Hemorrhoidectomy blues!!! Will I ever recover from this surgery????
4-1/2 weeks ago I had an emergency hemorrhoidectomy and sphincter reconstruction, to repair a hemorrhoidectomy done a week prior that went bad, where the running stitch had to be restitched, and scar tissue that formed had to be removed from my sphincter. I'm hoping to hear feedback from people who have completely recovered from a hemorhoidectomy or had one 3 or more months ago, and how long it took for a full recovery? Right now I still have pain when I pass stool, like I am cut and/raw inside and bleed about a thimble-full of blood at the end. I am getting really discouraged how long this is lasting to recover. I have part of my original running stitch on the outside with skin grown over that hasn't dissolved and remains as a tender lump. The worse part is the soreness and bleeding when I have a bm, as I thought by now I would be fully recovered. It's really depressing me. I have to add, though, that I have only been going on the toilet for the last 13 days, as before I could only have a bm in a tub full of water. I have to have 3 100 mg. colace a day, eat a bowl of oatment,and a bowl of raisin bran, even add bran to my supper to keep my stool soft, and all of this stuff is starting to interfere with proper absorption of my thyroid medicine, which is okay for a month, but if this lasts for 2 or 3 months, I will become hypothyroid again. Can anyone tell me how long they bled and/or had pain rectally after their hemorrhoidectomy and/or sphincter repair, and at what length of time did they finally feel normal, painfree, no more bleeding at stools?
I had a hemorrhoidectomy (internal and external), a fissurectomy and sphincterotomy in early May. Due to complications, I had to have another surgery 10 days later to do major repairs. I spent 5 days in the hospital and endured post-operative pain that was off-the-charts. I thought I had a high tolerance for pain. I had delivered 3 babies with no pain medication. Without a doubt, the hemorrhoidectomy was the most horrific pain I have ever experienced. My recovery was a rollercoaster ride. I was incontinent (fecal) for the first 2 weeks after surgery, couldn't urinate without being in a tub of warm water and having a BM was a nightmare. I had to do Lamaze breathing just to get through it. Gradually, I was able to urinate out of the tub, but I had to stand up. I thought my life would never go back to normal.
Fast forward 3 months to today... I am no longer in pain. I have a bm without fear and dread. I urinate sitting down. Basically, I have my life back. I went for a 3 month follow-up with my colo-rectal surgeron and I am completely healed.
Don't dispair, Tammy. I have been where you are and now I can look back and it seems like a distant nightmare that keeps getting foggier. You will continue to heal and you will get your life back too.
Runninggal, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your taking the time to tell me about your recovery. It was a tremendous relief to read your post---I called my husband out and made him sit and listen while I read aloud your post, because he, too, is having to tough it out with me through this recovery, as my main caretaker.
It was wonderful to hear someone who is now fully recovered after the same kind of horrific surgery as myself. I plan on posting again 2 months from now to let others know of my progress as well, and I hope that you let us know how you are doing 6 months from now, so others who face the same ordeal can have a long-term view of what to expect, not just the first horrific weeks. My bm are starting to improve a bit, but I still have a raw feeling inside and still fight off spells of pressure inside, but I now have renewed hope.
I hope others as yourself also add to this post, to help lift the spirits of those who are in the middle of recovery or about to undergo the same surgery. I've been able to find lots of information online about the surgery, but next to none on personal recovery experiences of others, and those are really the ones I have needed to read.
Tammy, I am so glad that my post lifted your spirits. I will definately post again at the 6 month mark. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding my experience, or need a little morale boost while you continue to recover, please call on me again.
Sending warm, healing thoughts your way!
[This message has been edited by runninggal (edited 08-09-2003).]
runninggal, this isn't one of my good days, and I could really use some feedback from you on your ups and downs at the 5 weeks stage and on. Your first post really was a super morale lifter, but here I am at the 5 weeks date from my surgery and I never thought I would still be trying to recover at this time. I have improved a lot on the outside, and even inside, but I didn't think that at 5 weeks I still would be sore inside, and after stools, still have a bit of bleeding and feel raw and sore inside. Mind you the level of pain and bleeding is a hell of a lot better now---but I am surprised and depressed that I still have to deal with this after 5 weeks. Do you remember if you were still sore at 5 weeks after having a bowel movement? And did you still bleed a bit, spot some blood after going? If you were sore or bled a bit, when did that stop??? I appreciate your feedback---it really helps to lift my spirits, especially when my recovery seems so damn slow. I was supposed to follow up with my surgeon today, but I cancelled as I didn't want him probing me now, and hurting me, as I don't feel ready to be examined inside.
Tammy, sorry for the delayed reply. I just returned from vacation.
Time for a reality check for you, girlfriend. Remember, you are recovering from one of THE most painful surgeries on the planet, not to mention the complications that you and I both experienced, which makes our recovery time even longer. I know you are anxious to feel "normal" again, but 5 weeks post-op is just too soon. Yes, I did have pain at that stage. As a matter of fact, it is just recently (12 weeks post-op), that I have little to no bm pain.
Your follow-up appointments with your colorectal surgeon are very important. If he/she is worth their salt, the doctor will not do an invasive exam if you are in pain. Personally, I got a lot of anxiety relief from just airing my concerns to my doctor and hearing that my path of recovery was normal.
My surgeon told me that mine was one of those rare complicated cases...lucky me. In spite of these complications, I still recovered and totally healed.
Try to be patient and let your body do the work.
I will continue to be your cheerleader, if you need me.
Sending you healing thoughts.
Runninggal, again you gave a response that prompted me to share it with my husband. Knowing that 12 weeks is the time you finally felt little or no pain makes a whole lot of difference to me, as now it doesn't seem like I've got a problem, but that my healing is 'on target' for the type of surgery I had. This helps to keep me from getting depressed. I only wish my doctor had spelled out how long it can actually take to get over pain, then I wouldn't have experienced the despair I have felt. Still, you have to admit, 3 months is a damn long time to bear pain. And, you still do have a little bit of pain, even at 12 weeks. I hope that you reach soon the point where you have zero pain.
I AM getting better, but I can feel that the inside ring within my sphincter, I guess because of the sphincterectomy, needs a few more weeks. I'm at the point where sometimes I don't bleed after I go, and sometimes I do spot some,but I do feel sore inside. I can't wait to get to the point where I don't have any stress or anxiety about my bowel habits, and I don't have to take all the stool softeners. I super appreciate your feedback. You don't know how important the details you have shared with me have been to lift my morale. I have avoided my surgeon because twice in the past I asked him not to examine me, but he went ahead and looked, causing me some setback in my healing, so I am not going to let him get even near until I am sure he can't set me back. I have, though, talked a lot with his nurse with all of my concerns, but your answers have been more helpful, as you have given me a real healing timeframe I've needed to know.
Tammy, the fact that you are not bleeding after every bowel movement tells me that you are healing. It's a baby step, but worth celebrating! I know what you mean by being all consumed with toileting issues, thinking about every bowel movement, hours before it even happens. Will it hurt? Will there be blood? People outside of our little "sorority" just don't know how lucky they are to casually do their "bathroom business."
You mentioned that you take stool softeners. Is that Colace you are taking? Personally, I cannot use stool softeners. They actually make my bm's sticky, for lack of a better term, and very difficult to pass. For me, I have found that Metamucil (2 x per day), along with daily doses of Magnesium supplements and lots of water, keep everything soft and moving. I also don't eat dairy, with the exception of active culture yogurt, and haven't eaten red meat since before the surgery/surgeries. I was so terrified of anal stenosis, especially after having my you-know-what reshaped, that I started using Metamucil to bulk up the stools. I will continue indefinately with the Metamucil. For us, constipation has to be avoided at all costs.
I'm glad I have you to share this with. As kind and compassionate as my husband, friends and family are, no one can really understand our experience and pain unless they have made the trip to Rectal Hell too.
Stay positive, sister! You are getting closer to being pain-free everyday.
Runninggal and Tammy
I had the same surgery as both you had and that was in 1991 and I can still remember it well. It took me 3 months to heal. First BM I fainted it was so painful. After a few weeks maybe 5 or 6 I did not bleed and pain was lots better but I still had drainage that lasted up to 3 months. Had surgery in March and was all healed by early June. I NEVER want to have that surgery again. I know what your going through. But the surgery was worth it to me. I am glad I had it done. You too will get well it just seems like a long time when you hurt or going thru something you have never done before. God Bless......
SherryElaine, thanks for giving all of those details. I really needed to hear from someone who had the surgery a long time ago, and their overview of it from that standpoint. It's nice to hear you feel it was worth it. I didn't have the surgery by choice, but it's good to hear the results can be worth it.
Today is officially my 6th week recouperating from my second surgery I had to repair the first one a week prior to that. The bleeding seems to be almost all gone, but I still experience a creepy feeling inside that lasts for a few hours after I have a bm, like something is in there a little hard. I've come to conclude it must be some scab that gets irritated after I go. I hope that sensation, as well as all of the surgery related ones, will one day be gone.
Knowing that 3 months is typical for recovery, gives me the frame of mind to hang in there, rather than feeling loss of hope and depressed. That means 6 more weeks for me. The hardest part about this, besides the pain and mental stress, is that this goes way beyond the recovery time any normal surgery I have had in the past. Usually 3-4 weeks tops, I'm back to normal. That the pain and healing just stretches on and on has been really gruelling.
And I'm with you there: this is one surgery I NEVER want to repeat again. My next challenge, once I am fully healed, is keeping my bm soft and self-moving after I stop taking the stool softeners. Right now, I don't dare change anything I am taking or eating until I fully heal, as it took me 3 weeks to figure out a combination of diet and colace to get my bm soft enough so I wasn't re-injuring my surgery site with each bm.
Thank you SherryElaine, for sharing your experience. Even though this has been a hellish nightmare, I also do not regret having had the surgery.
Continued good health to you.
Hello again girls....
My surgery was not an emergency but it had to be done. I suffered for 18 years with pain and discomfort from hemiroids and fissures, then my rectum shrunk up too narrow and was very difficult to have a BM with out tearing my self up, then tags came along and then the inside started to turn out so I had to have reconstructive surgery of the rectum and I was scared to death. People were telling me not to have it done cause I would not be able to hold my gas or BM back and have no control over them but that was a chance I had to take. Also my doctor told me I may have to have the surgery repeated within a year but so far no problems. I had the surgery done in 1990 and I think I told wrong year in earlier post. I was told 4 to 6 weeks for recovery but it was 3 months for me to fully heal. I had spine fusion surgery 6 months ago and I am not over that one yet. I was told after 2 weeks should feel good and 3 months to heal and here it is 6 months and I am still in pain..... best wishes for your healing days.......
I wish doctors would tell it like it is. My doctor told me that in 7-10 days I would feel significantly better, and be healed in 4-6 weeks. I counted those 7-10 days and I was only slightly better, but still in unbelievable agony. And, now I have passed the 6 week mark and I still have a bit of bleeding when I have bm and some feeling of rawness inside, though it is markedly improved.
However, when I wasn't getting better by my doctor's time schedule, it made me panic and grow really distressed. Hearing from you two how it took 3 months for you both to heal, really calmed me down and made me feel my healing was on target for such a difficult surgery. If, from the getgo, my doctor had told me 3 months I would be healed, and that at 6 weeks I would be a lot better but still with some bleeding and soreness inside, I never would have freaked out and lost hope. My frame of mind would've been expecting a long healing and I wouldn't get worried. Sugar-coating and downplaying recovery time only makes a patient panic when his/her recovery doesn't match the predefined time.
Now here you are with your spinal fusion and you probably are wondering if 6 months is normal for pain. Wow!! You know this healthboard has a backpain topic that you might find people who went through your surgery who can tell you how long it took them to really heal. To me, not having a clue what is normal, and being given false information is the worse thing to deal with during any kind of recovery. Both you and runninggal have made a huge difference in my attitude and contentment as I wait out my recovery.
I can't believe that your doctor would have suggested you needed to repeat the hemorrhoidectomy within a year?!? Was he nuts or what? Who could repeat that surgery within a year, or even a lifetime? Take care!
Runninggal, SherryElaine, are you gals around?? I sure could use some morale boosting. I am so distraught to still be bleeding with bms at week 7 of my surgery. Do any of you remember if you were still bleeding? I don't mean just discharge, I mean bright red blood. While I'm not bleeding a lot, about an inch of stool with bright red patch of blood and some on toilet paper, it doesn't seem to be a normal thing at 7 weeks after, is it? I'm afraid something could be wrong, and I simply can't go through any other kind of surgical procedure---2 in a row are enough!
Also, even with cushions, I can't sit upright, or especially forward on a wood or similar hard chair. Yesterday I made the mistake to lean forward in my chair to prod my dog to eat his dinner and caused myself a lot of pain inside which lasted for hours after. It feels like I'm raw inside there, but if I don't sit on it and, if I lean back, I'm comfortable there. Did any of you have trouble at 7 weeks sitting in chairs?
I know you both have said that it took 3 months, but the way my healing has been so, so excruciatingly slow that I hardly notice any difference the last 2 weeks, I swear, it doesn't seem that I will be healed in just another 5 weeks.
What is making it so hard for me is that I have urinary frequency, and usually have to pee from 3 to 10 times in an hour and a half after each big meal. All of this peeing puts pressure on my rectum that doesn't help things, even though I pee standing up. Then, I have this syndrome that my body doesn't have the same amount of lubrication other people have, so even though I drink 20 cups of water, I can still have a hard stool, even with stool softeners, and this is making it tough to keep my stools soft, so I find myself sometimes having very hard stools pass that hurt.
Even so, if I was sure that my healing was still on target, and it could be normal to still bleed some with stools at 7 weeks, then I wouldn't feel the despair and hopelessness that I feel today, after yet another day of some bleeding. I also thought I could be sitting in a regular chair by now, but no dice. Hope one of you read this and can give me some feedback.
I'm here for you Tammy and I feel your pain and frustration. I wasn't having the bleeding you describe at week 7, but I was defininately still experiencing pain and urgency. Even now, 3 months later, when I feel the urge to go, I can't hold back. I literally run to the bathroom.
Three weeks ago, I started having bleeding with bm's. I was shocked since I hadn't had very much post-op bleeding. It just wasn't a bit of blood on the toilet paper either. Blood was on the stool itself and dripped in the toilet after. I was so scared. The thought of EVER having surgery of this kind again is more than I can handle. Anyway, I immediately made an appt. with my surgeon. He did an exam (anoscope), and said that there was no visable source of bleeding and with the exception of a tiny bit of scar tissue, it was as if I had never had any rectal problems at all. He said that the rigidity of the scare tissue can sometimes cause bleeding, especially after a hard, or large bm. (Neither of which I had) The only thing that I had done differently prior to my bleeding episode was to eat almonds on my cereal every morning, something I had not done since my surgery. I stopped eating the almonds and the bleeding immediately disappeard. I think that the coarseness of the nuts was irritating the scar tissue and causing the bleed.
I know this is not relevent to your situation, but it does illustrate that our healing process is not a straight path, but rather has many twists and turns.
Have you tried Magnesium to soften your stools? It has really made a difference for me.
Hang in there, Tammy. I'm happy to listen and give any support I can.
Wow, Runninggal, that's incredible about the almonds! I used to be a crunchy peanut butter fanatic before this surgery, along with popcorn, but it seems I won't ever get to eat those foods for a long time as the hardness might irritate me like those almonds did you.
I hear you about being terrified of the prospect of having to go through this kind of surgery again; that's my main fear when I see the blood or feel the pain is that it might mean I need to have something fixed. And to be honest, Runninggal, if I did, I don't believe I could do this again, and my surgeon better have another way to heal me besides this horrific procedure.
I think my bleeding at the end of my bm has to do with the size, and firmness of the stools; and sometimes if I don't get enough sleep the strain on my body has made me bleed when I go. I appreciate your sharing those details; I can't tell you how much it helps me to read what you are going through, to know what can be normal even in the future for me and really help to ease the panic and despair.
I've never had to deal with a surgery that is so slow to recover from and was so bad that I am petrified to have anything go wrong that could mean a repeat surgery. My family just doesn't understand how I could not be healed by now, and that I could be having pain, not just my husband, but my parents, siblings, all relatives, because what surgery takes so long to heal, is how they look at it? It's not that they're being indifferent, they just can't understand the delay, how come I'm not up and about like normal.
The other problem I have is that I still seem to have some kind of discharge after I go that keeps me moist down there and I've been fighting diaper rash and irritation for the first time in my adult life. Desitin, Vitamin A & D and corn starch powder have been no relief. I'm like thinking, will this wetness ever go away, or will I now have to battle diaper rash for the rest of my adult life?
I did try Milk of Magnesium the 3rd day after my surgery, but I got very uncomfortable cramps from it; however, to be fair, I had also taken mineral oil and colace on the same day, as I hadn't gone to the bathroom for 3 days, and it was my first time to go. But, I swore that I wouldn't try it again. Is that what you mean? Or do you mean the supplement magnesium? I have to say that magnesium gives me diarrhea, and I don't want to go too many times either.
I've been thinking of taking some vitamin a & d for wound healing but I am afraid if the cod liver oil capsule will make me have diarrhea if I take it while I'm taking colace, or maybe it might make me bleed. As you discovered, some stuff can induce bleeding, like roughage that irritates like your almonds, or stuff that thins the blood or increases blood pressure, like like vitamin e for me.
If wish I knew for sure that even though I have some bleeding when I go, and have pain if I try to sit on a hard surface, that I am okay in there and don't need any healing. I don't know if I've had an anoscope exam, but to be honest I am terrified of my surgeon using a hard instrument to open my rectum now to look inside and possibly causing me new injury. At this stage I don't feel ready for an internal exam. I see my surgeon next week and I am prepared to slug him if he tried to examine me inside right now---well, not really slug him, but threaten to maybe. [img]http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/redface.gif[/img])
HA! Oh, go ahead Tammy, slug him!
Regarding the magnesium, I am talking about the supplement, Elemntal Magnesium. The capsules are the best. I use Nature's Blend, 300 mg 3 x per day. The dosage is very individual. Try just one caspsule and adjust the dosage up until you get the desired effect.
For your "diaper rash" issue...have you tried Calmoseptine? It is a medicated cream that creates a moisture barrier and helps heal skin irritations. It is used in hospitals a lot. My surgeon told me about it. Although they don't normally stock it in drug stores, speak to the pharmacist and have he/she order it for you. I did and it only took 2 days to get it.
About friends and family totally NOT GETTING IT about the horror of this surgery. I found most of my friends listened politely, while not hearing anything I said. My husband and parents have been understanding, to a point. I actually started to lie when asked "how are you feeling?" Even if I was having a B+ day, I would say I was a C-. That way, they didn't expect an A+ the next day. I'm sure you know what I mean.
You are definately not alone, sister!
Hang in there.
Runninggal, thanks for the tip on the Calmoseptine; I just purchased a tube online, in ointment form, as it sure beats having to drive to my local drugstore in my condition. I did a search and found lots of places selling it online.
Question on that magnesium: I've read that it can backfire to take one vitamin or mineral supplement by itself for a long time as lots of them require balancing with others---is this regimen something you plan to do only short term while you heal? Or, is this something you plan to take forever? I also read that you should keep your stools soft for a least 1 year after recovering (ha, ha! I'm having trouble keeping them soft just day to day, much less a year!).
Also, have you encountered this problem? I still can't sit down to pee most of the time, as this gives me uncomfortable pressure down there in the surgery area. However, standing to pee has given me 2 damn yeast infections in the last 3 weeks! And now that I just got over treating the last, and stil have to stand to pee, I feel another one coming one, becuase the pee runs the wrong way when I stand up.
I'm getting real tired of using monistat to treat the infections, as I get stomach cramps from it. Did you get yeast infections when you had to stand to pee? My drawback is that I have urinary frequency; I guess if I only peed every 2 hours life would be easier, but with all the water I am forced to drink to keep soft stools, and my regular frequency after eating, it leads to a lot of peeing!!!
Tammy, I plan on taking the magnesium indefinately. My internest said that there is no problem taking it. As a matter of fact, there is a side benefit in that there is some new medical research that found that people who suffer from migraine headaches (me) are low in magnesium and can benefit from taking supplements.
Oh yes, I had difficulty urinating sitting down. The pelvic floor has to be relaxed in order to urinate and this is virtually impossible when you are have rectal pain and muscle spasms. It took several weeks for me to pee sitting down on a consistant basis.
Interesting that you should bring up yeast infections. I never had a yeast infection until I had this surgery. Initially, I had the first yeast infection from the post-op antibiotic. My GYN prescribed Diflucan and it worked within 24 hours. However, I kept getting horrible vaginal itching for weeks. Finally, I stopped taking sitz baths and tried to keep the area very dry. Still, I couldn't get rid of the itching. Then I changed my brand of sanitary pad, from the ultra absorbant to the cotton-like type. It made a HUGE difference. You and I live in very humid climates and those absorbant pads are like moist, breading grounds. Anyway, now I only need a mini pad, but I only use the cotton type and haven't had a problem since. Also, my Gyn told me to apply hydocortisone 2 X a day to the area and that also helped. Just thought I would share that with you.
I told my surgeon that I think he should start a hemorrhoidectomy post-op support group where patient's could talk about their shared experiences and he laughed, thinking I was joking. Nice, huh?
runninggal you've been a breath of fresh air, I couldn't have gotten this far in my recovery without your replies. Let me tell you, recovery from this surgery can be so bad that it warrants a support group! My despair sent me online looking for any kind of peer information or feedback 4 weeks ago. I wasn't interested in reading all of the literature on ideal healing circumstances, as I needed to read about people having hard times like I was, and how they got through it, and how long it lasted. I can't understand why a surgeon wouldn't understand how critical to the healing process it can be to talk to others experiencing the same problems and sharing coping methods, pittfalls and mile markers along the road to recovery?
However, maybe surgeons are afraid such a support group could backfire on them, and cut down on local surgeries, if word gets around that such a support group exists. I mean if a surgery is so horrible that the patients needs to be a part of a support group, a lot of people are going to think twice about having the surgery in the first place, and this could mean less money for the surgeons, right? After all, what is more important: morale support for distressed patients, or a steady influx of paying patients?
You know, runninggal, I haven't used any pads of any kind because I did the first week of my first hemorrhoidectomy and the pad would irritate my butt hole, and I don't know if that added to the scarring, but out of fear, the second time, I totally avoided any kind of pad. My vaginal itching only started when I started peeing standing up, and not when I spent hours in the tub the first few weeks.
I know it is because I am peeing standing up, as the few times I ventured sitting down, I don't get irritation from the urine or burning, but as soon as I start standing up, I feel the burning, and the start of a yeast infection. When I pee sitting down, the urine flows to the back, away from me, but standing up, the pee flows to the front of my vagina (and all over my legs if I'm not careful!!!). Oh well.
You know, it's weird, just writing and sharing with you my woes and reading your woes, really is extremely helpful. The little things you share which are just like I am experiencing really makes me realize this is all typical, for someone in our position. :}
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