The main reason I was so happy to finally have health insurance coverage was that I could finally, after two and a half years, start the conversation with my doctor about getting my colostomy reversed. That conversation started this week. The first step in the process was going to my primary care physician for a referral to a specialist. Dr. Howell referred me to Dr. Sharma, a gastroenterologist.
My appointment with Dr. Sharma was yesterday. He did a short examination of my abdomen, poking and prodding here and there. Then we talked about what would happen next. Dr. Sharma said that because my initial surgery was so complicated, the reversal would also be a complicated surgery. After the surgery to reverse the colostomy, I will need a second surgery for abdominal wall reconstruction.
Before we can even plan for the surgery, though, the doctor will need to send me to a surgeon for a consultation, and for some tests to determine whether or not I have enough colon tissue left to do the reversal of the colostomy. If the tests show there is enough tissue, then the surgeon can proceed with surgery.
Dr. Sharma referred me to Dr. Griffin, and my appointment with Dr. Griffin was this morning. He said that the first thing he would do is schedule me for a barium enema. Well, TWO of them. One through the rectum, and one through the stoma. They will then be able to see my intestines on x-rays, and this will let them decide if there is enough colon remaining. If there is enough colon, Dr. Griffin said that he does not feel qualified to perform the reconstruction surgery, due to the complexity of my case.
If we get to the point of doing the surgery, he will refer me to Dr. Galloway, a specialist surgeon at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. He is well known in the medical community as THE doctor to use for complex abdominal reconstruction surgery. That made me feel much better about having this surgery done. Dr. Galloway operated on my niece several years ago when she had an abdominal blood clot. She also had a complex case, and she is now doing very well.
My next appointment, for the barium enemas, is on December 3. It’s only three weeks away, but it seems like an eternity right now.