Nets/carcinoid Syndrome · Tube Feeding

Dedication of my nurse & new dressings

Eleven months ago I switched from nasogastric tube feeding to gastrostomy tube.  After a lengthy stay and several other stays in hospital with complications, sepsis and months of continual leakage.  It is apparent that the surrounding area is never going to totally heal.  The health professionals have tried their best.  I am lucky to have such a dedicated team. We have tried many different creams, ointments and dressings.  My tummy at times resembles an active volcano and erupts a molten lava of gastric fluid leaving my skin red raw, blistered and very sore.  After the trial and error of creams the best one and the one to stay is the cavilon lollipops.  They act as a barrier, and its a wonderful life saver I can tell you.  As for the dressings, well many have been tried and tested.  At one point I looked like I had been shot.  I was covered from my breasts to my waist.  The nurse on the ward thought it best to keep it all sealed.  This didn’t work, after several dressings later, we realised I am allergic to micropore, elastoplast,  dressings, and good old fashioned crepe bandage.  The dressing that worked was the foam dressing.  A hole was cut in the dressing and it was wrapped round my peg.  The only trouble with this is the amount I leak out.  The dressing takes the leakage but after a time it starts to sit on the dressing and then build up on my tummy.

 

 

My nurse, Evelyn, that comes in and changes my dressing at home noticed this.  Evelyn is a dog with a bone.  One day she came in with a booklet and a different dressing.

Do you fancy giving this a go?  She asked me. Can only give it a try was my answer.

So she sat me down and we went through the booklet together, she demonstrated how she was folding the dressing and how she was going to apply  it.    This dressing is designed to absorb the leakage.  And guess what – it does it so well 🙂   I have even noticed a reduction in the odour.  The combination of the barrier and the new dressings, my skin is much improved.   Its far from perfect and it will always leak.  But with the perseverance of Evelyn on the look out for a more suitable dressing life has become more bearable and a tad less painful.  Cant see me  shifting from the Keramax dressings in a hurry.  And as for my nurse well she is a star.

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Nets/carcinoid Syndrome · Tube Feeding

Dying To Look Good

You look great –  that’s the words we all long to hear.  We all want to look our best.  Whether we are nipping to the supermarket, having a lazy day,  or going out for dinner.  The last thing I want is folk to be surprised that I look normal”

So why is it that there are times when people say certain phrases to me that can set my tummy into turmoil and make me feel guilty for having an illness.  These words are usually said in such an innocent manner and no malice is ever meant.   Sometimes I can get upset by what has been said to me, regardless of how harmless the conversation is.  The person paying the compliment is usually always blameless.

The conversations and body language that are directed to me are intended to be kind and gentle.  A gentle hand stroking my arm and the words that first come out how are you keeping?    One of the ladies in our support network group particularly doesn’t like this phrase.  I have spoken to many people whilst I have been in hospital and yes they are affected by what’s said too.  Certain words affect folks more than others, the word keeping was one that some found hard to deal with.   I’m not quite sure why, as I say it’s always said with such niavity.  Perhaps it’s because the word keeping is associated with custody and criminal.  Many people with with chronic illnesses have life changing situations after their diagnosis and can often feel like a prisoner in their own home and need the help of others.  Maybe this is a possibility why keeping is not liked by this person.  I can’t go out on my own, and I’m very grateful for the help I get, not feeling sorry for myself – promise 😘.

Most of the time words said don’t bother me too much at all.  I can put them in a box and breathe.  What really drives me crazy is the tone that the  conversation is spoken to me in.  The very pitch can affect my mood, and hence a knock on affect on my health.  Most days I will banter and have fun, if something is said in a teasing manner I will take it like water off a ducks back.  However if I’m having a difficult day the slightest thing will reduce me to tears.

So why do we want to look good?  – why not?  I personally want to look like my old self.  I want to be my husband’s wife 💕.   My wonderful staff at Ninewells hospital in Dundee have specially manufactured coloured cream for my skin to put on every day.  The transformation is fantastic.  It covers every blemish, wrinkle, gives me a lovely colour.  And it looks so natural. Once it’s on properly you wouldn’t know I had cream on.   For me it takes a lot of work to look “normal” – I smear my entire body in several creams three times a day.  Steve’s cousin Anna commented on how much work it was and how good the transformation the Dundee cream made – this actually made me feel good that she was so open.

The good thing about the chronic illness.  It’s on the inside.  We can cover it up.  Put on the war paint and put on a smile 😀😀  it’s good to smile, it’s infectious. Smile and the world smiles with you.  When you are all dressed and tried your hardest to look good, whether you are dressed to the nines or in a tracksuit, and have make up on or not.  If I am happy I always look better.  I know I am loved and this certainly makes me happy.    It can be hard to look good for anyone at anytime but I will say my family and friends do make my life much better.

I love to buy and get treated to nice clothes and accessories.  My favourites are Ragamuffin, Fatface, Michael kors, Pandora.  My hubby, Steve is so good to me.  Steve wants to treat me and make me feel good, he is the one that sees me feeling so rubbish at home. And puts up with my grumpy pants sulking moods 😂😂 – for my sake just as well he loves me.

 

Nets/carcinoid Syndrome · Tube Feeding

Naming – What do you think?

I have had many suggestions for the name of my gastrostomy tube.  I’m so grateful to everyone for all the effort that has been out in.

A fellow blogger, Elaine, has gave me a name that I’m rather struck on.  The name Lavita, which means life.  Rather apt.  For me the tube gives me a better quality of life (when I don’t have sepsis, or any other infection that is).  It provides me with my essential nutrients and vitamins – my daily steak and chips or fresh fruit salad if you get my meaning.  For many people with a tube it is an essential lifeline and the only source of nourishment.

The name I have chosen is Lavita.

 

Lavita meaning life.

Suggestions and comments welcome 💕💕



Nets/carcinoid Syndrome · Tube Feeding

We have some suggestions

Further to my post yesterday asking for help to name my gastrostomy tube.

I’ve had some suggestions.

Names suggested for my tube so far:

Lucy

Oscar

Mr mouth

Miss persnickety

Sir foible

Madame violet

Lady lightsaber

Little Lizzy

Richard

Percy pipe

Gastro Gordon (after chef Gordon Ramsay)

Garfield

Sybill

Gourmet Gastro

Gastro Gourmet

Cordon Bleu

Gordon Bleu

Hercules

Any further suggestions?  What do you think of the names?  Which one would you choose?  Looking forward to comments, suggestions and shares.  Have a great day guys.

💕💕

Nets/carcinoid Syndrome · Tube Feeding

Help! My gastrostomy tube still has no name

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With all the hospital admissions since my gastrostomy insertion.  I have neglected to do something rather important.  Name my tube.  This is a task I would normally have done almost immediately after getting in in.

So I’m asking for HELP –  I’m looking for ideas for a name for my gastrostomy tube – you know my feeding tube that goes into my stomach.  All name ideas greatly appreciated.  I will collate the names and then make a decision.

 

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My tube is essential to me.  It’s became part of me now.  And the the routine we go through has became the new normal. For me the tube is so very useful, it feeds me my special formulated feed through the pump 10 hours through the night, for 8 hours of that I’m in my bed, I’m pump fed 3/4 hours in the morning and 3/4 hours in the afternoon.  I also bolus feed through a syringe.    My feed provides me all my essential nutrients and vitamins, as well as calories and energy.  Both pump and bolus feeding help with my malabsorption and gaining weight.  If my gastrostomy tube was a human being on the benefit side it would be a generous provider.

There can be a downside.  It appears to have a mind of its own.  It leaks at time.  I get infections, which at times gave caused me horrific pain, hospitalised me and I’ve needed IV antibiotics.  The tube needs to be kept clean.  Disposable parts need changed.  If it were a human being perhaps I would say it was high maintenance.

Please feel free to comment and suggest a name.  I’m so looking forward to NOT calling it tube.  Can’t wait to read your thoughts.

Nets/carcinoid Syndrome

Five weeks on and travelling 400 miles again……

July was met with a busy time including travelling to Suffolk to celebrate the wedding of steph and Levi.  Five weeks later and we are returning to the same family – Adam (steph’s brother) is getting hitched to Elodie.

As usual it’s like a military operation to get organised to travel anywhere these days.  Outfits chosen, suitable clothing packed in the case.  Check and re check I have all my medication, creams, pump, milks, first aid kit, etc.  And my companion bear – Hans.    Could not possibly travel all that distance without my bear.

The nurse comes into our home on the morning we are heading down south.  This is to check how I am and to do my dressings before heading off.  My skin on my face, particularly where the tube had been resting has become agitated and red – some improvisation is needed: I’ve a cushioned dressing between the tube and my cheek now to prevent further damage.  My nose where the plaster goes is getting red and a tad sore too.  It’s all a little cumbersome but feels much more comfortable.

The day we travelled down was warm.  Sun cream, hats, oakleys and the essential good playlist on the car hifi.  Two hours short of our destination we make an essential toilet and coffee stop.  On walking back to the car Steve gets stung by a wasp.  In the matter of seconds his arm swells like a balloon.  Fortunately we have cream with us to put on his arm.  His singing is less enthusiastic and driving slower – I can tell his arm is very sore and he has been affected by the little blighter.  We arrive at our destination.   Anna has a lovely dinner on.  We all tuck in and have a good natter.  An hour later I’m more than ready for my bed.  Pjs are on, feed pump is set up and all tucked in for the night it’s been a long tiring day.



Friday is the day before the wedding.  Long lie, quiet morning then visit John and Sam in the afternoon.  In the morning Steve rescued a bird,  I was in my element taking photographs.  Visit to John and Sam was lovely – really enjoyed it.  In the evening Adam, the groom, had guests over – some friends, his cousin Megan and her husband Jason from  Canada.  Guitars were played, songs were sung, laughter filled the room.  It was so lovely to see so many smiling faces.  When Steve gets in bed he sees some flashing lights out of one of his eyes- we check the room – I assure him I can’t see any.  Perhaps he is going to get a migraine.


So it’s Saturday and the day of the wedding.  It’s also our 29th wedding anniversary.   I can remember our wedding day so clearly.  We have had our up and downs, but I have to admit I am happy to say that I still love the bones of that cocky young lad I met in high school who became my best friend, my lover, my husband, our two sons father, my rock.  I can hear Steve talking about the day we got married – me on the back of his Honda cb350 the morning we are getting married to get a new pair of shoes.  Four years ago I managed to get the very same bike for his silver wedding present.

This is Steve touching up his precious 25 year old bike.


Ahh such beautiful memories.  Beep beep bong – that’s my 10 hour feed finished.  Time to get up out of the bed.  Disconnect myself from the pump.   Get some boiled water.  Draw it up the syringe.  Flush my tube.  Deteach the tubing and the empty bottle from the pump and stand. Dispose in recycling.  Put pump on charge for later.    Steve comes back into the bedroom armed with a welcomed cup of hot juice for me and to let me know he is heading out with the groom party for the ‘boys breakfast’.  Just take your time he says you have been up several times through the night – last night was one of those nights that the bowels were in overdrive, the feed pump had a mind of its own and went off a couple of times…… I looked at Steve all dressed in his black watch kilt – yes I still love every inch of you.  Probably more so than the day we married.   The good news is Steve didn’t get a migraine, although his eye feels murky.  He wants to eye drops – not like Steve at all.   Fortunately our bedroom has an ensuite so off I toddle to get washed, apply my oilatum, then my diprobase cream over my whole body, then the factor 50 ultra sun sense sun cream.  Phew – lie on the bed and have a wee rest.  That’s one of the things that gets me the most – is the exhaustion.  Words can’t describe the feeling of fatigue.  I don’t like to sound like a moaning Minnie.  It’s amazing how applying some cream to your skin can feel like a work out.  I have taught myself to do things in stages and where possible out of the public eye.  Ten minutes later and I’m ready to put on my Dundee cream (this is special sun reflectant coloured cream prescribed by a hospital in Dundee.  It matches my colour tone, it reflects the sunlight and stops my skin burning.  My skin reacts even in winter sun for as short as time as five minutes and can peel and blister when the light has shone through glass if I am not protected.) – the cream comes in two colours; coral pink and beige, I mix them together and apply it like foundation.  Once it’s applied it looks great.  Gives a healthy glow even on the peakiest days.  Look at the watch – I’ve got a quiet hour before I need to get dressed.  Anna and the girls are away to get their hair done.



Ta da we are all ready for the wedding – and what a lovely day it was too.  I managed to stay till 10pm.  But when Steve caught me sleeping at the table for the third time he insisted it was time for us to retire to our beautiful hotel room.  I didn’t take any persuasion.

The Sunday and Monday were spent fairly leisurely, which was lovely.  Feet up when we wanted, fun conversation, nostalgic conversation &  some TV.   Just what you need in preparation for a 400 mile journey home.   Steve still kept rubbing his eye.    He bought eye drops and put them in.  He assured me he was ok, I wasn’t convinced.    Looking forward to getting home and seeing our lads and our Labradors.  And not to mention getting Steve’s eye checked out.

Tube Feeding

My New Companion: Hans

On the day we got trained to use my pump for my tube feeding – Gwen, the lovely nurse who trained us, gave me a card with her contact details and other information.  The card had a website on, it lead me to http://Pinnt.com

PINNT is a UK charity that supports and provides information for patients on intravenous and nasogastric nutrition therapy.

The charity sent me a beautiful bear this morning.  As well as being a soft little bear to tell all your secrets and insecurities to.   He is designed to be a companion to take on journeys.  Also a fantastic way of promoting awareness.    I’ve called my bear Hans.    I’ve called him Hans after a doctor.  The doctor was the chap that gave my Mum her first diagnosis of lung cancer.  He was kind and gentle.  I was with my mum and my sisters when he told her.  Mum and I hugged so tight when we left the consultation room.

Hans will feature in a few of my blog posts.   Already I have confided in Hans.  Fingers crossed he is loyal and doesn’t blab to others – ha ha .

This is lovable beautiful Hans.

Hans                       image