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Old 02-25-2008, 01:04 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: chicago, illinois, usa
Posts: 13
cautiouscynthia HB User
Smile Post-Surgery Report & Questions

Hi all,

First day home after my colon resection on 2/21. Boy, I'm glad the surgery's over with; glad I did it but now have a bunch of recovery questions before I call my doctor!

But 1st my surgery report which I will add more to later but need to keep this brief as my sister just came in from several hours away to help me out.

Surgery scheduled at 10am. I was busy from 7:40am when I arrived until they wheeled me in to surgery.

LOVED my surgeon; didn't get the assistant surgeon that was scheduled but someone else I didn't meet (he didn't assist until after the 1st surgeon was done cutting away all the adhesions).

Didn't get either of the anasthesiologists I requested but the guy seemed good enough. Interestingly, since he knew how concerned I was about the post-surgery vomiting, he said he was going to use acupuncture along with all the other 'tools' of his craft. So far he had an almost 100% record with preventing nausea post-surgery so he didn't want me to ruin his record

Boy, I'm getting tired so need to shorten this. Ok, bottom line is they spent about 1 hour cutting away adhesions, took out 12" of bad colon. I threw up a very little bit as they wheeled me to my room (pretty gassy) but felt great right after. That evening was tired, could hear my husband, friend & m-i-l chatting. Slept ok except for them waking me up every few minutes to check 1 thing or another.

They KNEW I was allergic to morphine & codeine but unfortunately tried another NARCOTIC for pain management. Something that starts with a p. By next day, I was vomiting non-stop. BAD BAD BAD day. What would I have done without my friend and m-i-l there. It was coming out both ends. I was SO miserable.

Finally took me off the PCA and I was on 600mg ibuprofin only. By next day I was sitting up, going to the bathroom, pretty fine; got to go on liquids.

Next day (Sunday, yesterday), tried me on soft foods, and sent me home last night. Got home about 9pm.

Not too good a night last night though. Got up a bunch with bloody diahrea (blood has subsided as has diahrea a bit). Pain had not been much of a problem UNTIL surgeon's associate pulled out the drainage tube & pump yesterday. It HURTS there quite a bit now. Plus I have a cough that kills.

Had late breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs which tasted delicious but really hasn't passed. Some concerns whether the following is normal or should I call someone??

Worse pain than I've had for last 2 days (subsequent to tube removal). Really a burning pain like something's tearing whenever I move funny or cough or sit on toilet to go and move backward or forward. But I'm only on 2 ibuprofic & heating pad. Normal? To be expected? A problem indicator?

Up to now, everytime I've eaten anything, it's come running through me. I haven't gone for 4 hours. Problem? or getting back to normal & to be expected?

I may try Darvocet tonight; VERY concerned re: vomiting. But is sleep more important?

Plus my coughing is aggravated by my sinuses which are draining but my blood pressure is going up so I'm afraid to take my sudafed which is the best fix for my sinus problems.

What do you all experienced post-bowel-surgery people think???

Thank you for any help you can give me?
THANK you.

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Old 02-25-2008, 01:40 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: California
Posts: 2,094
Redneon82 HB User
Re: Post-Surgery Report & Questions

I'll try to answer your questions.

I too had a burning, almost tearing type of pain until a few weeks post-surgery. I had a lot of pain where the drain had been, but I did not have any diarrhea. Food doesn't digest for at least 8 hours so I would not expect anything after 4 hours. Your colon is probably recovering so you will notice changes over the next few weeks. I wouldn't recommend eating much cheese since cheese and red meats are harder to digest. I stuck with mainly fish, chicken and vegetables and I avoid spicy foods since they bring back that burning pain.

If you have bad reactions to narcotic pain medications maybe something else can be substituted. I used Tylenol with codeine which seemed milder than other medications. I had to be taken off Toradol because of the possibility of bleeding. I didn't have any bleeding bowel movements except for one bad bout with hemorrhoids. I still have swelling on my left side but otherwise have very little pain. All pain & diarrhea has been related to eating spicy or hot foods which I should know better! But I love spicy food....

I used an ice pad for pain which worked pretty well. I also had a bad cough about 5 weeks post-surgery and felt like I was gonna die every cough. But I found if I stretched my stomach long when I felt a cough coming on, it decreased the pain. Don't fold over & hold your tummy, that makes it worse!

All in all, about the 6 week mark is when I started feeling much better. And I am 3 1/2 months post-surgery and if I eat right I feel fine, with a lot of energy, a great appetite and I can move around great!

Good luck with your recovery, I hope the next few days will find you feeling much better!

Old 02-26-2008, 03:39 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 64
billfisher01 HB User
Re: Post-Surgery Report & Questions

Well, first I am so glad to see you made it to the other side! Congrats! Like Redneon, I did not have any blood passing food...I did have very weird bowel movements for a couple weeks and its normal, everything re adjusts itself and it takes time so I would say its normal..As for the pains when coughing and making sudden movements etc....Thats all very normal, nerves have been cut, muscle has been cut and everything radiates and hurts, this is also normal, it will all feel better in time ! I am 4 weeks post op and feel real good but if I cough I still feel strange things in my stomach area but it gets less and less with the passage of time. Try and keep your diet bland for awhile, and yes, cheese can bind you up so be carefull! You will get better, just give it time, you just got home! The tioredness is also normal, I am still feeling the effects of being tired! That is also getting better...Give in to it and sleep when your body tells you to! Also dont forget to walk!

God Bless! And I am happy you made it! Bill

Last edited by billfisher01; 02-26-2008 at 03:40 AM.

Old 02-26-2008, 07:28 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Posts: 344
libloom HB User
Re: Post-Surgery Report & Questions


First of all, welcome home. The worst is over!

Stick with the soft diet for now...foods that are easy to digest. Creamed soups, puddings, mashed potatoes, etc. More importantly, I hope you can find a pain reliever that gives some relief without the nausea. I hope the Darvocet worked for you! Sleep and rest is crucial now....helps in the healing process!!!

Good luck,

Old 02-27-2008, 02:31 PM   #5
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: chicago, illinois, usa
Posts: 13
cautiouscynthia HB User
Re: Post-Surgery Report & Questions

Thank you, thank you Redneon, Bill & Linda. If it hadn't been for you guys, I probably would have been more tempted to chicken out again! But I am SO glad I went ahead and had it done. Really, all in all, I'm feeling much much better than I anticipated.

In fact, I was thinking I'd lose weight through the process but, unfortunately, think I'm gaining! Go figure. I day of bowel prep, 1 day of surgery--no food, 1 day of constant vomiting & diahhrea, 1 day of liquids & diahrea, finally a day of soft diet. The day after I got home, I weight myself (day 2 soft diet) and I had GAINED 3 pounds!! How DOES that happen??

Redneon--your tip re: stretching straight out instead of curling in when you cough REALLY REALLY works!! Thank you so much. I would never have guessed, or tried, that if you hadn't suggested it. SO helpful!

My appetite is very good My bowel movements are really getting back to normal--a few variations but I'm surprised how quickly it's all returning.

I've definitely stayed to the low residue, low fiber diet as outlined on the handout they gave me at the hospital. So far so good.

The unexpected problems I'm having have been not being able to treat the sinus cough with sudafed because my blood pressure's been so high (even though I'm taking my blood pressure medicine). They prescribed me tessalon pearls but it just treats the symptoms not the cause like the sudafed does. Plus I've had almost a constant heaviness in my chest (feels like an elephant foot constantly pressing down on it) with periodic pinching pain twinges. I'm keeping up with my spirometer & am doing terrific on that, so I don't think that's the problem. Really, I think it's just all my post-nasal-drip gathering in my throat & chest.

I really really loved my surgeon. But one problem I have with the whole current medical establishment is no one treats the 'whole person.' e.g. the surgeon called me back directly about the tearing pains. Said it was typical--especially where I was having it--just like you all did. But deferred the high blood pressure etc to my gp.

GP was out so another (after several hours, communicating back & forth through a nurse) wouldn't increase my blood pressure medicine, told me not to take sudafed, and prescribed the tessalon drops.

Back in the hospital, the surgeon wanted the anasthesiologist to deal with the post-surgical pain management (as he knew how allergic I was to narcotics & rightly acknowledged that the anas. was more knowledgeable about drugs) but the anasthesiologist wanted the surgeon to be in charge of it. Of course neither of them wanted to be bothered with the high blood pressure problems.

Anyway, I wish I could find someone like my surgeon that dealt with me as a whole. Probably an impossible dream, huh, given this day of cost-controls, insurance curbs, runaway lawsuits & judgements, etc. It's a shame.

On the other hand, I am indeed the thankful recipient of all the new marvelous medical miracles. I can't believe how good I feel less than a week after general anasthetic with 12" of bowel removed and an hour of adhesions being cut away!

To those reading this who are considering this operation, I learned more things through this process of why they really do encourage you to get the surgery. Many of my adhesions were due to the 4 episodes of diverticulitis I had. Even though I didn't think 3 of them were that painful, they ALL do damage. I guess I have a higher pain tolerance than I thought. Anyway, when your colon gets infected and swelled, it can cause it to adhere to the abdominal wall, pelvic floor, or other organs--which of course causes a lot of additional problems. Didn't know that.

I'm really looking forward to just feeling better and better each day, and especially a future no longer filled with fear of the 'ticking time bomb' of another diverticulitis episode.

There is a bruise starting to appear under the incision that hurts so much. I'm thinking that incision is the farthest away from where the cutting was done, so more of the muscles and tissue were bruised and moved around with the operation of the instrument. But when I called for my follow-up appointment with the surgeon today, I had the option of making it this next Monday (3/3) or the Monday after that (3/10). I took 3/3 (11 days post-op) just in case it was anything more. You think wise? or better to wait until 3/10??

I was considering having everyone over to our house for Easter (12-18 people, depending on who can come). But that would only be about 1 month post-surgery. You think too much too soon, or go for it??

Well, getting tired so am going to finish up a few other things online & go lay down a bit. Oh, re: the pain medication, what really works for me and which I'm going to do unless someone gives me sound reasons not to, is I take 2 ibuprofin followed up 1 hour later with 1 tylenol. That combo always does the trick for me--and absolutely NO nausea, headache, dizzyness or anything.

Bill, I briefly saw on another thread that you were wondering whether you should 'retire' from this board but I have to tell you, you've been a godsend to me. Please hang in there a couple more weeks if only, selfishly for me!!

Thank you all,

Old 02-28-2008, 08:49 AM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 64
billfisher01 HB User
Re: Post-Surgery Report & Questions

I am so glad that things are coming along! I knew they would In my remarks about leaving the board, I just felt I have recovered, I have helped the people I could and felt I paid my dues so to speak...To go deeper, I tend to become consumed by things, its not healthy, My wife keeps telling me that I have been cured and its time to move on and get on with my life....However, ever since surgery I have been obsessed with reading about it, writing about it, watching vids of it etc...I have that type of personality and I let things overwhelm me so, that is why I thought I should step back and try and focus my mind on other more "normal" things in life

Anyway, Go ahead and have that easter party! you will be just fine

Old 03-02-2008, 07:19 PM   #7
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: California
Posts: 2,094
Redneon82 HB User
Re: Post-Surgery Report & Questions

Cynthia, I'm glad my coughing tip helped! I found it by accident and it really did help. And don't worry, you will be much better in a few weeks. I actually went to Vegas for 4 days and went bowling! I had to use the lightest ball they had, but I bowled 2 games and felt fine! I also went to the race track (I'm seeing a race car driver) and was able to help on the car and walk around for 2 nights and other than feeling like I'm terribly out of shape, everything went perfect! Now if I could just get rid of this pesky tummy pouch...

As far as Easter, I had surgery on Nov. 5th (open surgery) and cooked Thanksgiving dinner for 6 people. The only thing I couldn't do was lift the turkey out of the oven and mash the potatoes but my son did that (my mashed potatoes are better...) Just sit down & rest when you need to and don't be shy about it! And accept offers of help from guests. You should be fine!

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