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Irrigation

Well, I’ve taken the leap and have started irrigating. I should have done it months ago!

What is irrigation?

This is the act of feeding water into the bowel, via my stoma, so that the bowel empties it’s contents. Yes, we’re talking about poo again, sorry.

In order to be taught how to irrigate, two stoma nurses came to my home and showed me what to do. Having ‘a poo’ with two nurses watching made for an interesting afternoon. There was much laughter and once I started ‘going’ there were oohs and aahh ‘s as to how well it was all working. “That’s the best one we’ve ever done” the nurses said. I think there was a fair chance that I was discussed at their respective dinner tables that night. Yes, they really do talk about poo, a lot!

Anyway, it all went rather well and I’ve been irrigating for nearly a fortnight now and am very happy with how it is going.

So, how does it all work?

You start by feeding in 1.5 litres of tepid water using a cone that fits into the stoma. If you feed the water in too quickly the water just comes straight back out and doesn’t bring anything with it.

During the feeding in process the bowel will start to eject it’s contents and you can feel pressure around the stoma so you just take the cone out and let the contents emerge. Over the stoma you wear a sleeve that is, in effect, a long plastic tube, the end of which you place in the toilet so that the poo doesn’t end up anywhere else!

After the twenty minutes with all of the water fed in, the bowel will continue to empty and after about another twenty minutes you’re all done.

I can then remove the sleeve and have a shower without the need to wear a bag over the stoma, which helps to keep the skin around the stoma (the peristoma skin) healthy as, with wearing a bag all of the time, it can get quite dry and occasionally sore.

As the bowel is now empty I can wear a stoma cap, rather than a Colostomy bag, the cap being much smaller (as it shouldn’t need to hold any poo) and therefore more discreet. It also means that I don’t always need to wear longer tee shirts so that nobody can see my bag. As, you can see from the picture, there is a quite a size difference!

It also means that as you only ‘go’ once a day, there are no more worries of incidents occurring whilst you’re out and is a much more predictable way of managing Cecil. It’s like having a normal bum again!

Many people that irrigate only have to do so every other day, some every third day (that sounds a bit like stoma roulette to me!) but I would like to get to every other day so that the time impact is not as great.

But, so far, it is making life a little easier, especially when I am out seeing clients, particularly if they are far away from home, I no longer need to make sure I am near a toilet or at least know where the nearest toilet is.

Well, that’s about it for now.

My next news will be the result of my next check up which I will get on Monday next week, so if that all goes well, life continues …

Lastly, some of you will have heard that the ‘celebrity’ Stephen Fry was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has had surgery to remove his cancer, if you’ve not seen his video, it’s here, http://www.stephenfry.com/2018/02/mischievous/, it’s 12 minutes long but worth a watch.

In it, he makes the point that he is fortunate to be here and that all men ‘of a certain age’ should get their prostate checked and follow the advice of the doctors. Some of us, Stephen, have been saying that for a long time! Seriously, though, his message is the same as mine has been since I was diagnosed. If your body is doing something that you don’t think it normally does, or should be doing, get it checked. Mr Fry has the advantage that he has a slightly larger audience than me!

I shall post the result of my check up when I have the news which we hope, of course, will be good.

In the meantime, have a great weekend.

Pat.

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One year ago today…….

I was waiting for a taxi to come and collect me from the hospital after recovering from the surgery to remove my tumour!

That year has gone so quickly, it really seems to have flown.

So, 12 months ago I was about to embark on a two month enforced lie down, sounds nice but does get a little wearing after about a week!

What have I learnt in the intervening 12 months after disposing of my rectum and anus & having my backside sewn up?

Not all chairs are as comfy as they look to start with! Even now, sitting on a hard chair for even a short amount of time can mean an achy bum for a while.

All jokes aside, I do have to consider where I’m sitting and for how long I’m likely to be there.

But like all things that are the new ‘normal’ one just has to get used to it.

I’m fortunate that I still have access to my consultant and he will always answer an email, even if it’s what I think might be daft question. For example, I recently purchased an exercise bike so that I could try and get rid of the weight I have gained since my chemo nurse told me to not to lose weight (admittedly I have taken her advice too literally). After buying it, I wondered if I should be using one, given that the saddle will be putting pressure on my wound/scar, so dropped him an email asking what he thought. He suggested a gel saddle cover and that there was a very, very, very small risk of the wound getting damaged or splitting (which was my main worry). Using the wonder of Amazon (other delivery service are available!) the very next day the saddle cover arrived and I have to say, it makes for a comfy ‘ride’. So, watch this space for weight loss news (or not!).

In Cecil news, not much to report really, he’s been behaving himself (mostly) of late. I am thinking about irrigation again and will post updates with how it goes should I decide to go down that road and I promise they’ll be no pictures!

Anyway, that’s about it for now, I am due my next check up in Feb so hopefully that will go to plan and I shall be good to go for another three months.

Keep well folks!

Pat.

Decembeard – Completed

Hi

As you may recall I was supporting Bowel Cancer UK’s Decembeard campaign to raise funds for them.

I am delighted to say that the amount raised was £1,200.  Thank you to those of you that donated, especially at what is probably the most expensive time of the year!

I have been overwhelmed by the support that I have received, you all continue to humble me as I continue this journey – haven’t used that in a while!

Here is a photo of the finished product!

Week 4

It just remains for me to wish you all a very happy and most importantly, a healthy New Year.  Look after each other.

Pat.

Decembeard – Update

Well, it’s started! I’m one day unshaven!

In today’s post I received a note from Bowel Cancer UK to say that I’m the leading fundraiser in the #Decembeard campaign!

I wanted to thank all of you that have donated as, without you, we wouldn’t have got as far as we have. I’m nearly at the £1,000 mark, so if you are able to support this, big or small, and you’ve not done so yet, your help would be really appreciated.

Thank you very, very much. I’ve attached a copy of the note.

Pat.

10 month check up

Hi

Yes, it’s been 10 months since the op!

Had my CEA test and the excellent news is that the level was the same as last time, that is 1. As a comparison, before my rumour was removed it was 32!

My consultant had a feel of my tummy for any lumps and bumps but all was fine.

So, I’m back again in three months which will be my one year check up.

The good thing was also that Paula had her latest check up and she was all clear too.

So, we’re both good to go until our next checks! Much relief.

That’s about it for now, don’t forget, on the 1st December I’ll be starting my #Decembeard campaign for Bowel Cancer Uk. If you’d like to support me, please visit my just giving page here:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patrick-reeve

I’d love to get to £1,000 and I’m not too far away.

I’ll be posting beard updates along the way!

Take care.

Pat.

Decembeard!

Hello friends

In December, Bowel Cancer UK are running their annual ‘Decembeard’ fundraiser.  I want to support them so that any money I raise can help with more research and lifesaving work to stop bowel cancer.  The idea is to grow a beard in December!!

So, I will have my last shave on the 30th November and and then not again until January 1st.

I have set up a ‘Just Giving’ page and would be very grateful if you are able to sponsor me.  Link below:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patrick-reeve

I know this is not as exciting as abseiling down a cliff or climbing Kilimanjaro but all proceeds will be gratefully received I am sure!

I will leave it with you and hope that you are able to support me!

I will be posting ‘beard’ updates along the way, so, here goes….

Best wishes

Patrick.

This is ‘My Moment’!

Hello

You will recall a few posts ago I mentioned that I had been asked to write a piece for the Helen Rollason charity magazine called ‘Moment’ (Get it??).

It has now been published  – have a read if you like.

Page2

They wanted to focus on men and their cancers to try to encourage men to talk about problems they were having.  We are not very good at talking about things that worry us, especially if it involves, well, you know, embarrassing stuff, like rectums and our anus.

Well, I am very pleased that I did, so come on guys, if it’s worrying you, talk to your GP about it, they won’t be embarrassed and if they are, who cares!

Helen Rollason Cancer Charity is dedicated to supporting people whose lives are touched by cancer. Their support centres in Essex, London and Hertfordshire are vital in helping people living with cancer. The centres offer a range of complementary therapies to patients in an environment of peace and tranquility, including counselling, reflexology, aromatherapy, manual lymphatic drainage and support groups. The centres are for patients with all types of cancer at all stages, whether newly diagnosed or longer term, throughout and after completion of treatment.Founded in 1999, the charity is the legacy of BBC broadcaster Helen Rollason, whose vision was:

“Good quality of life while coping with cancer is the most important gift a sick person can receive. It should be available to everyone.”

That’s about it for now but watch this space for some news about what I will be doing in December to support another bowel cancer charity!

Keep well and healthy.

PS.  I have also attached a link to the whole magazine if you want to have a look, I’m on page 7.

HRCC-Moment-45-WEB

Pat.