Pre Op

I had my Pre Op this week getting ready for my reversal surgery and I thought I’d go through some of it I remember for the few of you who haven’t had one before. Going into hospitals can be daunting so this should hopefully help because you will know what to expect. The first person I spoke with was a Pre Op nurse. She took me into a side room and asked questions about my medical history, allergies, whether I smoke, have diabetes or heart problems. I was told the run down of the day of surgery, when I need to stop eating and drinking and that I will spend my first few days in a High Dependency Unit. She also enquired if I was on contraception and whether I wanted a pregnancy test or not.

We chatted and I explained that I am frightened about having my reversal surgery. I’m not ashamed to say this, I am scared, and I told her some my story, of New Zealand, and specifically about when I was in intensive care about to be transferred to another hospital. I had to be sedated so the doctors could safely move me. During that time I had what the nurse called ‘awareness’. This is when you are aware of what is happening around you, you may hear voices but you cannot move or speak. Patients can also experience strange and frightening hallucinations that will feel very real. I didn’t experience this, but I did feel like I couldn’t move and I awoke in extreme pain due to being turned over on my side only a few days after my ileostomy surgery. This has had a major lasting effect on me physiologically and a year later I still get upset talking about it. The nurse did assure me that this is a common occurrence when patients have spent a long time in an ICU. She said that I needed to make an appointment to see the anesthetist and tell him about my worries and they should put my mind at ease.

Carrying on with the Pre Op, the next step is for your bloods to be taken by a nurse, and for women, perhaps a pregnancy test in which they will tell you the result straight away. They will also check your blood pressure.

Your next assessment is an ECG (the bit were they put those weird stickers on your body and attach little ‘pegs’) and these are linked to a computer, this will only take a few minutes of lying down still. The best part of the assessment!

Finally you will be asked to blow into a tube as hard as you can. A little wolf may be on screen simulating your breath and blowing the little piggies house down. I don’t think this will be the same for every hospital but it was in mine. It will show your lung capacity which will be put inside your assessment file and that should be the end of the appointment.

This was my Pre Op in a UK hospital so please note it may differ hospital to hospital or due to the type of surgery you are having. I just thought I’d give you a little overview of what to expect and maybe help ease any worries some of you may be having! This is the easy part, in a few weeks I will hopefully have my surgery date. I am very nervous, but a little excited at the fact I won’t have my bag anymore.

If any of you would like to share your experiences personally with myself, then please use my ‘Contact Form’ or by commenting on the blog. I’d love to know about your own reversal or stoma op or anything related really, just make sure you leave your email address on the contact form so I can get back to you! :)



Easy Peasy Wedges

I’ve been making these wedges since I worked in the kitchen at my Student Union at University. When I make them for my friends they are always surprised at how tasty, healthy and easy they are to make. You’ll never buy frozen chips again!

 Turn your oven on 180C to preheat. Chop your potatoes into segments and measure them in portions, I do 2-3 potatoes for 2 people, my portion size is on the larger side ;)

 Put the potatoes onto baking paper on a baking tray or equivalent. If you don’t have baking paper, go and get some because doing them on foil just isn’t worth it, they stick and you end up with little bits of foil on your lovely cooked chips.

 Next, cover the wedges with olive oil (not too much, they don’t want to be swimming in it) and then rub them all over with your hands. Next, pick your spices, get adventurous but remember to stay mindful of what you should avoid such as chilli. I use a piri piri in a salt grinder (Nandos salt is amazing too). If you don’t have these mix it up, oregano, salt, pepper, paprika. I love garlic salt on them! See what you like best and give them a rub down so they are all covered. Put them in for 30-40 minutes, half way through get a spatula and flip them over so they are evenly cooked and crispy.

Keeping Active

When you are  recovering from a serious operation, such as having a Stoma put in, you are advised to ‘take it easy’ and ‘don’t do too much.’ At some point though, it’s been nearly 12 months now since I was hospitalised, you want to start getting active and regaining some fitness back,( not that I had any to begin with!) First I did consult with my Stoma Nurse, she assured me that doing some exercise would do me the world of good with my operation in a few months.

So, 4 weeks ago I stared doing Yoga every morning, only 20 minutes but that 20 minuets seems to be making the world of a difference. Some people seem to believe this myth that having an ileostomy or a colostomy, restricts you from having an active lifestyle. Ostomates can participate in all forms of sporting activities but some may just need to be modified slightly. For example with Yoga I tend to stay away from poses that require me to lie on my stomach. I also wear a Girdle/Hernia Belt/ Abdominal Support Belt. You can find these on the internet and they help to prevent hernias* near the stoma. If in doubt ask your Stoma Nurse.

Swimming is also I good form of gentle excercise. Get yourself a good swimming costume, there are plenty of two pieces around with high waisted knickers too. Have a look at my post ‘Ostomy- What to wear’ for some examples.  If you are worried about your bag, maybe put some extra flange extenders on? However your stoma bag should stick more when submerged in water. Maybe try having a bath first to test it out, put your costume on and have a look to see how obvious your bag is. You’ll feel much more comfortable once you know what it looks like once it is wet.

When you feel ready to, maybe sign up to the gym, do Zumba classes or water aerobics, surfing isn’t even out of the question either! If you are an avid surfer and want to get back into it there is no reason not too. Buy yourself a girdle to keep your bag flat and another tip is not eat or drink an hour before, so your Stoma isn’t as active. I have tried surfing however I didn’t have a girdle and I notice my bag was being nudged which made the bag leak. You would have to play around a bit with what feels comfortable and works best.

*StomaWise explain simply what a Stoma Hernia is, and some information  on the treatment for it if you would like to read more.

Pizza Dough

You’ll be surprised but pizza dough only has a few ingredients that you would generally have within the home, so stop buying pizza that is full of bad stuff and make the dough, it will only take you about 10 minutes. It’s also a really good way to use everything up in your fridge!

Ingredients for the Base:

  • Bread Flour – 300g
  • 1 Sachet or Fast Action Yeast (2 X 7g)
  • Salt – 1 tsp.
  • Olive Oil- 1 tbsp.


  • 2 cups of Passata
  • Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ½ tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1-2 Cloves of garlic crushed

Recommended Toppings for ileostomies:

  • Bacon, Sausage
  • Sandwich Meats- pastrami, ham
  • Spanish meats
  • Egg (put it on the pizza for the last 2-3 mins of cooking time and make a little circle with your toppings so it has somewhere to sit nicely and doesn’t flood everywhere)
  • Mild cheese like Cheddar, Goats cheese is AMAZING on there
  • Try to avoid vegetables like tomatoes or hard vegetables like peppers or onions

To make the base;

Put the flour into a mixing bowl and mix in the salt then make a well. Get a measuring jug with 200ml of warm water and pour the yeast into it, give it a stir and pour this into the well then add the olive oil. Bring it all together with a wooden spoon until you have a soft but wet dough. Tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead* for about 5 minutes.  It should look smooth and when you poke it, it should bounce back. Leave it to one side cover with a tea towel. Put your oven on 220C Fan and pull your oven shelves out to one side.

Now make the sauce by putting all the ingredients into a pan and heat for 5 minutes then leave to one side.

Roll out the dough, give it a quick knead as it may have started to rise and then split it evenly to make your two pizza bases. Roll them out into large circles using a rolling pin, mine never turn out like this but give it a go, they don’t have to be perfect. You also want to make them thin because they will rise. Cover your oven shelves with baking paper, then roll your base on to it and top with all your goodies. Add a drizzle of olive oil and some more seasoning. I cook one pizza at a time, and they should stay in for 8-10 minutes at the top of the oven. Keep an eye on them and pull them out when you feel they are done enough. They should be crispy around the edges and the cheese should be bubbling.

*If you don’t know how to knead properly, believe me I couldn’t remember from DT at school, just type it into Youtube there are loads of videos explaining how to do it.

Hot Drinks

Your Ensure, Fortsip or equivalent isn’t limited to cold drinks. You can put these in your teas and coffees however supplement drinks are not meant to boiled so do be careful whilst heating the drinks up. But other than that there is nothing wrong with using a Vanilla flavour in your cups of Tea, Coffee or Earl Grey.

If you like Horlicks you could add some Vanilla powder or Hot Chocolate can be made with the Chocolate Flavoured Ensure Powder OR use a proper Hot Chocolate Mix and then add Vanilla Powder with a bit of milk! Have a play around and find out what you like best!





Ensure Frappe Style

With this one you can order Coffee flavoured Ensure drinks or powders, if you are big into your coffee like me. I don’t drink it anymore as it stimulates the bowel and I don’t need that. The rest of the ingredients you can generally find in most households and again mix it up however you wish.

Ensure Frappe

  • 1 Can/Bottle/ Powder Equivalent Coffee flavoured Ensure
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • Ice
  • Whipped Cream (for the top)
  • Cinnamon or Nutmeg to sprinkle on top (optional)
  • Use a Blender or Hand Blender

OR for you coffee junkies swap the coffee flavoured Ensure for a shot of real coffee and top up with a vanilla Ensure and Ice.

Fruit Smoothie

This recipe like all the ones I have given can obviously be modified to your own taste, play around with Ensure to stop yourself getting bored. I’ve been drinking them for nearly 12 months now and they do get tedious, you have to just use your imagination :)

Try to stay away from fruit that has seeds or skins, stick to fleshy fruit like Mangos, Melons, Bananas & Apricots. Pears, Peaches & Nectarines should be peeled. Peeled apples seem to thicken output for me however it might not be the same for some, so do introduce things slowly and notice how they affect the output differently.

  • 1 Can/Bottle/ Powder Equivalent Ensure (Strawberry, Banana, Vanilla etc)
  • Greek Yoghurt OR Ice Cream*
  • Mango
  • Apricots

* Note – Sugar in the Ice Cream may increase your output



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