AN E-MAIL FROM A DOCTOR.
Being at the hospital for the initial stages of treatment - which involved an ileostomy. (An ileostomy is used to move waste out of the body when the colon or rectum is not working properly.)and learning to care for a stoma - was a gloomy experience. The word "ileostomy" comes from the words "ileum" and "stoma." Your ileum is the lowest part of your small intestine. "Stoma" means "opening." Your ileum will pass through a stoma after your surgery. Though I have had a good number of patients over the years who live with a stoma, it was my first time being bedside with a loved one who had to have this procedure.
Having to resect a part of one's colon and create a stoma for elimination of waste material is a sobering reminder to be aware of the feedback that our bodies give us moment to moment on the state of our gastrointestinal health.
The truth is that with very few exceptions, disease in the gastrointestinal tract doesn't develop quickly and without plenty of warning signs and symptoms.
Everything we choose to eat and drink has some effect on the health of our GI tract. Where there is abdominal pain, bloating, excessive gas production, chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation, or any other symptoms of distress, we need to consider what it was that we ate or drank that caused our digestive tract to struggle.
Staying vigilant in this way is true screening and prevention; if we leave it to an annual colonoscopy to let us know how we're doing, we are disconnected from our health status and setting ourselves up to one day be told that we have a problem that requires highly invasive treatment. more