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Old 04-17-2004, 11:13 AM   #1
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Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

I am a 39 male. I am having my lap sig colon resection this Friday, April 23, 2004. I have had five bouts of diverticulitis under my belt. One landed me in the hospital. Three have been in the last four months: Jan, Feb, April.

My wife is afraid I will die if I do not get the resection. Besides, life with my gut is becoming a nuisance. So, I am not overly concerned about the pain. It will be what it will be and from what I read, it does not last forever. Don’t get me wrong, I am nervous, maybe even frightened somewhat, but worrying is not going to change the outcome. I read another post that helped to put things in perspective … at least it is not a terminal condition. The man with no shoes complained until he saw the man with not feet.

My last supper is on Monday. Three days without food seems like that might be pretty tough too.

Of course, I hope everything goes according to textbook. Beyond that, I hope I deal with it in a courageous and dignified way. Maybe there is no way to have a dignified colon procedure.

My purpose for coming to the boards today is to help with the fear. It is not crippling, but I am jumpy. Also, I do not have a good feel for what life after the first three or four months is really like. For some people, it looks like there diet is forever altered. How bad is it? What is totally out? What is the same? What is different?

Can someone who has been there hold my hand and tell me straight? What is life on the other side like?

Counting down the days to the resection …..

 
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Old 04-17-2004, 08:24 PM   #2
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

well ill try to hopefully help you as best as i can, you said your having the lap proceedure, thats an easier and less painful way of having it done, i had the full abdominal incision, so your healing time will be much less than mine which is good, the few days before when you have to basically fast and then take the prep isnt fun but is tolerable, your body will adjust to not eating, the prep is kinda nasty but you do need to be cleaned out,depending on how much needs to be removed will depend on how long the surgery goes for, mine was 3 hours but like i said i had the full incisionplus had a stoma and a colostomy bag, you will be in some discomfort but they will give you meds for that,generally with lap surgery your out in 3 to 5 days as long as all goes well, you will most likely need to start eating a soft diet when you get home and gradually move to normal foods, from what ive been told you can resume eatng a normal diet, however i have chosen to eat healthier , more fiber in my diet,yogurts,veggies, hardly any junk food and ive quit drinking soda, i drink lots of water and juices,you will be out of work for a couple of weeks and shouldnt over do it physically ,youll need to heal,everyone is different, some heal faster, some have problems with certain foods after the surgery youll have to do trial and error,your bowel habits might change over time, im assuming since your having lap done they are going to cut out the bad section and reconnect you all in the same time which is a good thing,mine was so bad they had to give me a bag and wait 3 months before going back in for the reconnection, well im sure ive missed some questions so please feel free to ask anything else, the more info you have going in the better good luck

 
Old 04-17-2004, 09:08 PM   #3
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

Thanks!!! Yes, I am going in for the one stop shop with reconnected plumbing. I do not anticipate a stoma with colostomy bag, but there is that risk. My aunt has a colostomy (12 years) and she reassures me that it is far from the end of the world. I am mostly concerned about whether or not "normal" bowel habits will return at some point.

I have been eating pretty good for some time. But, the underlying condition has deteriorated (diverticulosis). How long before "normal" BMs come on the scene?

I don't know, I guess I am just a little scared of what might be different about me and my lifestyle (whatever that means ... I am not sure).

Already this year, my life has changed dramatically. My left side of my gut is uncomfortable pretty much all of the time as though the muscles are in spasm. It is really not painful in the sense that I want to howl or something, it is just like I have a baseball under my belt. Driving is about the only thing that is really, really uncomfortable. I just can't seem to get into a good position in the car. My commute is not good.

Thanks again. We are all at various stages in dealing with our ailments. Any comments you might want to share would be appreciated.

While everyone is different, I think everyone is a little bit the same too. I am not good at watching the clock. If I could then I guess I would not be getting my gut cut out. I think lifestyle and stress has had a lot to do with my situation. Maybe more than diet.

My name is Frank and I am a workaholic ....

 
Old 04-17-2004, 09:59 PM   #4
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

well as far as normal bowel movements,when i was in the hospital they wouldnt release me until i passed gas and had a bowel movement, also if you count the 2 days b4 the surgery i didnt eat or drink anything until 5 days after the operation(the 2nd op to reconnect) was just on iv's ,then put on a liquid diet and when i could pass gas i was able to try soft foods and then solid food andin my mind i was thinking how can you possibly have a bm when i didnt eat anything for a week but i did, not to be gross but it was especially weird because i had a colostomy for 3 months previous to the reconnection but you wont expirience the weirdness of a colostomy,you say you think your problems arose more from being a workaholic and stress more than diet, but were close in age, im 37 and i never ate healthy in my life, i thought i could eat pizzas and burgers and all the fast foods forever and thought i was invincable and also i think stress also had something to do with my diverticulits too,being sick from may of 2003 to having the emergency surgery in sept 2003 i lost 70 pounds i couldnt eat,i was stressed about being sick and its a vicious cycle,your body is like a car, how you treat it and maintain it and if you put bad fuel in the car its gonna break down same goes for your body, now i realize this was a wake up call and wished i had listened to the"grown ups" when i was young and took better care of myself so i eat much better excercise and also we all need to learn not to sweat the small stuff and im a firm believer in if we learn how to manage stress in life we will live longer, healthier and be happier,theres no dress rehersals in life we have only 1 shot at it, ok dont mean to preach just telling you what i got out of this whole expirience

 
Old 04-18-2004, 07:55 AM   #5
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

You will probably not gross me out nor shake me up anymore than I already am. It seems almost everyone I talk to including the staff at the hospital is perhaps more concerned about the delivery of the message than the message itself. Kind of like the first couple of times I remember my folks talking to me about sex. A lot is still left to the imagination.

We ARE close in age. From what I can tell though, "old man's disease" is attacking Americans at an earlier and earlier age no doubt the result of our American diet.

My first bout arose after a long flight four years ago. I went from Houston to Hawaii. Prior to that event, like you, I pretty much just ate crap, no exercise, never listened to grown ups.

In the years between, my wife has done a good job of providing great meals. I don't always eat breakfast, sometimes don't eat lunch, and sometimes eat crap for lunch when I do, but mostly I am good. Dinners are always healthy. We eat as a family. I have a boy (4) and a girl (7). I really have a great wife.

My cholesterol was higher than a giraffe’s butt last year. The wife brought it down so much that I came off of the Lipator on December 31, 2003. The doctors said it was "impossible" for me to get off of the drugs. My panels indicated my genetic makeup was probably too whacky. She got me there with a pretty strict diet over a four month period.

One week later, January 6, 2004, I was in the hospital with diverticulitis. Lost 20 lbs. Got out, got scoped, went on the Discovery Health Challenge, working out three times a week. Boom, I get two more bouts in the midst of the healthiest living in my life.

For about six years, I have had hematuria (blood in the urine). It is microscopic, only present sometimes, and otherwise asymptomatic. The doctors cannot figure out why. They scoped my bladder last summer ... nothing.

If the doctors talked to my mother, she would say it is because I do not drink enough water. I think she is right. Maybe related to the diverticulosis too.

Back to the cystoscopy (bladder scope). I recommend you never, never get that done in a doctor's office. Wow, that was the most painful experience I ever went through. I also know NOW that your risks are about 10 times greater when performed in a doctor's office. Go to a special facility or hospital if you can. Otherwise you can expect to bite on a rope and suck it up for about ten to twenty minutes of pure hell.

I learned THAT when I got the colo-scope. The staff there could not believe I went “natural” on the bladder scope. They eased me in. After my bladder experience, I really was fretting pretty good. I had to wait about a month after I got out of the hospital before the doctor wanted to perform it. I never thought about not having it done (they needed cancer biopsies), but it was stressful waiting.

As it turned out, it was a great experience. The staff was great, AND, they hooked me up with pain meds and with Verset (a real date rape drug). Not only was I NOT uncomfortable, I don't remember the event. I just went down with a nice warm buzz and came back the same way. I had a few flash backs over the next two weeks of 10 second pieces of conversations in the procedure room, but it is still blurred.

For any macho-man in Houston that can't handle the thought, I can point him to the right facility.

Anyway, I have read about dumping syndrome, and people unable to tolerate meat and fresh veggies (I love veggies) after the resection for years or forever as the case may be. That is on my mind. Only one person I came across defined his new life as “miserable”. And, I think he is in big trouble physically. He has lost a 1/3 of his body weight, can’t work etc. Part of his problem is that he refuses to accept the colostomy. I am afraid he may be on his way out if they cannot stabilize him.

Intuitively, I think they would not perform resections for benign diseases if they resulted in a really low quality of life. So, I think my post-operative experience will be “manageable”. There are many supportive people like you, who have crossed the river, on this board that are helping others.

Like virtually everyone else on this board, I believe I will adapt at some point. I was just wondering about any changes in the quality of life. That way, I can go into denial sooner.

Just running over to see if someone has replied is very therapeutic. It is helping run the clock out before the big day.

I don't feel right telling my wife everything on my mind. She has enough to worry about. I have told everyone to skip coming to the hospital. The procedure itself is expected to take 2 to 3 hours. With prep and recovery, I can only imagine how horrible the waiting will be on the loved ones. That is everyone except my wife. She is my agent. So she has to be there and alert in case of any "decisions" that need to be made from colostomy to whatever.

If I could spare her this trip, I would.

 
Old 04-18-2004, 12:47 PM   #6
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

Captain's Log: Sunday, April 18, 2004

Weight: 167.5 lbs. Down from my high-water mark of 205 lbs. And, down from 189 lbs. on New Year's Day.

Mood: Grumpy and irritable last night, for sure jumpy, but I am good spirits today.

Food: Wifey is making Mexican Caldo soup. It smells great.

Pain: Moderate discomfort. Concerned I will not get the infection out of the way before surgery date.

 
Old 04-18-2004, 01:37 PM   #7
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

Ohhhh Love mexican caldo!! i am from south texas ya know!! corpus christi area, so know mexican caldo very well. In fact am hispanic/german mutt so know mexican food very well. LOL, loved your beginning, captains log, star trek fan here myself.
Enjoy the caldo.
Jen

 
Old 04-18-2004, 08:00 PM   #8
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

My wife is a gringa, and I am a bolio. Next entry tomorrow. We just made our list of things to get done this week including a new tight haircut (number 4 or less on the sides) so I won't have to fool with it in the hospital.

Left on its own, my hair would resemble Gene Wilder (Young Frankenstein) within hours. So, I am shaving my head in tight ala 1st Cavalry summer cut.

 
Old 04-19-2004, 09:53 PM   #9
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

Captain's Log: Monday, April 19, 2004

Weight: 168.5 lbs.

Mood: Improving. Worked a full day, had a good evening with the family.

Food: Last real meal for awhile tonight. It was light junk, rather not disclose. Whipped up 8 cups of Jell-O (green) for next two days (cooked it myself). Ummmm!!! Getting a special treat on Thursday. Stay tuned for that piece of info. Finished my last Flagyl tonight. Last Levaquin tomorrow. Almost 50 days of antibiotics this year. Maybe I won’t be nauseous Tuesday and Wednesday?

Pain: Moderate discomfort when I sit in the same spot for about 20+ minutes. Otherwise, I was too busy to notice.

Days to Surgery Remaining: 4.

 
Old 04-20-2004, 06:48 AM   #10
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

Youre doing great, hang in there fella. I always talk to my hubby about the people on here and he said he's asking some of his friends to pray for ya also. Hubby and i will be too. Look at it this way, when are you EVER gonna have probably 1000's of people praying for ya at one time??? im sure those who pray or believe in a higher power will be holding you and your family in good thoughts that day. Green jello?? uhm er, oh oh like i said HANG IN THERE FELLA

sending ya your
Take care of yourself today, looking forward to reading tomorrows captains log.
Later, hubby is home and we're gonna watch some videos

 
Old 04-20-2004, 08:32 PM   #11
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel the prayers working on me. I had a really great day. Everything seemed to go so well. Tomorrow is all about orange Jell-O.

Captain's Log: Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Weight: 168. lbs.

Mood: Great.

Food: Eight cups of Greeeeeeen Jell-O, two Grape-Peach juice bottles, water, 3 cups of coffee, and I forgot about my diet during the day and I eat a couple of breath mints. Oooops. For last call, I will drink down some consommé.

Brain: Screwed on pretty tight today. Very calm. A testament to the power of prayer.

Pain: The knot is my gut is easing. That is really good news. Otherwise, I was too busy to notice.

Days to Surgery Remaining: 3.

 
Old 04-21-2004, 12:17 AM   #12
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

Hi,

I had the right side of my colon removed in Dec 2003 - plus the terminal ileum and part of my small bowel. I have Crohn's disease complicated by cancer - well, the surgery was fine (8 hours in total). I had an epidural for the surgery and 3 days after for the pain but was up and walking around within 2 days. I am 38 and I think that being relatively young helped with recovery. I was home within 7 days - the two ends were joined up and I was eating and having bowel movements before leaving the hospital. I had a slight complication with bleeding at the site of the anastomosis (where they join the two ends together) but that resolved spontaneously without treatment. I was back at work within 2 1/2 weeks - perhaps not the best decision with hindsight.
All in all I think that mind over matter is the key - good luck for Friday!!

 
Old 04-21-2004, 08:31 AM   #13
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

Resection --

I have several reasons for writing and the first is to wish you well. Another is to thank you for deciding to chronicle your journey this way. It is exactly what I wish I'd been able to find when I was struggling with diverticulitis and an impending resection. I searched around a lot and found surprisingly few detailed accounts and info about such a common procedure. I hope you're able to keep posting, as it really is a service to others. Again, thanks.

My resection was at age 35, just over a year ago. Strong family history of early diverticulitis and resection is in place here, so I wasn't stunned to find myself in that position, in spite of years of water, exercise, high fiber food and fiber supplements. I had a lap resection that went off without a hitch. The prep was probably the worst part. My surgery lasted about five hours, and I also had no one hanging around at the hospital until it was over. The drugs worked out great and they (the drugs and the staff) had me walking a little bit within 18 hours of the surgery. Great anaesthesiologist and nurses make for a better experience.

I was in the hospital for nearly two weeks because I developed a complication (nerve damage at one of the lap port sites, but they couldn't figure out the source of the pain for a few days), but I was probably ready to go home by the regular standards in 7 or 8 days. The low residue diet was ordered and that worked out fine. Within a couple of months, I was able to resume pretty much all of my former favorite foods. There was only one food my doctor advised me to limit, but not completely avoid, and that was popcorn. The bad news is that even though they removed about two feet of bowel, I've still had multiple recurrences of diverticulitis since the surgery, the first coming after only six months of it. This is unusual, so I don't mention it to alarm you, but rather to make you aware that it can happen. They are NOWHERE near as bad as what had been happening before. I'm now seeing an acupuncturist and that seems to be helping, too.

Good choice on the haircut and lucky for you with the supportive wife. I spent an unexpected week in the hospital with long hair and showering was prohibited. It was about day five before I could even sit in the chair to get my hair washed. What an unpleasant mess. When I had my surgery, I cut my hair enough to make it tolerable while in the hospital for the surgery, as showering there wasn't allowed for a few days either.

Sorry for such a long post, but I hope it provides some further answers to your questions. Please feel free to ask if you think of anything else. Good luck, prayers in place and I look forward to reading your posts.

 
Old 04-21-2004, 09:52 AM   #14
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

Dear Sugarpop,

Well, I am assuming a longhaired Lollylolly is a female handle. May I call you SugarPop? I find voices like yours from the other side very encouraging. It sounds like you are better off now and you are pleased you got it done. I have additional divers along the rest of my large. I am at some risk of sharing your story. The doc told me not to worry too much about them though. Low incidence, and they are generally manageable.

Not being able to find the skinny on what I was facing is one of the reasons I created the journal.

For those that have been, this is probably a useless, dry and uninformed diary, but for someone in my shoes it would have been a "must" read.

I have gotten a lot out this. Guys never admit that talking much less witting can make them feel better. Oh no!!! Maybe I am losing my guy-hood. Just kidding. This is just not for posterity. It is good for me to write, and the follow up posts are good for me, whether I like the news or not.

Even if someone else where to find this diary useful, I would encourage them to post. The support feels very personal and sincere despite the anonymity of the faceless board.

I expect to have a successful procedure, and this board will probably be responsible for 20% to 30%. Yep, after God, right up there with the family, the docs, the facilities and whatever else is a factor.

The patient has a stake and responsibility. For something this drastic, I must have come to the conclusion along the way (although I do not remember thinking about it), that me, the patient, needs to be a part of the solution. I have to be a part of minimizing the risk and the maximizing the good if I am to overcome.

Everyone including me does pity themselves from time to time. But, we do not have to get stuck there. So, this is a big, freak-a-person-kind-of-surprise to get for your 40th birthday. But so what? I am just not done. Maybe I will be different, but I am not done.

Maybe I will get a great BM for my b-day and be so excited. How absolutely hilarious is that? All I want for my b-day is a great BM.

I can just hear the voice of the little old Jewish man from the shorts in “When Harry met Sally?”

<Man>
What?

What?

No?

I said BM!!!!

I just want a freakin’ BM for my birthday.

No herring.

No plaid jacket.

Just a BM! Like I used to have when I was a boy.

<Wife>
Oh? Well, I went Nordstom's. They didn't have any BMs, but I got a new pair of loafers. I hope you like them.

<Man>
Aaaaah, Thank you, but I still want a great BM just like when I was a boy.

<Wife>
Yeah, me too. Try them. Put the shoes on. We'll go for a walk.

<Man>
Yeah, ..... but I still want even a good if not a great BM.

 
Old 04-21-2004, 06:52 PM   #15
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Re: Post-Colon Resection - What to expect?

Captain's Log: Tuesday, April 21, 2004

Weight: Amazingly, still 168. lbs.

Mood: Great. But, I am a little tired.

Food: Only 2 cups of Orange Jell-O, four Apple juice bottles, plenty-o-water, 3 cups of coffee, same last call: I drink down some consommé. It was OK. Surprisingly, I am not as hungry as I was yesterday. Either mind over matter, or maybe the stomach just stops barking so loud after a couple of days.

Brain: Still cool, but I am tired. Got a couple of nice posts on another thread. Keeping me going.

Pain: None really.

Work: Good day. Worked ¾. Notary at the office stamped an updated will, power of attorney, and affidavits. Necessary and prudent. Not pleasant. But, not bad. We are all still pretty positive.

Days to Surgery Remaining: 2.

Errata: Wife is tired too. We are going to bed early. Kids are already down. I think I am going to pay dearly for foolishly “eating” all of that apple juice.

Tomorrow is prep day. I can hardly wait. Not really, but it is only for one day.

 
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