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Old 08-11-2011, 07:19 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 8
Lightbulb Wife of Rectal Cancer/Colostomny Patient

My husband just under went surgery for rectal cancer last Friday and they were unable reconnect his colon to his rectum and opted for a temporary colostomy. This was his biggest fear before the surgery and was completely blown when he was informed the next day. My husband's surgery was a complicated one; it took almost 7 hours. The reason I am writing is because I am working triple time to keep him encouraged and optimistic about his situation and his future. So far I beleive I am doing a good job, but I would like advice from other patients that are living with the colostomy. My husband is 43 years old and full of male pride. I know he understands that the procedure was the best alternative and that he can plan for a reversale after completing any additional treatment but nothing is guaranteed. What are some of the challenges that I can be prepare for and how can I best help him deal/adjust/cope with his new reality?

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Old 08-11-2011, 05:13 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: durham NC
Posts: 17
FavoriteAuntL HB User
Re: Wife of Rectal Cancer/Colostomny Patient

First, hope and hugs for a recovery! The most challenging thing for me (and my hubby) was dealing with the ick-factor of having a colostomy. Having to empty it, clean it, change it...sigh. I was sent home from Duke Med with the most basic supplies. My life improved dramatically once i found a well informed ostomy nurse who took time to go thru all the options available for products.

After my recovery, chemo and radiation, they were able to reverse mine (20 months post surgery). There are challenges with that, too, but that is a question for another day.

My suggestion for you is to reassure hubby that you love him and his body - even with the colostomy and surgery scars. I really think it is easier for women to accept bodily changes (in ourselves or loved ones) since we deal with having a period, changing diapers, cleaning vomit, etc.

Also, it is VERY common to become lactose intolerant post treatment. Mine went undiagnosis for 2 years and caused me untold hours of frustration from nearly constant diarrhea.

Old 08-14-2011, 06:08 PM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 8
Re: Wife of Rectal Cancer/Colostomny Patient

Thanks AuntL, that is very helpful information. I am constantly working to keep him assured that he is still the same man he was presurgery. I have been right by his side through this entire process and will remain. One day at a time is our motto. I am looking for support groups and other information that will help us through this season in our lives.

Thanks again! I will seek the info on the reversale at another time

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