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Old 04-19-2011, 12:14 PM   #1
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Alameda, CA
Posts: 4
Meg66 HB User
Things I Wish I'd Known About Recovering From Sigmoid Resection

There are some amazing posters here about bowel resections, some awesome advice for us newbies. But I have not seen anything recent so I thought that a newbie thread might help other newbies and I also still have questions even after scouring these boards! I am a little over 2 weeks post-op from a laparoscopic sigmoid resection resulting from diverticulitis. There are some things I wish I would have known when I left that hospital, and I also welcome any veterans to correct or help where I'm a little lost...

1. The pain takes longer to subside than I thought it would. I figured because this was laparoscopic, I'd be doing yoga in 2 weeks. Wrong. The pain has localized to my colon area and just above my pubic incision and though it might be improving a little every day, my recovery has plataued and these areas just plain hurt. I'm ok in the morning but I take a Vicodin every night before bed so I can sleep.

2. For the ladies (excuse us, gentlemen...) the first period is a killer! Like post-partum or puberty style. I was doubled over for a day. Heavy clotting. It's all normal post-op but no one told me this and I thought I was having a set back with my surgery.

3. When you start to feel better in 2 weeks, still hold back on too much activity. Even when I think I feel good enough to do something strenuous like a lot of driving or lifting grocery bags, I regret doing it. Don't reach, stretch, sit too long, pick up anything over 5#s for the first 2-3 weeks.

4. Post surgery diet should not be too high in fiber and should include at least 64oz of water a day. I started in on the quinoa and bran cereal right away because my surgeon said I could eat anything a 2 year-old could eat. I fed my toddlers pears, apples, fiber, legumes and since a low fiber diet is what got me into this predicament, I figured this was the best thing to do. Although I'm having 1-2 BMs per day thanks to record water intake, I am also in some pain in my colon area that I think might be related to too much fiber. I'm about to try a lower fiber diet, eliminating raw fruits and veggies or at least the skins. I'm dialing back on the high fiber cereal and eating Cheerios for a bit. Let's see if that helps... And if you're constipated, stool softeners helped me. I'm also drinking the 100% pure aloe juice to help heal my insides, which one poster here said tastes like bull urine. It does. I cut it with unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice then I drink it through a straw.

5. Depression. I have had to battle some depression being limited in what I can do and also just always being in pain - even managable pain. I am NEUROTIC over every ache and pain. Walks really help and they are good for your digestion. It's normal, don't let it keep you down.

6. Bloating. Mine has gone away for the most part but pretty much everything I eat turns straight to gas. This could be the fiber, I am hoping this goes down...My surgeon said it will.

7. Surgical tape allergy. OH. MY. ****. I got some nasty water blisters under my tape. I was told this was very common. If it's so common, why do they use this kind of tape? ICK! But no one warned me about this and it freaked me out. My surgeon told me to leave them alone but when mine hit dime-size, I ended up lancing those suckers with a sterile Lancit and lots of hydrogen peroxide and anti-bacterial cream.

8. Try to have a friend or relative stay with you for the first week or so post-op. It was so nice not having to get up and down, having someone drive the kids to and from school and to the pharmacist, grocery store, etc. I really don't think I could have done it alone.

9. Back pain from back sleeping. I can finally put a pillow between my legs and sleep on my right side but I still cannot sleep on my left side and my back is freakin' killin' me.

10. When in doubt, call your doctor!!!

There is still so much I don't understand, being a newbie. Like, how long will the pain last? What can I eat? If I stretch in the morning, can I accidentally pop a stitch inside? LOL! Seriously, it feels like it sometimes. Thanks for all the help anyone can give! Love, Meg

 
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:55 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Huntington Station
Posts: 1
SteveB1960 HB User
Re: Things I Wish I'd Known About Recovering From Sigmoid Resection

Wow! Thanks for posting! I feel as if I could have written most of your post, except for the gender. I just passed the 4-week mark. For the first two weeks I just felt weird. Couldn't concentrate. When I went back to work, I felt absolutely terrific, better than I had in a long time. I have also been exercising and doing Weight Watchers and have lost 20 lb in the past few months. Then last Thursday I got a pain just behind my pubic bone when I emptied my bowels. Figured it was gas or something. Considering my 10-year battle with diverticulitis I should have known better. The pain stayed pretty much the same until Saturday, then it involved my whole lower abdomen. (These things always seem to happen after regular office hours, don't they?) They put me on Cipro and Flagil and the pain almost immediately dialed back to being exactly the same as the previous Thursday, only on emptying my bowels or bending way over. When I saw my gastro, he called my surgeon and they said something about "pouching" at the suture site and that it would go away. I don't see how since my diverticula never did. I'm worried they might have to go in there again.

 
Old 09-18-2012, 04:20 AM   #3
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 4
Quark17 HB User
Thumbs up Re: Things I Wish I'd Known About Recovering From Sigmoid Resection

I appreciate the website and especially feedback left concerning sigmoid resection. It seems there are as many experiences as there are people who have had sigmoid resection. In case my feedback might be helpful to someone I offer my experience thus far.

diverticulitis history:

I have had episodes of diverticulitis since 2006. I had a normal screening colonoscopy 2 years ago. However, at that time, I reported to the gastroenterologist that I had been experiencing intermittent pencil thin stools. I am a health care provider and know this can be a symptom of colon cancer. Only diverticulosis was found and I was instructed to continue high fiber diet and return for colonoscopy in another 5 years. This year I had a bad episode of diverticulitis with bleeding and was admitted for a week. A colonoscopy was attempted but there was so much inflammation that even the smallest scope could not be advanced beyond a certain point in the sigmoid colon. 8 weeks later I returned for another try at colonoscopy but the results were the same. A biopsy of the narrowed area showed only stricture. I needed a resection.

Operation: 8 days ago I had an elective, open sigmoid resection performed by a colorectal surgeon. The pathology showed no cancer and a severe stricture of the sigmoid colon. There were no intraoperative complications. No colostomy.

Let me take this opportunity to say I had more "advice" from friends, family, colleagues before surgery than i needed. Some said get an epidural, others said it contibutes to other problems post op. Some said to go to a surgeon that does these procedures laparoscopically. Others said it made no difference. My surgeon does not like epidurals and uses the q pump. Some said this is useless as an analgesic. In the end, I put my trust in the surgeon I selected and his years of experience. People try to help but at some point you just have to take "advice" with a grain of salt.

Post op:
Do your homework pre op! Inactivity is an enemy of the colon! In the post op period inactivity leads to ileus, a word that describes a bowel that has lost its motility and pain and distention occur. It is a setback you do not want. I knew it would be important to get out of bed ASAP and walk, walk, walk. I chewed gum constantly post op (studies have shown that chewing gum seems to enhance bowel motility post op). Pre op I mentally prepared myself to walk. I was out of the OR by 6pm and in my room by 11pm. At 9:30 the next morning I asked for help to get out of bed, brush my teeth, washed up, put shorts and a tee shirt on, and I walked in the halls for 50 minutes. There was discomfort, I went slow, but it was not agony by any means. I passed gas the second day after surgery and was discharged to home the third day after surgery. I was told there were no restrictions on my diet but to go slow, add fiber slowly, walk.

Once I was unplugged from my dilaudid PCA, q pump, and IV toradol and used only Percocet for pain, I dealt with a new level of pain but adjusted. Three days after being discharged, 6 days after surgery, my post op pain improved exponentially and I was pretty much off Percocet.

By anyone's measure, including mine, I have done extremely well. But there has been one issue: bowel movements. My first night home my bowels moved for the first time twice in the middle of the night. It was a nightmare. Watery diarrhea....evrywhere. We cleaned carpeting and did laundry twice that night...ie: no sleep all night. Then, no BMW at all for the next 4 days. Pass gas, yes. But no BM. Yesterday I had one BM, firm, difficult. My appetite has been low but I have had mostly soups, water. I have spoken to my surgeons office twice. I am going to begin a fiber supplement: Konsyl and make sure I get 64 ounces of water daily. I continue to walk.

So, that's where I am. I am confident that this will all iron out. This has been a life changing experience and I will continue to improve. For those of you facing surgery or recooperating from surgery: hang in there, work hard, be patient. We have had major surgery. Good luck. I will follow up in another couple weeks. I have 8 weeks off work.

 
Old 10-16-2012, 05:00 AM   #4
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 4
Quark17 HB User
Re: Things I Wish I'd Known About Recovering From Sigmoid Resection

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quark17 View Post
I appreciate the website and especially feedback left concerning sigmoid resection. It seems there are as many experiences as there are people who have had sigmoid resection. In case my feedback might be helpful to someone I offer my experience thus far.

diverticulitis history:

I have had episodes of diverticulitis since 2006. I had a normal screening colonoscopy 2 years ago. However, at that time, I reported to the gastroenterologist that I had been experiencing intermittent pencil thin stools. I am a health care provider and know this can be a symptom of colon cancer. Only diverticulosis was found and I was instructed to continue high fiber diet and return for colonoscopy in another 5 years. This year I had a bad episode of diverticulitis with bleeding and was admitted for a week. A colonoscopy was attempted but there was so much inflammation that even the smallest scope could not be advanced beyond a certain point in the sigmoid colon. 8 weeks later I returned for another try at colonoscopy but the results were the same. A biopsy of the narrowed area showed only stricture. I needed a resection.

Operation: 8 days ago I had an elective, open sigmoid resection performed by a colorectal surgeon. The pathology showed no cancer and a severe stricture of the sigmoid colon. There were no intraoperative complications. No colostomy.

Let me take this opportunity to say I had more "advice" from friends, family, colleagues before surgery than i needed. Some said get an epidural, others said it contibutes to other problems post op. Some said to go to a surgeon that does these procedures laparoscopically. Others said it made no difference. My surgeon does not like epidurals and uses the q pump. Some said this is useless as an analgesic. In the end, I put my trust in the surgeon I selected and his years of experience. People try to help but at some point you just have to take "advice" with a grain of salt.

Post op:
Do your homework pre op! Inactivity is an enemy of the colon! In the post op period inactivity leads to ileus, a word that describes a bowel that has lost its motility and pain and distention occur. It is a setback you do not want. I knew it would be important to get out of bed ASAP and walk, walk, walk. I chewed gum constantly post op (studies have shown that chewing gum seems to enhance bowel motility post op). Pre op I mentally prepared myself to walk. I was out of the OR by 6pm and in my room by 11pm. At 9:30 the next morning I asked for help to get out of bed, brush my teeth, washed up, put shorts and a tee shirt on, and I walked in the halls for 50 minutes. There was discomfort, I went slow, but it was not agony by any means. I passed gas the second day after surgery and was discharged to home the third day after surgery. I was told there were no restrictions on my diet but to go slow, add fiber slowly, walk.

Once I was unplugged from my dilaudid PCA, q pump, and IV toradol and used only Percocet for pain, I dealt with a new level of pain but adjusted. Three days after being discharged, 6 days after surgery, my post op pain improved exponentially and I was pretty much off Percocet.

By anyone's measure, including mine, I have done extremely well. But there has been one issue: bowel movements. My first night home my bowels moved for the first time twice in the middle of the night. It was a nightmare. Watery diarrhea....evrywhere. We cleaned carpeting and did laundry twice that night...ie: no sleep all night. Then, no BMW at all for the next 4 days. Pass gas, yes. But no BM. Yesterday I had one BM, firm, difficult. My appetite has been low but I have had mostly soups, water. I have spoken to my surgeons office twice. I am going to begin a fiber supplement: Konsyl and make sure I get 64 ounces of water daily. I continue to walk.

So, that's where I am. I am confident that this will all iron out. This has been a life changing experience and I will continue to improve. For those of you facing surgery or recooperating from surgery: hang in there, work hard, be patient. We have had major surgery. Good luck. I will follow up in another couple weeks. I have 8 weeks off work.
FOLLOW UP: Now 4 weeks post op
I feel great. BMs are normal for the first time in about 2 years. Post op discomfort is minimal. I have normal day activities but watch lifting anything to heavy still. Those pains I lived with almost daily are gone. I take the Konsyl fiber and eat plenty of fiber and drink at least 64 oz water daily. i figure when my urine becomes a darker yellow: time for more water. I have lost about 6 pounds total. I hope this helps someone. Take care.

 
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