I'm scheduled to have a laproscopic sigmoid colectomy on January 7th. I am very happy to have this scheduled as I have had 7 episodes of diverticulitis since June. I have tried to anticipate every possible question and ask the surgeon so I won't have any surprises. I know a number of participants here have had this surgery. Can you tell me what were some of the unexpected things you experienced? Any of you say to yourself, "I wish I'd known ____ BEFORE the surgery"? I have asked every question I could think of, including asking the surgeron "What else do I need to know that I haven't thought of?" I just want to be prepared. This is my way of dealing with the anxiety of facing a major surgery. Thanks in advance for any answers.
I really didn't experience anything post-op that I didn't expect. I knew I'd have the NG tube, which was pulled later in the evening the day of surgery. I experienced a bit of nausea afterward, but focused, took some very deep breaths and the nausea passed. The catheter is always annoying, but you'll appreciate it immediately post-op. Mine was in longer as I had stents inserted in my ureters during the surgery (removed when the procedure was done). You may want to ask your surgeon if he will be doing the same. I had the lap procedure and I believe the stents are inserted as a visual aide.
Other than those issues, I sure wish they'd give us abdominal surgical patients an overhead trapeze to lift our bodies and position to get up and out of bed! That's a challenge for sure!
As soon as possible, get up and walk and walk some more. It really helps in the recovery process.
Thanks for the response, Linda. I had not even considered an NG tube! See, this is the kind of thing I am wondering about...those 'obvious' things that just have not occurred to me! I will ask about the NG tube. Sounds uncomfortable! I expect a catheter, as I have had several major surgeries before, and possibly those pressure pants they use post-operatively for some surgeries to prevent clotting in the legs.
Your idea about the trapeze is a good one! I had that on my bed after I had cervical spinal surgery and it wouldn't hurt for me to ask if they could put it on the bed this time. You are right, it would make getting up or even changing positions much easier on those traumatized abdominal muscles!
I have learned from past experience that the sooner I get up and start moving, the quicker I will recover. I will not be allowed to leave the hospital until the bowels have begun functioning again and getting up and moving will speed that process along.
Thanks for the input, Linda. Anyone else have anything to pass along? Anything is welcome.
I wasn't even aware of the NG tube immediately post-op....pretty much sleeping off the anesthesia. A lot of surgeons remove it immediately, others leave it in for a while. To be honest, best to have it in to prevent horrible nausea and vomiting. If they'd have to re-insert, I imagine that would be very uncomfortable.
I, too, have had lots of surgeries...open abdominal surgery in the 80's, 2 total hip replacements and also know how important it is to move around as soon as possible.
I can't remember if I had the leg cuffs on after my re-section. I do know that most hospital protocol now is to give surgical patients Heparin injections (Lovenox) to prevent clots. I got 2 injections a day after my surgery, which was interesting. It was a given with my hips, but I was surprised after my re-section. A friend recently had some foot surgery and also had the Heparin injections.
I wish I'd have had a trapeze! As you know, every little movement involves abdominal muscles....laughing, coughing, etc. You can certainly ask for one....I did. They said it wasn't necessary. Says who? Still, I got pretty creative positioning myself and grabbing on the side bars of the bed to get up and out!
I had my surgery on a Monday and was released on Saturday. No bm until Friday! You will be on a soft diet....creamed soups, puddings, etc. I insisted on my coffee/tea.....hot! That sure helped. They will listen for bowel sounds and the question of the day is "any gas? any bm?"
You'll be fine. I am the same way--I wanted to k now everything ahead of time. I don't like being surprised.
I had sigmoid colectomy April 2008. No complications and SO glad I had it done after suffering with diverticulitis attacks and hospitalizations for two years.
I had the leg pumps. I didn't have the NG tube. Catherer didn't bother me and I was glad I didn't have to get up! Coffee was the thing that got my bowels moving and my surgeon was happy to let me have it. I had heard that chewing gum helps bowels start working so I also did that. I had bowel movement two days after surgery.
Lucky you for having the laser surgery! I was cut 4 1/2 inches down my middle, it's a crooked cut, and the surgeon accidentally cut through my stomach muscles, resulting in a lopsided tummy bulge. But I'd take all that rather than have to suffer from one more attack, perforation, and ruptured abscess, all which happened to me.
Just remember that you will be encouraged to walk as much as possible. I took laps around the hospital floor, and even though it was not easy due to the 10 staples I had, I walked more after getting home. Drink lots of water, walk a lot, and eat whatever you can tolerate, but don't push it.
Thanks everyone for the advice and support. I do know that after ANY surgery the patient benefits from getting up and walking ASAP. I won't be able to leave the hospital til the bowels start moving again and walking helps with that, too. I am having some anxiety as the date approaches and some second thoughts. My husband is very much against me having this surgery. He is very afraid of something happening to me. I can't seem to make him understand that by having this surgery with minimal risk I will be avoiding the almost certainty of an emergency surgery, which would be much riskier! Not to mention that if I had an emergency colectomy I'd end up with a colostomy and since I am an insulin dependant diabetic, the chances of getting a colostomy reversed are low! So I am going ahead as planned but with this added stress. I will be checking in here from time to time so anything you can think of that may help to prepare me, please pass it on!
I, too, was nervous and had second thoughts about my re-section. I'm no stranger to surgeries....gynie surgery in the 70's and 2 total hip replacements within the last 5 years. Your husband has every right to be frightened for you....any sort of surgery is scary. That said, we are ticking time bombs without it. You are absolutely doing the right thing and will do just fine! No way do you want to have the surgery on an emergency basis!!
Take a deep breath, think positive and keep us posted!
Well, surgery has been postponed indefinitely. I went for routine pre-op clearance exam with my family Dr and the EKG showed some 'irregularities'. Now I have to see a cardiologist before we can proceed. And wouldn't you know, I am having yet another flare-up of the diverticulitis! This is the 8th since June! I want this over with so badly but I guess I will have to be patient some more. So it's back on Flagyl and Levaquin and another week to 10 days out of my life til I feel better again.
Sorry for your delay especially knowing how hard it was to get comfortable with the decision.You say you're having an attack now and I wondered what symptoms you are having. My attacks were never really diagnosed as attacks until there was perforation and emergency surgery. I assumed I had a touchy tummy my whole life and don't know where diverticulitis begins. I still have diverticuli so need to be wary. My first sign was horrible backache and a vague unfamiliar feeling of pain in my stomach. I had had many episodes of cramping sweats and chills with pain in the years prior, and don't know if those were indeed an attack . I need to recognize trouble before it gets to far.
"I had many episodes of cramping sweats and chills with pain in the years prior, and don't know if those were indeed an attack . I need to recognize trouble before it gets to far."
Same here. I thought I was dealing with IBS or a spastic bowel. I was diagnosed with some diverticular disease after a colonoscopy, but was told it was nothing to worry about.
I, too, had cramping pain every morning and the feeling that I never completely evacuated. I'd break into a sweat and be nauseated. I was in and out of the bathroom for a couple of hours....loose, pencil thin stool. I'd be late for work and knew where every restroom was along the way.
This went on for a couple of years. I never thought to take my temperature.
I never really felt sick with these episodes. I just learned to live with the pain and lived on immodium.
When I headed to the ER almost 2 years ago with a fever, incredible pain and nausea, a CT scan showed a 2 inch abcess and I was finally diagnosed with Diverticulitis. So, I suspect I had been dealing with it for a couple of years...totally unaware. Just kept thinking it was IBS. My temperature at the time was 103.
Since my re-section, I'm paranoid about any cramping or loose stools. I've had a couple little episodes, but it's not a constant, daily event. I plan on insisting I have a colonoscopy (imagine that!) to have a look see in there.
I'm sure I have more diverticuli hiding in there.
I suspect your cramping, chills and sweats were symptoms and, like me, you just figured it was a cranky tummy...reacting to stress and different foods. I wouldn't hesitate to head to my surgeon or the ER now if my so-called IBS symptoms started and stuck around.
Kinselmom.....sorry your surgery is off for now. I hope the tests show nothing serious and you're able to move forward.
Peacefrog, I have had IBS for over 30 years so pretty much ignore most of the cramping and frequent need to use the bathroom. Like Lilbloom, I know the location of every bathroom in town! It wasn't until my second severe bout of diverticulitis that I learned to recognize it in it's earlier stages. I don't always have fever with it but it always starts with a now very familiar pain in the same spot in my left side. The twinges escalate to the point that I have trouble standing upright or walking. Rather than let it get worse, the gastro has me call her when it reaches that point and she prescribes the antibiotics right away to keep it from getting severe.
I am disappointed that the surgery has been postponed because I want this done with. Each time, it takes at least a week out of my life where I am pretty much incapacitated. Fortunately I am retired, otherwise I would probably been fired by now for missing too much work.
You know....my pain was never localized in the left quadrant. I headed to the ER thinking I had appendicitis because I had severe, stabbing pain in the lower right. It started as a dull ache...a pinching...and progressed to a throbbing, non-stop pain. That was surely different than anything I had experienced previously...so off to the ER I went. I still don't understand the right sided pain (other than referred) when they took a foot of my descending colon.
Best wishes Kinselmom. Making the decision to have the surgery is the hardest part. Having to wait now must be extremely frustrating. Let's hope for the all clear soon!
I also had many flare ups with diverticulia, now finally after 3 yrs of livng though hell and back and forth to the ER I finally had the surgery a week ago today. they removed part of my sigmoid colon and now I am home from the hospital after 5 days in with staples running down under my navel and 2 beside my navel and 1 above.. very sore and in pain, mostly gas..Now just keeping my fingers crossed that this is the end of a nightmare.Just not sure how long I will be out of work with this, right now on short term disability (can I survive?). But was so at the end of my rope between not being able to eat anyting that would agree with me and the pain constantly, then being out of work constantly..Just keeping my fingers crossed on the progress of healing now,plus ahving these staples removed. Good luck
Teddysue, I had the surgery on the !st of this month and I am happy to be able to tell you that I am feeling really good. The healing process has been much quicker than I was told it would be. With you being on disability I know things must be tight but you WILL survive. There is always a way to make those ends meet and you have done a really important thing for yourself and your future. We have no guarantees that the diverticulitis may not redevelop in another part of the intestine but it seems that most people don't, especially if they follow a good diet rich in fiber. I also am now taking a probiotic supplement every day. Good luck, and here's wishing you as speedy a recovery as I have had!