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Old 01-23-2007, 03:41 PM   #2
West Coast Girl
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 247
West Coast Girl HB User
Re: Rectal Cancer & TME

All of your father's issues are very normal. If it's only a week since surgery you really can't expect too much. It took me at least a month before I had any energy - and I mean it was even difficult to stand for a shower! I was in very good health and 51 years old. Your dad will probably have a longer recovery due to the treatments he had before surgery. I was in hospital for 7 days when I had my temporary loop ileo done (I now have a colostomy) but they let me out too soon as I was back in a day for 5 more days after a blockage. I was put on solid food too soon.

My surgery took 5 hours and was an open surgery. I lost 20 lbs. in 2 weeks and had no energy as anything I ate went through so quickly I wasn't absorbing any nutrients. It can take the body awhile to adjust to not having the colon hooked up.

The vocal cord issue is common as well as the tube that is in the throat for breathing during surgery can cause irritation.

Please don't rush liquids or food. It does take awhile for the intestines to start functioning after surgery. To put anything down there too soon will cause serious problems. The first thing that will happen to announce the intestine is working again are farts! They are right in suggesting walking. My sympathic nurse suggested I walk for 20 minutes then go back to bed with a warm pack on my tummy for 40 minutes then repeat. I did this numerous times until I started to pass gas. This was way easier than the NG tube! Always remember everyone's system responds differently and some people's bowels take longer than others to get going.

As for being informed about surgery it seems the norm that most people are not properly informed nor do they even know what questions to ask. I got way better info after my surgeries from internet support boards such as this one and another one for ostomies. As a result I now belong to a support group that has put together a patients' handbook for ostomies that we hope to get in the hands of people before surgery.

My best advice is please be patient and don't try to rush recovery. Once your dad is able to eat start slowly with soft, bland foods and lots of liquids. Make sure he chews everything very well and eats small meals throughout the day. A good liquid or chewable multi-vitamin is a good idea and if he seems too tired ask your doctor about a Vit. B-12 shot. You should receive diet recommendations from either the hospital nutritionist or the ET nurse. Try Googling for ostomy support boards to get excellent tips on managing ostomies and related issues.

I'm sure your dad will do just fine!

Last edited by West Coast Girl; 01-23-2007 at 03:43 PM.