Rebecca’s Story

I was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 1997. My Gastroenterologist (oncologist) stated I needed emergency surgery. He stated that I would probably be going home with a bag. At that time, they had you admitted for surgery the night before so you would know what the bags looked like and they had me put on a bag. Anyway, when I woke up from surgery there was no bag. I thought that was the best thing going for me. In 1999, I again had cancer in my colon and I again had to have emergency surgery. They again admitted me the night before my surgery. I again relearned how to put on a bag, etc. I was fine for many years until 2017. I again had problems so my Surgeon stated they needed to take out my entire colon. I still did not have a bag. I was in the hospital for 26 days. Afterwards, I had chronic loose stools and I went to UCSF to the Colorectal Cancer center. Once there, the Doctor scheduled surgery so they could now put the bag on. The surgery was 12 1/2 hours. The surgeon said he had problems from the very beginning. I’ve had over 90 surgeries at that time, so to have a surgery lasting that long was scarey. I survived, but it was just the beginning.

I was very nervous about everything. I was afraid that I couldn’t put the bag on right, but my Daughter and my Granddaughter live with me and boy did I need help. My daughter is currently trying to enroll in Nursing School. She already makes a great nurse. There is nothing she can’t do. I am very blessed to have them both with me.

It was also done during the pandemic so I really wasn’t going places, once in a while I would go visit my sister. She lives about 25 miles away and I was so nervous about “my bag” getting too full before I got to my sister’s house. I was nervous about being nervous.

Now I look back, there really wasn’t that much to be nervous about. After a couple of months, you get used to how much you will go. Right now I’m still losing weight. I’m not trying to lose weight, but everything passes through me so fast that I’m not retaining my food. I eat 5 to 6 meals a day. If this is the worst to overcome, I’m up for it. I love to eat anyway, but because I have to eat at least every 3 to 4 hours.

I looked up if there were any ostomy support groups in my area. I wrote down the number and address, but I guess I felt I was doing well without that. But I think that maybe I should have been registered with them in case I felt the need to have more support.

Today, I am more self-confident, more in control of the situation and have the knowledge that I have overcome so much. I do have to say that if your bag and other supplies you receive, be sure you can get Na’ Scent. It is for after you empty your bag, and then you put in either in one long stream or two short streams, into the empty bag. You will notice the next time you empty your bag, there is ultimately NO Scent. It’s amazing. I just love this stuff. Your insurance will cover 2 bottles per month.