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CAray 03-07-2010 12:22 PM

bowel resection surgery
[B]Hi All[/B]

I was not going to post here, but because this site helped me so much with my questions and fears before surgery, I thought I would document my own experience so others would have some idea of what to expect. My experiences and symptoms may not be what you are experiencing but the surgery may be quite similiar. I may post a few times to break the story up. Feel free to comment or ask questions!

[B]About me[/B]

I am a 56 year old single male in pretty good health. I have been a vegetarian for the past 23 years, not a vegan. I love pizza, cheese, panckes etc.. I just do not eat any meat, poultry or fish! Have no health problems and had not been in a hospital for over 30 years,the last being cartlidge removal in my knee from playing high school football that was done in 1970. I take no medications and aside from some arthritis, have had no other major health problems. I am 5'10 195lbs. For exercise I lift free weights, stretch and ride both a mountain bike and stationary bike. My occupation has me on my feet and moving constantly.

[B]What I Had Done[/B]

On February 25, 2010 at 12:30 pm I had a laproscopic hand assisted sigmoid colectomy due to diverticulitis which caused a fistula to form between my colon and my bladder. Twelve inches of my Sigmoid colon was removed. I had 3 incisions.....1 right through my belly button.approximately 4" long and 2 smaller incisions, one about an inch below the 4" cut and one about 3 inches to the the right side of my stomach. Both of the smaller incisions are about 2 inches long. All incisions were stapled shut. I was hospitalized for 6 days which included surgery

[B]My Story[/B]

In November of 2000 at age 46, I had my first colonoscopy due to some rectal bleeding I was having. Results of the tests were I had mild bleeding of hemmoroids and there were diverticula pouches found in my sigmoid intestine. I also had 9 small polyps that were removed and biopsied and found to be harmless or benign. When I met with my primary care doctor he briefly explained to me about what diverticula was, but not to worry, it doesnt usually flare up. Because of the polyps I was advised to have another colonoscopy done in 4-5years.

In December of 2004 at age 50, because of the earlier discovery of polyps, I had my second follow up colonoscopy done. Aside from having some very mild discomfort on the lower left of my stomach a few times I had no real problems. This procedure came up with 1 polyp and again the pouches of diverticula. The polyp was removed and found to be benign. I never changed my diet and continued on with my life.

In October of 2007 at age 53 I had my first attack of diverticulitis, although at the time I had no idea that was what it was. I was in a hotel on a business trip, it was about 2:00 am and I started to have SEVERE stomach pains and cramps. I actually thought I was having an appendix attack. Being the macho man that I think I am, I gritted it out for about an hour and a half and it finally subsided. It was pure hell!! The next day I felt somewhat better and wrote it off as something I must have ate! I never saw a doctor nor did I take any medication.

In June of 2009 at age 55 I had my second attack of diverticulitis. It was about 3:30am and again I woke up with SEVERE stomach pain and cramps. As I did before, I decided to grit it out and wait until it passed. (yes I am an idiot!) This time the pain did not stop so I got up and drove myself to the nearest emergency room at about 5:30am. While in the emergency room my pain started to subside somewhat and by the time they were ready to admit me I decided to leave the hospital after being given some medication for stomach spasms. The attending physician wanted to start me on IV and take some x-rays, but because I was not sure what was covered by my insurance and not wanting to get a $10,000.00 medical bill after it was all said and done, I decide not to let them admit me. I went home and laid in bed until I saw my primary care doctor later that day who started me on the Flagyl/Cipro medication for 2 weeks and ordered a cat scan. He also sent me to a Gastrologist who looked at the cat-scan and said I had a bout of diverticulitis. After about a week of suffering I went back to work and eventually life as normal. My diet was basically unchanged except for thae fact I stopped eating popcorn. I didn't mention this before, but I LOVE popcorn and would eat it almost nightly. Some say seeds,nuts popcorn etc.. do not cause attacks while others say avoid them. I decided to avoid them since both attacks occurred while I had been eating popcorn.

On December 24 2009 I was feeling a little tenderness on my left side but nothing that caused me to be alarmed or panic. Actually I had the tenderness for a few days prior. That evening as I was urinating and just as I was about to finish a flow of air came out of my penis at the end. It sounded like my penis had actually flatuated? I was freaked out! I immediately went online and googled "air while urinating" and every explanation came up with only 3 causes for this!
1. Bacteria in bladder that causes gas. Related to Diabetics only and you are usually very ill.
2. Having a foley catheter or cystoscopy done recently.
3.Fistula between colon and bladder, due to diverticultis infection/abcesses.
This causes your intestine to leak into your bladder. Fortunately for me, I had only a tiny perforation and was only having small amounts of gas passing into my bladder.

Well quess which one I figured it was since I did not have the first 2 symptoms?

The next day I was visiting family who lived 2 hours away from my home, so I went to an urgent care center there and saw a doctor who told me after taking a urine sample that I had quite a bit of e-coli traces in my urine and prescribed 500mg of cipro for 10 days. I still had not had a bout of diverticulitis so I ate my X-mas dinner and went home the next day. I scheduled an appointment with my physician that week and when I saw him he seemed to think it was a bacterial infection and to finish the medication. I knew it could only be one of the three things I had previously mentioned and told him so. He said lets wait and see. Screw that, I should have insisted on going to a gastrologist, because it took another month of passing air in my urine, constant 24/7 doses of Flagyl-Cipro-Bactrim and pain in my left side before they finally sent me for another cat scan, colonoscopy and to a Urologist to finally come up with a diagnosis of Colovesical Fistula as a result of Diverticulitis. Wow, I told them that 6 weeks earlier, but did anyone listen?

On February 14 I met with my Surgeon and was scheduled for surgery on Feb 25.

CAray 03-07-2010 01:58 PM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis
[B]The Surgery[/B]

[B]Pre-op Day Tuesday Feb 23[/B]

On Feb 22 I reported to the hospital for a pre-op. For those of you who are new to surgery like I was, I will explain what happened this day. After going over all the paper work about insurance,liabilities the procedure and what to expect before and after surgery, you will be given some tests. I had blood drawn, a EKG heart check and a chest x-ray. All in all in took about an hour and a half and I was gone.

[B]Day before Surgery Wednesday Feb 24[/B]

On Feb 24 this was the fun bowel cleaning day. After drinking the prep mix and sitting on the toilet for most of the day, I almost couldn't wait for this to be done and over

[B]Surgery Day Thursday Feb 25[/B]

I arrived at the hospital at 11:15, went to the front desk and was taken to the pre-surgery area. This is where you remove all your clothes, put on a gown and then they put you on a gurney/rolling bed and place you in a room with others waiting to go to surgery. Here they put in your Intravenous and run some tests,blood pressure,temp etc.. Also your Surgeon and the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist will talk with you. Your family or friends can come and sit with you until your surgery time. I was fortunate that my surgery which was scheduled for 12:30 was only delayed for an additional 20 minutes. I have heard of other people having to wait for hours because of some complications either with the surgery before them or doctors being late or whatever else can pop up.

At !2:50 I was taken to the surgery room. There was my Surgeon, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, the surgeons assistant and a nurse. I remember them helping me to slide off the gurney onto the opertaing table and that was the last thing I remember.

My operation took 2.5 hours and I woke up in the recovery room. I was still too out of it too feel much pain. After they felt I was awake enough they took me to my room where my family was waiting. I had a private room which was nice too! I got to the room about 5:00pm and was hooked up to IV's and a foley catheter to relieve my bladder. I was allowed to sip some ice chips because my mouth was so dry, but within an hour or so I started to become very nauseated and wanted to vomit. I was told that this was probably the result of the anathesia and they gave me a shot in my IV for the nausea. I was still nauseated an hour later so this time they gave me a shot in my a** and that helped. Believe it or not I asked if I could get up and walk and they let me walk the hall at 9:30 that night with help from the nurse. I had read here that the sooner you get up and move the better off you will heal, thats why I wanted to move as soon as possible. It was painful but not as bad as I thought it would be. I was receiving pain medication by iv every 6 hours. I never had a pain pump. Couldn't sleep much that night but it wasn't from pain, just couldn't sleep.

[B]Post-op-Day 1-Friday Feb 26[/B]

I was put on a liquid diet this morning. Water, jello, broth juices etc... I got up 3 times and walked today. Very painful trying to sit up but once I was up and walking I felt much better. Not much happenned today although I did ask my doctor for some sleep medication which he prescribed (Ambien/injected).

I still did not sleep for more than 2-3 hours at a time. I was really suprised at the lack of intense pain I was experiencing. It really wasnt that bad. The most annoying part of it all was the catheter they kept in me. Normally this would have been removed after surgery,but because of the fistula I had, my doctor did not want any pressure on my bladder so they kept the catheter in.

Oh, get ready for the nurses to wake you up at 4;30 in the morning to draw blood..??? No kidding, I would sometimes just be getting back to sleep and boom, there was the nurse!

CAray 03-07-2010 05:42 PM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis
[B]Post-Op-Day 2-Saturday Feb 27[/B]

Still did not get a good nights sleep even with the shot of Ambien. I am now having some extra pain as I think things are waking up down there. I am allowed shots of Dilaudid every 2 hours as needed. I am currently getting shots of Toridal every 6 hours but found that the shot of Dilaudid helps me go back to sleep in the middle of the night.

I am still on a liquid diet. Food is delivered at 7:00am breakfast-12:00pm lunch and 5:00pm dinner. As of 2:00pm this afternoon I still had not passed any gas or had a bowel movement and my stomach was now distending and I was getting super bloated and it was getting painful. My doctor visited soon after, checked out my stomach and canceled my liquid diet and put me back on IV. He ordered X-rays for the next morning to be sure nothing was going on and they gave me a shot of medication to stimulate my bowels. The rest of the night I still did not pass any gas and my stomach was stilled bloated. Needless to say sleep wasn't great either! Although in pain I still got up and walked the halls of the ward 2 times that day. Slow as a turtle! Oh, I had that damn catheter still in, had to drag that with me.

[B]Post-op-Day 3-Sunday Feb 28[/B]

At about 7:30 this morning I finally passed a little gas. Time to celebrate!! They brought a gurney in about 8:00 am and took me to x-ray which eventually showed nothing wrong except for a lot of gas build up. I continued to hear rumblings and movement in my stomach and started to pass enough gas that by 3:00 pm later that day they took me back off IV and started me on liquids again. I walked the halls every few hours and this time I walked the ward twice each time, I cannot stress enough how this helps you heal quicker and although you may hurt a bit walking, you feel so much better when you get back to your bed. I did my normal Toridal injections and continued with the Ambien and Dilaudid at night to sleep. Getting in and out of bed was still painful but I have to tell you, it wasn't that bad and it was getting better everyday. I had not passed any more gas since earlier in the day and had some concern about that.

[B]Post-op-Day 4-Monday March 1[/B]

Started a soft food diet at lunch today and also for dinner. Walked the halls again today and was actually feeling better. By 6:00 pm that evening and shortly after dinner I started to bloat up again and had not passed gas or anything since yesterday. My doctor, who always made night visits came in again, listened to what was happenning and he ordered an injection to help my bowels move. Throughout the night I could feel rumblings and action going on down there and started feeling better. Ahhh...they finally removed the catheter today. I did the usual Ambien/Dilaudid combo and still really never slept well.

CAray 03-07-2010 09:28 PM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis
[B]Post-op-Day 5-Tuesday March 2-Going Home[/B]

Turned out to be a good night after all. Had a bowel movement early in the morning which made me feel great. Nothing but diahrea but passing anything at this point was reason for joy and comfort in my mind. I stayed on a soft diet that day and was later released that night around 7:00 pm. Very tired by the time I got time home.

[B]To Sum it up[/B]

I wrote this from a log I kept while in the hospital. I have been home now for 5 days and approximately 10 days since my surgery. I have not taken any pain medication at all since I have gotten home. I drove my car, did some shopping and cleaned up some small stuff I had around the house 2 days after I got home. I cannot tell you how great it feels to feel good again. I eat small meals and take care to rest when I tire. I am having fairly good bowel movements and am taking some stool softeners to keep my system moving.

When I was first told that I needed to have surgery this is where I came to get my answers. I was fearful of having surgery and had no idea what to expect. If you are having bad bouts of Diverticulitis and are facing surgery, I understand how you feel, but I am here to tell you that for me it wasn't that bad at all. Sure there were the times of pain, sleepless nights and other unpleasant episodes but once its done and over and you start to heal it's amazing how glad you are that you did it and you forget all the bad times.

I will post an update in a few days. Good luck to you all!!

Marilyn711 03-12-2010 11:06 PM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis
Rayvalde - so glad to hear your surgery went smoothly and you are healing so quickly without any complications.

I just got home from a 4 day hospital stay for an acute divert flare with a small perforation. I have had on again off again pains for the past 7 yrs which would resolve on their own. My surgeon and GI MDs thought it might be beneficial to have a resection to prevent this from occurring again as next time I might have a full rupture with the area now weakened. I think I am in agreement. Stilll not feeling good, fever is down but still pain and weak. I have similar bladder pains as you but the CT they said did not show a fistula.

I am to have a colonoscopy in 6 wks to determine how to proceed. Thanks for posting your story as it is encouraging.,

jenj770 03-13-2010 08:40 AM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis
I have had 4 diverticulitis attacks in a year. I'm scheduled to see the surgeon next week to schedule a resection. I'm feeling quite a bit of trepidation but at this point there is no alternative. I'm hoping they can do it laprascopically and that there are no complications.

CAray 03-13-2010 09:02 AM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis
Hi Marilyn,

I am sorry to hear you are not feeling well. I know how your feeling because it took 2 months for me to go from attack to actual surgery and I went through a lot of pain,weakness and nausea from the constant barrage of antibiotics and bland diet. The bladder pain you mention is something I had during my second attack of diverticulis even before I was diagnosed with the fistula. My gastrologist stated the bladder sometimes gets irritated as a result of the divert attacks. I never had any burning while urinating but my bladder would just hurt and feel sore when I did urinate. I was given the prescription Bactrim to combat that.

It has now been 16 days post op for me. I went to my surgeon 2 days ago and had my staples taken out.

Since my surgery and after arriving home I have been feeling pretty good. I have since realized that you have to take it easy and not do too much although you feel better. I over did it when I first got home and paid for it with a lot of soreness in the sutured area. I have also had some cramping one day and it put a scare into me but my surgeon said that was to be expected as my intestines are still healing. I also still have pain in my bladder when I urinate but I did have the fistula and the catheter was in for 5 days so I expect that to be sore for a while. It seems to be getting better as the days go by.

All in all I am eating well, feeling good and each day feels better than the one before.

Marilyn..try and stay positive and not worry about the operation should you have to have one. I spent so many nights fearing this surgery and thinking of all the worst things that could happen that I wasted a lot of precious time and stress for nothing. It really wasn't that bad! :-) This is a common surgery done daily and hopefully you can get it done by the laproscopic procedure. I will be updating this post every few months so others can see my progression and give them some idea what to expect. Take care and post an update here if you like after your colonoscopy. If there is anything else I can answer for you, just post here. In the meantime, I wish you the best!!

CAray 03-13-2010 09:22 AM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis

After 4 attacks I would say you definitely should get the surgery done before you have a major perforation and end up in the Er.

As you can see by my other posts, don't worry about the surgery and stay positive. I know that it's hard to do but take it from me, I just went through the worry and anxiety you are going through now and it was not warranted. The surgery went well and all in all I am glad I did it and will you be glad you did too!

I wish the best for you and don't worry, it will be ok!


jenj770 03-13-2010 09:53 AM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis
Hi Ray and thanks for the pep talk. I need it!

I actually was hospitalized twice out of the 4 episodes, the last hospitalization was in December, then another attack 2 weeks ago for which I'm still on abx.

Thanks for the detailed reporting on your experience. I know that if they go in and find I cannot have the laprascopic surgery it will be a different story though. I just hope not too different! In the meantime, I do try to not stress but not always successful.

Thanks again,


Marilyn711 03-20-2010 09:08 PM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis
Saw my surgeon on Thurs and due to ongoing continued pain he ordered another CT. Nothing went right w that as they couldnt find a vein for the contrast and the barium drink gave me terrible diahhrea. He wants me to have a barium enema with air around 3rd week of April and then surgery will be around first week of May. Sounds like that barium enema/air series test isnt any better than a colonoscopy or worse as still have to do the prep and they give ya a barium enema and then fill your colon w air. That sounds like more torture. Wish this thing wasnt so drawned out. :(

CAray 03-23-2010 07:46 AM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis
Hi Marilyn,

I had no trouble with the CT so I didn't have to have the barium drink. Hopefully someone else has had to go this route and can help you with some more info on where you can go from here. Are you on anti-biotics while this is all going on? You said you had a recent CT scan how long ago was that? While my system was infected I did have a CT and it showed everthing including the fistula, just curious as to why your CT did not show that area down there in more detail. They kept me on antibiotics until they decided it had died down enough for me to have the colonoscopy which was about 2 weeks after the scat. I never did a barium test at all. It must be tough to have to wait so long to get this issued resolved. I think for me the worst part was waiting to get the surgery over with and after 2 months of antibiotics I was ready for it!

Hopefully someone can get back to you here with some info. In the interim, I hope this gets resolved for you soon.

my best, Ray

libloom 03-23-2010 10:22 AM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis

I had a barium enema done prior to my addition to a CT scan.

In your case, it doesn't seem like you have a choice as they weren't able to administer the contrast for your CT scan. Sorry to hear there are numerous ways to insert an IV for a hard stick like you. Did they call in the IV team to give it a try?

Nevertheless, the barium enema wasn't all that bad. I had myself all worked up and made it thru just fine. Just lots of pressure....take long, deep breaths
and focus on something happy! I viewed the results of the enema with my surgeon on the computer within a half hour of the test and those pictures are what convinced me that I absolutely needed to move forward with my re-section ASAP. I saw a very diseased large portion of colon.

Much better to go into this surgery with some control over the situation....not as an emergency.

Good luck,

Marilyn711 04-21-2010 01:30 PM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis

It has been a while since I posted. The CT actually did show another flare up and have been on antibiotics for a while but not off. I had the barium with air which was the worst test I have ever done I would gladly take 2 colonoscopies instead. Anyhow I see my surgeon on the 27th as he is on vacation. The barium E was just to tell give him info about how much to remove or something like that.

Did you have an NG tube following surgery? (nasogastric). I am hoping that wont be necessary.

Hope all is well w everyone

Mizz 05-08-2010 12:26 PM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis

It has been a while since I posted. The CT actually did show another flare up and have been on antibiotics for a while but not off. I had the barium with air which was the worst test I have ever done I would gladly take 2 colonoscopies instead. Anyhow I see my surgeon on the 27th as he is on vacation. The barium E was just to tell give him info about how much to remove or something like that.

Did you have an NG tube following surgery? (nasogastric). I am hoping that wont be necessary.

Hope all is well w everyone[/QUOTE]

Hello to whomever,I hope all is going well.

I'm due to have a resection on May 21st. I have had to go and give blood twice now for my upcomming surgery, I have also had all my pretesting done. As I sit here now I am in pain. My fear is,when I'm in pain, I will wait too long. And then the pain eases up for a day or so and I think ,do I need it at all. I was in the hospital for 14 days in July 2009, then again this april for another 5 with an attact of extreme pain on my lower left side.
While I'm reading all these posts I am somewhat relieved at the same time scared out of my wits. I have had several surgeries and with every one of them I have had a bad outcome. Maybe I am going thru the worst of it now. Although I am really scared I am looking forward to being pain free and going out to dinner with my family without the fear of having to race to the bathroom.

This may sound a little crass and maybe mean of me but I sure glad somone else is having the same problems I have. I guess it ain't all in my head after all.

Marilyn, While the CT you had was not pleasent I know,I'm not sure I know what this NG tube is all about.I have never heard of it. I surly hope you do well.

libloom 05-08-2010 12:42 PM

Re: bowel resection surgery/diverticulitis
An NG (nasogastric) tube is placed while you're asleep (down your nose and into your stomach) and is pretty much normal protocol for any sort of colon surgery. It's done to prevent severe nausea post-op. I think they pulled mine (I woke up with it in) early morning the day after my re-section.

I did feel somewhat nauseated after it was removed...but took long, deep breaths until it passed. No big's tolerable. What you don't want is to have it removed too soon and then placed again while awake. Not very comfortable, I understand.

Good luck with your upcoming surgery!

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