Question: Anticipating Ostomy Surgery with a History of Crohn’s Disease

I’m scheduled for ostomy surgery due to severe Crohn’s in my small intestine and rectal & perianal fistulas. Having previously experienced a colostomy which was later reversed, I’m apprehensive about my upcoming ileostomy, especially considering my past challenges. I’m seeking updates on advancements in ostomy appliances and systems, as well as guidance on managing potential complications like dehydration and nutrient absorption.

Response: Understanding and Preparing for Your Ostomy Surgery

I understand your concerns and it’s important to know that each individual’s experience with ostomy can vary significantly. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare and manage your upcoming surgery:

  1. Consult a NSWOC Nurse: I strongly recommend consulting with a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy, and Continence (NSWOC). These professionals can assist in selecting the right pouching system, provide tips to prevent dehydration, and advise on managing liquid output. You can find a NSWOC nurse in your area through Ostomy Canada’s ‘Find a NSWOC’ resource: Find a NSWOC.
  2. Ostomy Canada Visitor Program: Engage with the Ostomy Canada Visitor Program for support and information. Ostomy Canada Visitor Program.
  3. Local Ostomy Groups: Consider joining a local ostomy support group for community and shared experiences. Connected Community.
  4. Medical Lifestyle Advisory Team: For general inquiries, Ostomy Canada’s Medical Lifestyle Advisory Team is available for assistance. Advisory Team Questions.
  5. Facebook Support Group: Ostomy Canada’s active Facebook group is a valuable resource for community support. Ostomy Canada on Facebook.
  6. Diet and Nutrient Absorption: Your NSWOC nurse, along with a hospital dietitian, can provide personalized advice on diet and nutrient absorption. Many regions offer services like ‘Dial a Dietitian’ for additional support.

Your feelings are completely valid, and it’s normal to have concerns about such a significant change. Remember, we are here to support you through your journey, from pre-surgery preparation to post-surgery adaptation and living a full life with an ostomy.

Warm Regards,

Karen Bruton, RN BScN MCISc-WH WOCC(C)
Nurse Education Consultant – FNIB
Indigenous Services Canada, Government of Canada

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