I know I'm really overdue for an update, but it's kind of complicated. For awhile, I didn't really want to think about my recovery anymore. I just needed some time that wasn't about that aspect of my life. It was kind of hard to get though since my recovery was still driving everything I did and how I did it. I attempted to pick back up with my running about a month after my takedown surgery. Initially I was just thrilled to be doing it. Then, I noticed I was really battling some heavy fatigue. Things got a little worse and I found I couldn't stand up without getting amazingly light headed and feeling like I might blackout. I went to see my family doc and we figured out that I was super anemic and also majorly deficient in Vitamin D. She ordered an additional month of rest, supplementation, and then a recheck. It was difficult to take that extra time off, but I did rediscover Pilates during that time which was a plus. Fortunately, when I went back for my recheck my numbers were back in the normal range and I got the green light to resume my running. I am happy to report I completed a twelve mile training run yesterday and I will be running a half marathon on May 12th. I'm feeling a bit emotional about the race because it's the one I was supposed to do last spring but had to let go so that I could get my colectomy. It feels good to be going back! My pace still isn't back where I would like it to be, but considering how weak and sick I was as recently as November, I'm thrilled to be right here where I am right now. I'm also really happy that the j-pouch has been so compatible with running. I haven't had any trouble at all once I figured out I need to eat at least an hour before my run. The sports drinks and gels that I take don't cause any issues at all which was something I was worried about when I started back up.
I'm also a third of the way through my first quarter back at school! I am in nursing school now and it has me pretty busy but I love it. I'm currently taking an algebra class, chemistry, and anatomy/physiology so it's a challenge, but in a good way. It feels good to be finally doing something again after all of that downtime. Everything I'm learning is so interesting and I'm looking forward to getting into the profession and helping patients in the future.
Writing has also been tricky because I kind of felt like I didn't have anything to say since my surgery process is over. I finally remembered though how much I combed the Internet looking for stories of what people's lives were like after the j-pouch process and decided there are still things I can contribute. I'm still doing really well. I don't currently use any Imodium or fiber therapy. I'm in the neighborhood of six to eight bathroom visits per day depending on what and how much I eat. I'm easily able to sleep six or so hours at night without interruption, sometimes more. This is all better than I expected way sooner than I expected! We did get the bidet seat for our toilet and I can't recommend that highly enough for people with a j-pouch. I don't have any issues at all with irritation and no longer use any kind of pastes, etc. I do carry flushable wipes in my purse for when I'm out and about and that seems to work great. I know people are always curious about dietary things as well. I'm back on a vegetarian/semi-vegan diet now and am able to just about anything I want. I was surprised to discover that's seem to be lactose intolerant now. I guess it's not that uncommon with small bowel surgery, but I didn't know that until recently. With that being the case, I've opted to go ahead and cut out dairy and eggs as well. I do flex back a bit when eating a restaurant (if there is butter in a dish, etc) but am trying to mostly avoid animal products all together at this point. I'm able to eat tofu, beans, all kinds of steamed veggies, salad, fresh fruit---pretty much everything. I haven't tried some of the biggies like popcorn just yet, but I will at some point. I have had a little bit of nuts in foods (like Luna bars, etc) and that has been fine. I know people also worry about alcohol, but I haven't noticed any issues there. I don't drink much or often these days, but I've had a beer or glass of wine here and there without consequence. Overall, I'm extremely happy with the function of my pouch and would definitely make the decision for surgery again if I had to to.