me to hospital, I had Ulcerative Colitis and he planned to do an exploratory operation. I was admitted to hospital and was about to be prepared for an exploratory operation when I suddenly had a temperature rise so it could not be progressed so it was postponed, that was late July 1971. Over the next few weeks my situation became rapidly worse and on 25 August I was still in hospital when I had a major haemorrhage and was rushed to the theatre where I was for several hours and so began my life with an ileostomy. I had a major operation where most of my bowel was removed, the medical term was a Colectomy which is irreversible. I stayed in hospital for another month and was allowed home on 25 September but had to attend on a daily basis for the next 2 years for dressings as the wounds took a long time healing. During my time in hospital I lost almost half my body weight. I was previously a fit young man weighing 10 stone 7 ounces and my weight coming home was about 6 stone 7 ounces.
I have always been a confident man and when I came home I started walking small distances to regain my health and eating a little more each week to build my weight up and slowly I was getting back to normal. Although I was weak at the start I recovered fairly rapidly and I had no problem telling my friends about my experience as most of them knew what had happened. I had great support from my family especially my wife who was a tower of strength and she had to cope with me at home, a near invalid initially and 2 very young children but slowly life returned to normal and after another 6 months I was able to return to work and thankfully my employers who stood by me the whole time kept my job open for me. In those times there was little or no support, there were no Stoma Nurses , no real aftercare except your GP who understandably for someone who never had a colostomy or ileostomy did his best to help and support so you were on your own. After a time the hospital approached me to ask if I would visit patients who were about to have the surgery to reassure them that one could still lead a normal life after this operation, I was happy to oblige with this and I hope I was able to help some through what was a difficult time.