Before my surgery I’d read a bit about phantom rectal pain.  It’s just like phantom limb pain, where your brain thinks there’s a limb (or colon) there, but there’s nothing really there.

You can find multiple articles in PubMed/NIH studies that explore this phenomenon.  It’s 18 months since my surgery and I still experience this almost every day, usually after I brush my teeth in the morning. It’s a very stubborn habit! For me, with an ileostomy, it’s an easy thing to resolve – I just sit on the toilet and pee. I can actually fool my mind into thinking it’s actually doing something and the feeling goes away. If you have a colostomy, I see from the NIH studies that you can have some odd bowel sensations if you irrigate your stoma. It appears that all these feeling will resolve with time, but it hasn’t yet happened with me.

Another strange affect for me is the sensation of actually having a bowel movement. That occasionally happens to me at night when I’m dreaming. So weird!!  But even in my dreams I remember there’s no colon there and I start laughing about it. So far I can honestly say I don’t mind NOT pooping or farting!