August 3, 2011

Leaking hole

There are risks with every surgery. The risks are the things that frighten us during surgical consults. Acknowledging risk is part of the reason patients sign surgical consent forms.

One of the risks when a piece of colon is removed is that the new connection could develop a hole. This is what happened to me, and the reason I am still in hospital after 21 days.

Leaks happen in five percent of patients

My surgery left me with a fully connected large intestine (minus the bad bits of course). The ileostomy (my Abdo-Bum) protects the large intestine while it heals by diverting waste at the end of the small intestine.

Even though the large intestine is not handling food, it still produces mucous, sheds cells and is housing lots of resident bacteria.

When the hole developed, this fluid was able to leave the colon and fill the space outside it. The body really doesn't like it when fluid that is supposed to stay in one area enters another. The result was an infection.

Heal me

I started feeling better several days ago. My small intestine has begun adapting. I can stomach food. The hot flushes have stopped. The reflux is under control. The dry retching after each meal has ceased. I'm no longer dehydrated. The fatigue is passing. I can hold a conversation.

The hole will take a while to close. This happens naturally and over time. While it heals I will keep Abdo-Bum.

I like Abdo-Bum, because after all, it saved my life. Had the colon not been bypassed that level of waste leaking out of the hole would have made what I have just been through look like a fairy tale.


  1. Glad you're healing. Australian superheroes are so more honest, keeping it real, than USA. Example: Captain America = lame... Abdo-Bum = supercool...

  2. It was great to meet you! I admire your courage in the face of this difficult time and hope we can help keep each other on track, laugh and eat our way to wellness :) Go BEN!!!!

  3. Hello Ben, I am Kirsten's mother. So good to read this post of yours. Kirsten has been very concerned about you. For mine, I mostly read for turns-of-phrase like stomach puns!!

  4. hello! glad to hear you're feeling a bit better, have been thinking of you from the hutongs. incidentally, are you so relaxed that you've started writing comics?
    Julia x