(WARNING: There is a photo at the bottom of the article of my stoma and the offending hole in my skin that won’t fuck off, just in case that might turn your stomach and you don’t want to look)
As I said before, I have really really bad dermatitis around my stoma, which will not heal. It’s more or less been there since the beginning so I assumed it was normal, but apparently it isn’t. Some times with it are worse than others, but all in all it is really painful and it bleeds. ALOT. All this inflammation and redness on an almost constant basis teamed with the pain and blood can get to me a bit at times. It’s one of the harder things to deal with, mostly because it has me in pain almost every day.
But last year came the straw that broke the camels back. The dermatitis got really bad. It spread further down from my stoma. Then a tiny hole appeared, like an exposed hair follicle. Then the skin got eaten the fuck away and I was left with a square inch hole in my stomach, just under my stoma where my base plate attaches. And this muthafucka was deep, about a centimetre or so. I thought I had necrotising faciatis or something. The pain was unbearable, mainly because gravity had my bag constantly pulling against my skin, which I never really noticed until this wee fucker came along.
Anyway I went to my GP who advised me to go to my stoma nurses. My wee Nurse is a legend, really caring and helpful, and I did faint on her once (literally on her, I fell on her, she is tiny and I’m a 6 foot 2 17 stone beast) so I feel a bond with her. She had never seen this before in a decade of being a stoma nurse, which obviously worried me. She got my consultant round and he didn’t seem too phased, although he did grimace when I first took the gauze off. For the next two or three months they tried everything. All sorts of creams and bandages and treatments, the worst of which was when they applied silver nitrate to it, had to take a day of work because that hurt so much my body decided it didn’t want to work any more. I got referred to a dermatologist in the Hospital who then went on a 5 month campaign to rid me of this thing. Again through all kinds of painful treatment, poking and prodding, swabbing and cleaning. It was agonising. But then it started to heal, and after 9 months I was left with some scar tissue and nothing else.
This thing had a massive effect on me. At the time I had alot going on and, as I said before, it was most definitely the straw that broke the camels back. I learned recently that I never really came to terms with my lot in terms of my health, and this just fucked me up big time. It was one of the main factors in my “mental breakdown”. I just couldn’t understand why I kept having all these shitty things happen to me. Why I had to be in pain all the time. Why me?
Thankfully the counselling now is really helping me with this stuff. But on Sunday it arrived, like some kind of test of my new found resolve. It came back. It has now quadrupled in size since Sunday night and I’m in agony with it. It’s really disparaging looking at yourself and seeing a hole where flesh is meant to be. But I think I have everything in place to deal with it properly this time. I’m incredibly pissed off, and at the minute I feel a bit sorry for myself, but despite the pain I’m almost optimistic about it. Almost.