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Hello fellow j-pouch/ileostomy friends,

i had my entire colon removed in 2014 at the age of 37.  For 6 years I had chronic pain near my tailbone.  My gastro doc thought it was pouchitis or cuffitis and would prescribe antibiotics.  I finally went to Mayo after finding a small but very painful pelvic abscess.  He discovered my j-pouch had a small leak in the blind-limb.  This is was the cause of the chronic off and on pain near my tailbone.  This last June I had j-pouch reconstruction as well as the removal of scar tissue and infection found between the pouch and the tailbone.  I came home with my second temporary ileostomy and my takedown is scheduled this September. I'm filling out FMLA forms for work and am wondering how much time to ask off of work?  I teach 3rd grade and it's not like I can run to the bathroom every hour leaving my students unattended.  I know I went through this 6 years ago but it's a complete blur.  Your advice is greatly appreciated.  

Original Post

I think I took a month off, but it was a few years ago. I think it all depends and your doctors might have more input on when might be best for you. Your energy level, in combination with bathroom trips will be something to take in consideration. If you’re sitting down all day and that’s something that’s a challenge for you- it’s all stuff to best discuss with your doc. 

But think mine was one month. I kept in the back of my mind that if it was too tough, I could go part time. 

Being a former teacher, in special education, it would be a little easier to get those bathroom breaks.  I had small groups of students so I could run down to the bathroom down the hall more as needed.  This was way before I was diagnosed with UC or had my surgeries.  However, being a third grade teacher where breaks might not be as convenient may make it a little more difficult, especially in the first couple of months.  I know control is better as you get further in your recovery, it’s a little hard to gauge when you will get to that point.  Would there be someone, maybe a building substitute who could come in to relieve you periodically?  I know that mornings are better, at least for me, and Lomotil helps to get me through the morning.  Afternoons are more difficult. I briefly considered substitute teaching but figured it would be difficult to get through a full day schedule so I never pursued it.  Instead, I worked in Birth to Three, and could work my schedule to get bathroom breaks in between traveling from one family to another.  I guess you could apply for FMLA for a couple of months to begin with and see how it goes.  With Covid, just wondering how your school district will be handling in person instruction.  I know it varies all over the place.  Good luck with your takedown and speedy recovery.


Everyone’s experience after surgery is different, and folks frequenting a support forum like this one will tend to include more difficult stories than average. If I recall correctly I was back to work six weeks after my one-stage procedure, but my job permitted me to go to the bathroom whenever I needed/wanted to. Most J-pouchers don’t have urgency, which is really the key to being able to delay using the toilet, but we vary a lot in how quickly we gain confidence to manage our new plumbing. I wonder if a creative solution could enable you to plan to go back into the classroom sooner? For example, could a student teacher or a teacher’s aid be partnered with you for the semester?

My issue was the open wound of the old stoma site.

I had no urgency and from day one, had maybe 2 to 4, sometimes 5 BM per day.

Took 4 months for stoma wound to completely heal and for my mobility to return but I didn’t feel fit enough to return to work or fitness training. 

Maybe dehydrating to such an extent and being admitted into Hospital twice per month, every months for six months took its toll but I certainly didn’t feel fit enough to return to work until the beginning of August, suppose it was maybe 6 months after takedown, rather than 8; as my Takedown was mid January. 

Last edited by strange

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