LJILJANA OREŠČANIN, KARLOVAC
The first user of our ostomy appliances who shared her experiences with us is Ljiljana Oreščanin from Karlovac, an accountant and graduate of the Business Management Study in Rijeka.
Until a few months ago, Ljiljana had lived a very active life, which was somewhat slowed down by her ostomy surgery, but not at all interrupted. Over the past year, after a workday spent in Karlovac, she would bord on the bus to Rijeka. That’s where she went to the lectures at the college, she enrolled in to advance her career. From Rijeka she would return to Karlovac late in the evening and start again the next morning with the same zeal.
She came to the very end, sent the first version of her master’s thesis; however, two months ago, severe abdominal pain indicated that something was going on and that it would be wise to go to a medical examination.
“I walked around with a colon inflammation for two months, and I didn't even know about it. Common symptoms are loss of appetite, bloating and abdominal pain. I interpreted the loss of appetite to with the fact that it was summer and that I wasn‘t hungry because of high temperatures. I didn’t recognise bloating as such, I just thought I had gained a little weight, and the abdominal pain usually occurred around the time of my period, so I connected the two.
One weekend, the pain intensified, and I couldn't ignore it anymore. I still didn't know how serious the situation was, so I drove myself to an ambulance, where it was discovered I had a colon inflammation. After that, I went home, walked the dog, and I prepared to go to the hospital next day in the afternoon.
However, overnight the pain got so much worse that I couldn't endure it anymore, so my niece took me to the hospital in the morning. My colon broke, and I found out I'd get my stoma only an hour before the surgery.
In Ljiljana’s case everything happened very quickly, which can be a major challenge for every person’s mental state. However, she stresses the importance of a positive perspective and taking a constructive attitude.
“It was not difficult for me to accept the situation. It is only important that you have your head in the right place. I knew the stoma would save my life and that the alternative was dying. No third option, no thinking. The doctors explained everything nicely, I knew they'd cut off a part of my colon and what an ostomy surgery meant.
I had to give them my official consent. I told them, “Yes, but on one condition.” Everyone was waiting to say which serious condition I had, when I replied: “If I agree to the surgery, I want to have a nice stitch!” Then the doctors laughed and said, “You are making jokes, this means everything is going to go well…”
With me everything is a little upside down — in crises I am completely calm, I get more annoyed about the little things. With everything that happened in that short period, my biggest trauma was actually the nylon on the hospital bed where I slept, it was driving me crazy!”
Ljiljana’s operation was successfully and there was not much time to recover from the initial shock, she had to work on her recovery.
“I quickly returned to physical activities. I saw at the hospital that the doctor was in good shape and that he was probably going to the gym, so I immediately asked him when I could move around again and go back to swimming.
The week I spent at the hospital, I constantly walked around my room and made my own bed. After that I was home and for the first couple of days, and I went for an approximately one-kilometer walk twice a day, and now, two months after the surgery, I do about 10 000 steps a day on beautiful walking trails in Karlovac with my dog.
I can't run yet, I can't lift anything, that’s strictly forbidden. There’s one thing I might be able to do – driving, but I still don’t dare. Not because of the pain, but because of concentration. I get tired fast, it’s like I still can’t fully focus. I‘m not ready to swim yet, but I can’t wait to go back to the pool.”
As a lover of good food, Ljiljana also loves to travel to places where she can try out delicacies from various countries. She is a member of the group which travels to a new destination every year.
“We are planning to visit rose fields in Romania next. It’s a little too early to know if I‘m going to be ready for such a long trip in time, but if I skip this one, I’ll arrange a shorter one until I fully recover.
I have lived in Italy for a while and I’m always happy to go back there. Every time I go to Italy to visit friends and former colleagues, I bring them so much homemade food and various drinks that the customs officers barely let me cross the border, and I return home with the same amount of various specialties that I loved there. In Ireland, on the other hand, they didn't even let me carry a bottle of water into the plane.”
Although with her strength, positivity and proactivity there was no doubt about the quick recovery, it is also crucial that she has the support of her family, friends and colleagues who always stood by her.
“I am very happy to have full support of my family which takes care of me as well as from everyone around me. Colleagues and superiors at work are very understanding and supportive. When I get back to work, I will be able to work from home in the first period.
And when I return to the office, I will be able to decide at any time whether I am able to stay there until the end of the shift or whether I will arrange the work differently. I'm also looking forward to finishing university! They suggested me to take it easy, make a pause and just let them know when I’m ready to defend my graduate thesis.”
In addition to her master’s degree, new travels and new adventures, Ljiljana’s doctor is optimistic about her recovery — namely, if everything continues to go well, there is a possibility that she will soon be able to remove her stoma!
Until then Ljiljana continues to live to the fullest — with humor, optimism, courage and love for food that accompany her in all life circumstances, whatever they may be.
Lentismed is extremely proud that Ljiljana is not only someone who uses our products to improve her life, but also someone who truly shares and lives our motto: “Embrace life!” Bravely and with determination, as the main character in her story.