Well, it's official. In 24 days, I will be having surgery in St. Petersburg, Florida at the Continent Ostomy Center at the Palms of Pasadena Hospital.
The surgery itself, called the BCIR, or Barnett Continent Ileostomy Reservoir, is a modified version of a K-pouch, which has been performed for decades as an alternative to an external appliance. Since my ostomy revision two or three? years ago, I began researching ostomy specialists. I figured there had to be a surgeon who was well known for creating high functioning stomas (yes, there is a lot that goes into it). Then I stumbled upon the K-pouch surgery and then the BCIR.
After my stoma revision surgery did not exactly improve my quality of life to the extent I wanted it to, I contacted the Continent Ostomy Center in Florida because they are the most reputable, well known, and well versed in the surgery. The surgeon there was trained by Dr. Barnett, who modified the K pouch to his own version which improved its functionality. At the time I initially contacted the hospital in Florida they wanted me to have an IBD diagnostic test done to determine once and for all which type of IBD I have; Crohn's or Colitis. I ended up ignoring the test simply because I had a lot on my plate at the time between a full-time work and school schedule.
In the last month or two, a whirlwind of circumstances told me that now was the right time to see if I was a candidate for the surgery. After having the IBD diagnostic test done, I consulted with the surgeon in Florida and a Californian surgeon who is the only other surgeon in the US who performs the BCIR. They both determined that it was safe to proceed with surgery because the test came back "inconclusive" for IBD. What this means is that they were more willing to proceed based off the fact that for thirteen years my small bowel has never been diseased. If you choose to read more about the surgery, you will understand why that is important.
So yes. On June 2, my boyfriend and I will fly down to Tampa and check into a beachfront hotel on Treasure Island in St. Petersburg, Florida. The other part of this story is that since the surgery is so specialized I have to spend 21 days in the hospital. So with that in mind I figured I might as well get a few good days of relaxation before being sliced open. On June 4th, they will admit me to the hospital so they can administer my bowel prep (yay!) and run other pre-op routine tests. Friday morning, June 5th, will be my surgery.
It will be a long, difficult, and life adjusting period for me. The hospital wing I will be residing in for those 21 days is similar to a hotel room and my friends/guests are encouraged to stay overnight for support. On Sunday my boyfriend has to leave me to travel for work. After that my mom will come for a week, then my brother, and then my best friend in the whole world, Claire.
Thankfully work has been incredibly supportive. I have a great network of friends and family. I have an amazing boyfriend who has kept me laughing and supported me through every step of the process. I will try to share more on here once I am down in St. Pete. For now, send good vibes my way!