Surgery: I can’t have just one

Living with an ileostomy sure beats dying without one, but all in all it would be nice to have my internal plumbing work more like it does in other people.

I have a date for the big chunk of surgery to do this (the ileo-anal anastomosis with J-pouch) of October 29th. But in order to be ready for that, I have a smaller outpatient surgery to be done sooner. Tomorrow, September 2nd, to be exact.

In 1994, I got a fistula at my anus. In the years since then, the same fistula has become more active with flare-ups of the colitis I had, then closed up when the flare-ups subsided. But for the big procedure coming up, my surgeon wants to get rid of this once and for all, by fistulotomy. The lining of the fistula is flayed and healing allowed to occur from the inside out, sealing the fistula for good. The anesthesiologists called me yesterday, and indicated that I would get sedation plus a local anesthetic for the procedure.

The major concern is whether the fistula is a complication of colitis or of Crohn’s disease. Fistulas are more commonly associated with Crohn’s disease. If the surgeon determines that this is due to Crohn’s, then the big surgery would be contraindicated and I’d just have to put up with the ileostomy. If not, then I have several weeks to heal up in preparation for the surgery in October.

I’ve already picked up the medication my surgeon prescribed for post-surgery. This is, after all, sure to be a pain in the a**.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

6 thoughts on “Surgery: I can’t have just one

  • 2004/09/02 at 3:22 am

    Hey Wes, best wishes. My wife Sher is about to have her next mastectomy about when
    you go in for your next “biggy.” To quote TinyTim (the original), “God bless us every

  • 2004/09/02 at 5:28 pm

    Flying 1 harris’ and kestrels and redshoulders does not make you an austringer. I would call it presumptuous taking this domain having never flown a short wing. Austringer is a title reserved for a select few.

  • 2004/09/02 at 6:52 pm

    And my best wishes to you and Sher. The time of uncertainty of how successful things were will be longer for you two. The worry is a significant aspect of all this.

  • 2004/09/02 at 7:44 pm


    There are people who reserve “austringer” for use in the narrow sense of flying shortwing birds, and others who adopt a broader usage that includes the broadwings. I am one of those who concurs with the latter group. The term “austringer” arose to distinguish those who did not fly the longwing birds, the falcons. This, IIRC, was also a class distinction, as the falcons were reserved for the upper class (the nobility in those feudal days). It is a contingent accident of history that the non-falcon birds worth the time and energy to train for the purpose of actually catching game at that time and that place resolved to one species: the goshawk.

    For me, “falconer” and “austringer” form a partition of those who practice the art of flying raptors to game. You may not agree with me on this, but that’s my viewpoint. I hope that clarifies where I’m coming from.

  • 2004/09/05 at 3:07 pm

    Howdy Wes, Good to learn that this went well.

  • 2004/09/05 at 10:33 pm

    It was my special privilege to develop a perianal fistula during grad school in 1976. The doctors at the school’s student health center knew I had colitis … or maybe Crohn’s disease … so they pondered what to do. My doctor decided on a fistulectomy, trenching open the fistula so that it would eventually heal up, leaving me with a discreet scar on my bottom as a can-you-top-this conversation piece. It is unnecessary to say that it was no fun, and that kind of surgery is slow-healing (though I did become rather fond of frequent leisurely soakings in hot baths, with collateral water damage to some of my textbooks). However, the end result (sorry, that was accidental) is indeed a discrete scar with no recurrence of the unpleasantness after nearly 30 years. I might add that getting out of grad school proved to be very good therapy for colitis.

    Good luck!

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