How to Prepare for Ileostomy Surgery 

A surgery will make you feel anxiety and fear, and you may wonder if you’ll be okay. But ileostomy surgery can be a great way to improve your quality of life too. 

It is a surgery that takes part of the colon and the small intestine, and has it exit out of the wall of the abdomen, so that the fecal matter is then directed out of the anus. There are various different kinds of ileostomy surgery that you can get. 

They can be reversable too. 

Types of Ileostomies 

There are different kinds of ileostomies too. 

First you’ve got the brooked or standard ileostomy, which is usually the most common, and it is where the stoma gets created by turning the ileum over itself, similar to how you fold cuffs on clothing.  It’s then sutured directly towards the abdomen, and the waste is then a paste or a liquid consistency, and then it moves out of the stoma. 

The second is continent, and this one doesn’t involve wearing appliances, where the make a valve and reservoir within the abdomen.  You drain the waste with a catheter in order to drain this, and a cap is then worn over. this is usually done for UC or cancer. 

Finally there is the J pouch, which of course is a surgery that involves a reservoir made from the ileum that’s terminal, and it then makes a reservoir that’s kind of in the shape of the letter J. from there, part of the rectum and anus or all of this is preserved, and usually, this is done similar to how the Brooke one then starts. But this is actually more reversible, and the reservoir is then attached to the anus or rectum so that the stool can exit the body itself without needing an appliance that’s external. 

What to expect 

It’s a surgery that does involve up to a week’s stay at a hospital, and the recovery can be up to 8 weeks depending on the surgery itself. 

First, you meet with the ET nurse who will discuss the stoma, the location, and the care for this. They’ll take into consideration the lifestyle you have, the clothes you like to wear, and how you wear these too. 

From here you may get tested and get some x-rays as well, and they also will look at the different medications. 

You also may need to have your colon prepared, and the goal is to get rid f the stool within the colon. You also may get some antibiotics. 

From here, you get surgery, and of course, they’ll be doing this for a few hours.  When you wake up, the valve or stoma will be there, and the appliance is there too. 

They may have an NG or surgical tube in place too, and there might be a morphine drip towards the legs. 

During this point, you’re then at the hospital for the stay, and they will make sure that the bowels do properly recover and heal. They usually give a liquid diet for a bit, and then more solid options over time. Usually, it’s pretty simple to recover, and there are follow-up appointments that come with this. 

That’s the extent of the surgery, and in a lot of cases, it can be a good one for you to get. The recovery is not that long either, and it can markedly improve your life, especially if you suffer from major diseases including cancer and the like, and you need to get the help that you deserve for this process too. 

Before vs. after ostomy

Life without an ostomy bag is not much different when compared to life without one. Certain things are more easy without it, however. The ostomy procedure is not a difficult one. During this surgery, the patient will be under general anesthesia for the extent of the procedure. After the surgery, there will be some adjustments to be made as having a bag on your abdominal region may be odd at first. The difference between the two lifestyles is there, but there are not as many differences as some may expect there to be. 

Life without an ostomy is not that much different from life with an ostomy bag. There are some differences, though. One example is pretty obvious; you will not have a bag attached to your abdominal area. The odd sensation an ostomy bab would take some adjustments like all things in life. When you do not have an ostomy bag, you can eat whatever you want whenever you want; as an avid food lover, this is surprisingly important to me as having restrictions on the foods I could eat would be sad. Any sport you want to play is also at your disposal, be it football to golf, you can play any that you wish and your abilities allow for.

A life with an ostomy bag has a few drawbacks, in my opinion. The first example is the fact that any sport with any physical contact of any kind is off-limits. This is because there is a risk that a bad hit or fall will cause the ostomy bag to rupture, letting all the fluids inside loose. Another example of some drawbacks to ostomy is the restrictions on foods that can be eaten. Doctors will advise their patients to avoid certain foods as they will cause indigestion or bad gas. With an ostomy bag, there are risks of other infections setting in that you may not be able to get with life without an ostomy pouch. 

The two lifestyles have more similarities than differences between them. Both lifestyles can play sports, but ostomy patients are restricted to the kins they can play, whereas life without an ostomy pouch allows for any sport to be played if desired. Another similarity is both lifestyles allow for working out. It is always essential to work out as to live a healthy life regardless if you have an ostomy bag or not. When getting an ostomy procedure, you will not need new clothing as the clothes you wore before will work just as well, along with hiding the ostomy pouch.

The differences between the two lifestyles are not that great. In reality, getting an ostomy procedure and life after is no different than life without an ostomy bag other than carrying around the bag. Who you tell about your ostomy procedure is entirely up to you. You do not need to tell anyone; the choice is yours. Getting an ostomy can be a life-changing experience, but it does not have to change who you are, and I believe that is an important thing to remember as injuries can cause a person to change who they are, sometimes not for the better. Life with an ostomy does not have to be an entirely different life either, you can still do everything you did before the procedure, but there are some limitations, as discussed. 

What Is A Stoma?

The terms ostomy and stoma are used interchangeably. A stoma is an opening in the abdomen to allow a patient to expel feces and urine. People of any age can have stomas. The reasons a person may need a stoma can be a bowel condition or injury.

Types of stoma

There are three types of a stoma. Two of these types divert feces away from the rectum and anus, while one diverts urine away from the bladder. The intestinal stomas are colostomy and ileostomy, while the urinary ostomy is called a urostomy.

A stoma is pink and moist. It is usually swollen during the first few days after surgery, but the swelling subsides after 6-8 weeks. Since there are no nerves in a stoma, it won’t feel anything upon touching. Stomas can differ in shape and size.


The stoma created after bringing an end of the large intestine out through a cut in the belly is known as a colostomy. The surgeon stitches this end to the abdominal skin. Although it is generally on the left side of the belly, it can be on the right side in some cases. A colostomy may function two to three times a day. Since this stoma helps the patient retain a significant part of the colon, the stool passing out of the stoma is firmer.


This stoma connects the end of the small intestine to the outside of the body. The surgeon brings the end of the ileum from the inside of the abdomen to the outside through a small cut to create this stoma. An ileostomy is generally on the right side of the abdomen. Since this stoma bypasses the entire colon, stools passing out of it contain a lot of moisture. That is why this stoma is more active compared to a colostomy. An ileostomy typically functions three to six times a day.


A urostomy is a stoma that diverts the passage of urine away from the diseased bladder. The surgeon usually takes a small piece of the ileum to create a conduit. He connects ureters at one end of the conduit, while the second end is brought out through a small incision in the belly to create a stoma. This stoma functions almost continuously throughout the day and night. If you have it, you have to wear an ostomy bag the entire day and night.

Temporary vs. permanent stoma

From the perspective of structure and function, a temporary stoma is usually similar to a permanent one. You will get a temporary stoma if your doctor finds out that your bowel needs to rest in order to recover from an underlying condition or injury. In that case, you will get a loop or end stoma. After your bowel recovers, the surgeon will conduct another surgical procedure to reverse the stoma.

A permanent stoma tends to become a permanent feature of your body. The surgeon will give you a stoma for a lifetime if your bowel has no chance of healing from a condition. The surgeon will disconnect the diseased part of the bowel and give you a stoma by bringing the end of the healthy bowel out through the abdominal wall. A urostomy is generally a permanent stoma.

America’s favorite pastime with an ostomy is hard

There is an amazing love of baseball in the United States. It could be for some that opening day for baseball is always the most exciting day of the year. This is something that not all of us are born into because some states prefer other sports in general.   I didn’t feel this way until I started working at a really cool job.  In fact I didn’t even like Basteball untill recently and it has nothing to do with me having an ostomy either.  Baseball was not my favorite sport to follow, but it really is a fun one to play.  A new yearly work tradition is to take an opening day off and drink whisky and smoke cigars all day and call it a workday.  Now, do I love opening day of baseball now? It has got me and my family back into the spirit of baseball and we are more and more finding ourselves outside playing baseball.  It is indeed a little more difficult due to the fact that I must take my ostomy supplies with me.  Yes, indeed I have a stoma and it does take a little more work to stay safe and not get messy when being outside. It really takes good research and fantastic ostomy products that prevent any mistakes or leaks from happening.  Luckily, it’s 2021 and amazing gear is in the works. 

So having an ostomy does make things slightly different for me playing baseball than others.  That is OK and with a little planning, it goes really well. So some differences I have to deal with playing baseball differ from my normal day is that I know I am going to get more sweaty.  This means I need to dress appropriately and wear clothes that breathe and wick moisture away.  For this, I suggest not getting ostomy supplies that are made with cotton.  Cotton breathes but it does not wick moisture away very well. So I find myself getting really sweaty and staying that way. And if I am getting more sweaty in one area than my ostomy bag prints and everyone knows I have one.  It looks a little strange and it gets super annoying because it sticks to my shirt.  Or I should say my shirt sticks to it more.  

Now it is important to be smart and to be happy.  I tend to think that having the correct gear is important.  So find yourself a moisture wicking ostomy bag and supplies.  This means find polyester or nylon ostomy gear so you are ready to go outside and play. I cannot stress enough that its important to go outside and be in nature and for me do it with my family.  Being on the sidelines is nothing that a stoma has kept me from doing.  You don’t need to be sitting on the sidelines, instead go out and be active and find the gear and clothing that works for you. 

I don’t wear compression shirts anymore because that would just get in the way and possibly cause some leakage issues. So I wear loose fitting clothes when I am outdoors and honestly I like just fine. So grab a mit and maybe a bat and play ball.  But we are all different and it is also really awesome to go out and ask the social media people with stomas what they are doing too. 

Basketball Challenges with A Stoma

My life has given me a lot of experience.  Now I know a lot more then many people who grew up in the same time that I have.  But I have heard the saying “Average people practice something over and over and over again until they get it right. Great people practice something over and over and over again until they can’t get it wrong.” In my world, this quote is all about basketball. Well because for me basketball is pretty much life.  But it’s not necessarily for “me” in the sport of basketball. It’s for my players. My job as a coach is to get them to define what it is they want to practice over and over again in the offseason until they can’t get it wrong. Once this is defined, I put together an individual skill development plan that is tailored directly to what they said they want to get better at.  It is a skill that can be transferred to many others and it is an incredible thing to learn.

The truth is that without this ability many people would not be worth a darn in the real world.  In fact, one of my players must play with something that may challenge him more than his peers. He had an ostomy care procedure a few years back, and it completely changed him as a person. Not only as a player with new physical needs, but also emotionally. He became much more of a man than his peers in quick time, all because he has to practice ostomy care that the others don’t.  It gave more responsibility at a younger age and much more dedication to being better.  He had a chip on his shoulder.

This person was incredible so, he’s inspired me to ask my players the questions “what is something you think you need to get better at?” and “what is something you want to get better at?”. This way, they can be honest with themselves about their shortcomings when they think about what it is they need to be better at, but also allows them to have some fun with what they want to get better at. There is no reason to ever stop being better.

Most kids need to get better with their off-hand.  It is not natural and it needs to be learned to do something hard that is also beneficial.  It is a good lesson.  So, if you’re naturally right-handed, you need to get better with your left hand so you don’t become one dimensional in all that you do (constantly driving right, finishing right, and passing right). If you can use your off-hand as well as your natural hand, you become multidimensional in what you can do, which makes you harder to guard.

It is true though that it comes with a cost.  However, what you need to get better at isn’t always fun. Therefore, I give my players the opportunity to work on something they want to get better at too. This usually consists of three-point shooting, or dribbling moves, or developing a jump shot, etc. “the fun stuff”. Working on the hard things builds character and gives you grit.

Regardless, in order to get better at anything, a purposeful and driven mindset is key. You must be faithful with the little things in order to receive the benefits of great things. You cannot simply use willpower to get your left hand to be better with the basketball. You actually have to practice and put that hand in positions to get better. This takes time, dedication, and repetition. It also pays off down the road when life throws you big hard times.  You know what it is like to work through the pain and hard times.

Can you lift heavyweight with a stoma?

There are many things that each of us finds joy in.  Some of us love reading and others love weightlifting in just the same way.  They can both release stress and make your entire life better.  But there are some things that people don’t think individuals with a stoma can do. I don’t let this get in the way of my passion.  What I really love doing is being outside and backpacking.  Backpacking is a part of my life that has always given me some of the greatest times and personal areas of growth in my life.  When I heard that an Ostomy was scheduled and I was going into surgery I knew that it would not be the end of my backpacking career. My goal was to be me again and find my passion of the outdoors again.

Once you are out of surgery you can then start to think about getting back to regular life again.  It takes time to recover.   I first made up my mind to get back into it when I got home from the hospital.  I took a few weeks to learn the ropes and get past the learning curve.  Then when I understood what ostomy gear worked for me I knew I had to learn how to do the hard stuff and be active with my stoma.  It took me some time to be able to get a backpack with weight in it and carry that around.  I started very light and slow.

I started at the gym and went on moving up slowly from there.  It was a long road and was not easy, but I have hurt my ankle so many times that I knew it was going to be some work.  So I thrived to learn how to use the right size ostomy bags and the right belts to keep it tight on my body.  I found out what gear worked for me and what didn’t.  Then once my body was strong enough I turned to the actual gear of backpacking.  Yes, I am a gear hound and love finding new things and different ways to use them.

Research led me to many good spots of information and I knew I needed to go lighter.  I was going to need to bring more ostomy gear with me and that meant I wanted to offset it with a lighter kit.  So I looked into the realm of ultralight backpacks.  This also was needed because I didn’t want to risk my stoma gear getting caught on my hip-belt.  This was a whole difficult task because to get a backpack this light and without a pack, I needed to go ultralight on all of my gear.  Social media helped me and I learned that ultralight backpacking existed.  I learned so many things about gear and the philosophy and used it for my life.

Now I use super light gear and my backpack weighs less than a pound.  It was amazing to start getting my gear down to super lightweight.  My tent weighs three pounds and all in all I can go out and backpack with a less than 20-pound pack  That allows me to be able to do this all without a hip-belt and not to harm my body.  My health is really going well right now. 

Tips And Tricks For Living With An Ostomy

Life is hard enough without having the added stress of an ostomy. However, anyone with an ostomy knows that there is nothing more stressful than dealing with your stoma day and in and day out. I know from personal experience that having ostomy problems can turn a good day into a bad one really quickly. If you yourself have been struggling to make it through each day, then you are not alone my friend. Life is hard enough when it comes to working for a living. I mean, who the heck wants to get up and work everyday? Is that really all there is to life? Well, I don’t really have the answers when it comes to the key to happiness or how to find a life that you will enjoy, but I do know a thing or two about living with a stoma. For all my fellow ostomates out there, I have compiled a short list of tips and tricks for living with an ostomy that I think everyone should know about. So if you are reading this and you are about to get an ostomy, or if you already have one, go ahead and take some notes!

The first tip that I have for people living with an ostomy is to get your ostomy pouch change down to a routine. Having a routine for just about anything makes that activity easier and more repeatable. If you are having trouble changing your ostomy pouch without spilling your content all over the place, it might be a good idea to watch some videos on the internet to see how you can be changing up the process.

You should only be changing your ostomy pouch a few times a week at the most – most people only change them about twice a week. With that being said, there are certain things that can help make the ostomy pouch a lot easier to change. One thing to keep in mind is that it is much easier and less time consuming to change your ostomy pouch on an empty stomach; that way, you won’t have to deal with all the output that will come out of your stoma while you are changing ostomy pouches. It is also a good idea to try to change your ostomy pouch in the shower if at all possible, since this is the easiest place to try to clean up the mess you might make.

Another tip that I have for people living with an ostomy learning how to travel with an ostomy pouch. Traveling can be stressful for anybody, and it becomes even more stressful when you have to worry about your ostomy pouch needs and all the supplies you have to bring along with you. It is a really good idea to have a bag all setup for traveling that just has your ostomy supplies and other necessities in it. By having these items available to you, you can ensure that you are not going to be without them when you really need them most. So if you are flying on a palace, for example, make sure to bring ostomy supplies with you in your carry on so that you don’t have to worry about a disaster happening in the middle of the flight.

Don’t Be Embarrassed by Your Stoma

There is usually one major thing that people think of when they hear the word stoma.  Upon finding out that people have to have an ostomy the reaction is usually negative. Feelings of fear and embarrassment rush into the patient’s mind. Their lives truly will change when they have to deal with ostomy care. It can be a sad experience. But, on the contrary, it can be a very happy experience! Don’t let people get you down over something that has just saved your life possibly.  Some people struggle so much that the thought of a solution like an ostomy is just so surreal for them. Many times it removes pain, discomfort, and sickness from the patient’s life. There is also another surprising pro that most people overlook upon hearing they will have ostomy care to worry about.  So don’t worry too much.

There is always a hobby that can be enjoyed by most people.  Getting into concerts is one of those areas. The incredible feeling you get from the vibe even is important. People can be just so happy, so positive, so supportive. It was unlike any other experience that people could get anywhere else. Camping festivals were also among her favorite music festivals. Getting to spend multiple days with the beautiful people around is many people’s favorite part of life.

Getting to know people from all walks of life and from all over the world is truly amazing and this is one area that can truly help give people joy and life. Discovering new music through those new relationships was also so special. Meeting with people, discuss new music, and go watch their favorite band with them. Nothing was more amazing than watching someone enjoy their favorite act from the weekend. Pure bliss. So many people could not imagine missing a show or even having to step away for a few minutes.

Here is where the advantage of a stoma came in. The best part is that if you like this type of thing, you don’t have to look for a bathroom. There was simply no reason for anyone to worry about leaving a show, scoping out a bathroom where the line was not 50 plus feet deep, and then trying to make her way back to her spot. Nope. It is incredible to be able to skip this whole area and know that you are able to do it all because of your stoma.   d

At first, many people think that a stoma would be embarrassing, just like many other people who find out they have to have an ostomy procedure. But at concerts, it is honestly a blessing in disguise. Actually, other people even say they are jealous that you don’t have to go into gross porta-potties! Most people with a stoma could not agree more. We generally feel so happy to be pain-free and with a happy colony because of her procedure. I know that I feel even happier she never has to miss a set again. That means that I am able to go to new places and experience really fun crowded areas with much less to worry about.  That is a super cool thing about having a stoma and should be a positive part of your life and not a negative one.

Fashion with Ostomy Care

Have you ever ended up walking down the road or a hallway and noticed that people were looking at you.  This is a feeling that at first is rather strange, but in time people don’t even notice it.  But when you are generally not a fashionable person or considered a little overweight and end up losing a bunch of weight you will notice that people look at you.  The notice is because they see an attraction and that can be for many different reasons.  At first, you think the feeling is that something is wrong, but soon you realize that you simply look good and that the look is positive.  This is the feeling that many people who are just out of surgery from an ostomy think they will never feel again.  That is the way that it goes sometimes.  So I wanted to go over some ideas and tips to overcome that feeling and hope that you can get those looks again soon and all based on your fashion.

Learning to dress differently is hard.  I remember moving to a new culture for a few months and learned that everything I was wearing was wrong.  People stared and thought I was just out of touch.  It was not that what I was wearing was not normal where I was from, but in new places, they have different styles.  So for several months, I had to shop, ask questions, and learn how to dress again.  Everything was different and I ended up on a huge learning curve.  But soon I figured out what was right, in place and how it all worked.  The same really goes for dressing with an ostomy bag as well. It seems scary, normal clothes seem out of place and you have to relearn how things work.  This is easily done though and the learning curve is quick to overcome.  But I think the key thing to do is seek out answers to questions.

I first saught my questions online.  This is 2020 and with phones and laptops, it is simply not smart not to look for answers.  Things happen fast and fashion still changes just as fast.  So that is why it is important to keep up with the times and keep searching.  I first like to start by simply googling ostomy fashion and read up on all that is out there.  But remember that dates matter and fashion changes. But many of the core ideas of ostomy fashion stay the same so feel free to read and learn from the old things and articles as well.  But social media is truly the main area to look at for what is hip and in.

I highly suggest finding people to follow on all platforms of social media.  Rather they are simply posting videos, photos, or written works they are all worth keeping up with.  Find people you admire or like their look.  Find people with body types like yours or similar stoma placements.  That helps to allow you to be able to match more easily.  But be open to understanding that we are all different and that what works for one person may not work for you.  This is a key part to learning and understanding that even your favorite person’s ideas may not work for your body.

How to Gravity Feed 

This is a method of adding formula to a tube used to feed, ad the formula usually flows out through the process of gravity. Normally, this is slower than a syringe, and usually, a rolled clamp is used on this tubing in order to monitor the rate. Usually, you get a “meal” every few hours, with the feeding process taking anywhere from 30-60 minutes. 

How you can Gravity Feed 

First, you need to make sure that you have materials, which include: 

  • A cup of water at room temperature 
  • The gravity feeding bag 
  • A pole for the IV 
  • Formula 
  • A catheter tip or syringe that’s about 60 millimeters. 

With this, you always wash your hands before you handle these supplies. 

The Steps 

You will then want to look at the types of feeding tubes. For low-profile feeding tube types, you need to make sure that the extension is primed to remove the air that’s there before attachment. This also prevents the air from coming into the stomach itself, reducing discomfort or preventing it. 

First, you need to clamp the set, and then remove your plunger from that syringe, and then add it to the tubing. You then want to add about 15 milliliters of that formula directly to the syringe itself. You can ten unclamp the extension, which allows for the formula to sit directly into one end of the tubing itself, and then clamp the set o the extension. From here, you attach your extension directly to the feeding tube itself. For normal feeding tubes, you want to flush this out with some water to properly prime this and prevent air bubbles. 

NXT you want to: 

  • Take the plunger apart from the syringe 
  • Attach your syringe to that feeding tube 
  • Put about 10-15 mL of the water and let it flow there 
  • Clean the outside of the container for formula, and then use a towel to open that. 
  • Close this onto that bag that’s used 
  • Open up your gravity bag and put the right amount of formula into this 
  • Squeeze out the air from the bag in order to close this 
  • Put the bag onto the IV pole itself

Next, you want to prevent the bag from having air by priming this and preventing any problems. From here you want to open up the clamp that’s used for rollers and then add the formula so that it gets to the tip of this tubing. From there, close it. 

You then wat to remove the cover on the tubing of the gravity bag, then add the tip directly towards your feeding port. From there, open up the clamps there beginning to feed, while also controlling how much feed is going into there. 

In general, it’s going to take anywhere from 30-60 minutes for about 8 formula ounces, depending on how much you can tolerate.  You can also open up the roller clamp in order to speed this up, and then close it to slow it down. You also should slow down if you feel nauseous or full when feeding.  

If you have loose bowels when you’re feeding or a bad stomach problem, you also should remove it and reduce it too. Once this is done, put the feeding tube and the feeding bag away, flushing the tube with proper water.  Ten closes up the port and remove the tubing as needed. Obviously, wash and dry off the equipment and your hands, and make sure to keep the extra formula left over within 24 hours. 

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