Surgeon’s encouragement to share my health story

07 Dec

UTI, Post Radiation Therapy Side Effects

One of the side effects I deal with from having had radiation treatments for colorectal cancer are reoccurring UTIs.  I was faced with another very persistent UTI that landed me in the hospital Thanksgiving week. I was very weak and thank the Lord that this mercy brought me home on Thanksgiving day to enjoy a wonderful meal cooked by my daughter. It was the best turkey I’ve ever eaten, those of you who’ve spent time in the hospital on holidays know what I mean.

Once again I think we need to be better at listening to our bodies especially when it comes to recurring symptoms that we know we will face intermittently. I had been doing too much the week prior a lot of driving and running around. I missed eating on time and sticking to my regimen of drinking enough fluids. This may have contributed to the severity of the UTI. Sometimes we need to be wise enough to slow down and not push ourselves beyond our limitations; however, we must always LIVE above our limitations in our mind and spirit. Live life-like everyday is the greatest blessing and gift because it is!

Blockages, living with an Ileostomy Dealing with Radiation Therapy Side Effects
As I’ve said before  in earlier posts for many years I was in and out of the hospital with blockages caused from food I could not digest. A contributing factor to this is the adhesions caused from multiple surgeries if they shift and if I eat to big of a portion of food or eat something I have a hard time digesting I can end up with a blockage.

Well that happened to me this week. I have been eating too much Italian bread and maybe too big of a portion of my meals collectively that I ended up with a blockage that couldn’t be resolved by coconut water or any of my other methods. I am so grateful to report that I was released yesterday and I’m recuperating and taking my time to work back to eating solid diet again. God is so merciful again. The surgeon I met with was very encouraging and encouraged by my attitude; he said please continue to share your story it can help so many people who are in a similar position.

If you’ve ever experience a blockage with an ileostomy, you will know the pain involved in the food being backed up and not being able to pass through the ileostomy. If the blockage is severe, it can cause you to vomit your food and bile.

It is difficult to adjust to life with anything new, but it can be done. Having an ileostomy is quite different from a colostomy. When I first had the colostomy I could eat most of the food I was used to eating.

However, an ileostomy was quite different it really limits the amount of food (selection and quantity) that I can intake. Remember I’m working with my small intestines only. Some of the most nutritional foods that are good most people (vegetables, fruit, fiber…) cannot be easily digested by many people with ileostomy though all cases are different.

Eat small meals, drink plenty of fluids frequently

It is important to eat small meals frequently throughout the day as the ileostomy never stops working so you can easily become dehydrated and have an electrolyte imbalance. I know this from experience. The waste out-put with an ileostomy is more liquid then the paste out-put that a colostomy produces. I had to be very careful ensuring I have enough fluids and  in order to get the necessary nutrients I would lack from not being able to eat vegetables and fruit etc I learned to take 1-3 Ensure Plus a day. I also drink Gatorade to replenish electrolytes lost from having an ileostomy. Electrolyte imbalance can include loss of appetite, drowsiness, abdominal cramps and faint feelings. Seek medical help immediately! While most people should avoid salt I need to take an extra serving of salt to put back all that is lost from the fluid out-put of an ileostomy. For quite a while in addition to table salt I had to take salt tablets. Consult your physician about the proper amount your body requires. Taking pills are difficult too because even a pill can cause a blockage in the stoma so I have to crush all of the medications I take which I will review in a later post.

No life isn’t always easy but it sure is good to be alive! Live in the present moment and be grateful and seek joy and find ways to bring joy and help to others in need.

If you are feeling or experiencing something similar, I’d love to hear from you. I didn’t have anyone who could relate to me at the time and I don’t want that for you.  Please send me an email or reach out to me via Facebook or Twitter.

TAKE ACTION, ask your primary care doctor for a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)[i] which can detect or prevent cancer long before the symptoms occur. Make your health a number one priority. You’re worth it and your family and friends are worth it!

Until next time.  Luv you all!

Dee Dee

 Psalm 91:2, I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in Him will I trust.

Prayer I say, I proclaim, I confess that You, God, are my refuge and fortress.  My trust is in You alone.


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