Monday, February 19, 2007

Home Recovery from Bowel Resection Surgery

I have created a separate blog on Bowel Resection Home Recovery. I have a recurrence of colo/rectal cancer and am starting to record early. If you wish to go to the new blog please go to http://bowelresectionhomerecover.blogspot.com/

May 30, 2011

The ABC’s of Bowel Resection Recovery @ Home

I did not make an exhaustive search of the internet concerning home recovery after bowel resection surgery. Most of what I found were what to expect after surgery but while still in the hospital. I wished I had some information on the recovery after you left the hospital and were home. I did have support from a sister who had uterine cancer, but that is not a bowel resection, she could only tell me so much. I had a niece and daughter that had a hysterectomy but once again not a bowel resection.
One thing my support group did get through to me was be patient it will take a long time before you start feeling well, food will not taste the same and your stamina will be very poor. All of those things were true. They warned me about elevated anxiety that was to prove accurate. Other than relatives I could not find actual experience concerning issues I may encounter while recovering at home.
I decided to write about my own experience and perhaps it might help others who undergo the major surgical procedure called bowel resection.
I am writing this at the end of week 5 after surgery. I just did not have the motivation or inspiration to write it earlier, so I may leave out some details but I believe those details will be minor.

About the Author:

I am a white male, 62 years of age. I take medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arrhythmia, and am a Type II diabetic, In addition I do encounter episodes of Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVC’s) although infrequently. Sounds like I am not doing so well but actually I consider myself in pretty good shape. My problems are under control and I do exercise regularly. I am also a recovering alcoholic with over twenty years sobriety, and I quite smoking thirty years ago.
I was required to see a cardiologist prior to surgery to assess my ability to withstand the procedure. The cardiologist perform EKG tests and an Echo Cardiogram and found no evidence of blockage, I passed the stress test with flying colors and was OK’d for surgery.

About the Surgery

Surgery went well. The suspicious mass found in the Colonoscopy was down low in my large colon. The Doctor attempted laparoscopic surgery but ended up having to use the traditional surgical technique of opening the abdomen. So my stay in the hospital was 6 – 7 days instead of 4 – 5. If you want to read about recovery in the hospital go to Google and search under Bowel Resection you will find several sites that give you the check list of things the hospital staff do to aid in your recovery. Remember, each hospital is a little different and all surgeons do not do things exactly the same ways so don’t be concerned if you don’t see certain things you read about being done. However, ask questions.

We are not alike

Everyone of is different. Our bodies will react differently, however much of what we experience will be similar. I do not pretend to suggest that what you read below you will experience. You may however, experience similar events and draw knowledge and/or comfort from knowing that you were not alone.

Anger

Often when I am uncomfortable I want to be left alone. Remember that people around you do not know the level of discomfort you feel. It is easy to feel that you want people to do things for you but you do not wish to talk, you can’t have it both ways. People who are around need to try to understand your level of discomfort, by the same token you need to practice a little patience.

Anxiety

I was told that anxiety is part of major surgery.
My first bout with anxiety was in the hospital. Having found out the growth was malignant but caught very early didn’t really ease my mind. I think the anxiety comes from a combination of anesthesia; the pain you encounter and the fact that you realize you are dependent on a group of people for your needs. Perhaps a little of having to come to grips with your own mortality again is part of the equation.
Don’t hide that you are fearful. It is a common occurrence. I would tell the nurses when I was afraid, sometimes they were able to help me, sometimes just being their eased my fear. When I came home I would get these anxious moments. Some people are sleepers, in other words when they feel bad they are able to put their heads down and go to sleep. I am not, I stay awake, my mind seems to take its own lead and I can become quite anxious. One other thing, pain medication may give you freedom from pain, but it does not necessarily allow you to rest. I got wired (high) and had a real hard time falling asleep.
Make sure your Family Doctor is aware of your surgery. Surgeons know little of anti-anxiety drugs while Family Doctors deal with anxiety a lot. If you experience anxious moments call the Family Doctor, he may be able to help. (See the section on Drugs for additional information of anxiety.)

Bowels

My bowels were cut on, they did not like it. They were trying to figure out the new operating methods with a loss of direction. It took three days at home, nine days after surgery before I had my first bowel movement. I was eating soft, bland foods I am sure that contributed to the time lapse. The Surgeon had told me to go ahead and resume my normal diet when I got home, HA!
First of all food doesn’t taste good. You might like Peach Cobbler, but it won’t taste the same. My appetite was almost nonexistent. I had lost twenty pounds in the hospital and continued to lose at home.
I will tell you this; your bowels apparently failed basic high school physics. They are unable to tell the difference between solids and gases. Early on at home I would have a bowel movement and the stool would slip out. Very little strain, it was like the way was greased and out it came. The problem was I would go a little a lot. The first few weeks I would end up sitting on the commode fifteen to twenty times a day. Sometimes I could go, other times I could not, however I felt the need to go almost constantly. Even after five weeks I have some trouble.
Panty Liners: Yes that’s right Panty Liners. My wife made the suggestion. It seems that I suffered from leakage of some sort. I am working my way through my second box of Carefree Body Shape Long (46 liners). They have an adhesive that allows you to attach them to your underwear. I am wearing briefs. Sometimes I have a bowel movement, some times I have gas, sometimes I get a little of both. In addition I get some leakage apparently when I pass gas. Either use panty liners or stock up on underwear and be prepared to change often.
Some other difficulties:
1. I experience the feeling like I had to go to the bathroom often, early on in some cases almost constantly. Most of the time it was a false alarm, but the problem was I could not differentiate between the real thing and a false alarm.
2. Hang fires, these are very uncomfortable. You feel like you have to have a BM (bowel movement) So you sit on the commode, sure enough a stool comes, problem is you cannot void the entire stool and it breaks off leaving you with an incomplete BM. Your muscle tone is such that you cannot void the remaining stool. So you are left with this constant feeling of having to go, but you can’t. It is uncomfortable as hell, however within a hour it will pass. Be patient. In the meantime you walk around with a constant straining feeling. (Oh well at this stage of your recovery what else were you going to do, play tennis?)
3. Rabbit pellets: Sometimes you will feel like you really have to go, when you sit on the commode a stool the size of a rabbit pellet comes out and that’s all. It is not really uncomfortable, just disappointing.
4. Lost confidence: This is a term my Dad used when he had diarrhea. I come from a family where passing gas, breaking wind, farting is a normal humorous event. I have spent untold hours laughing over this topic. It ain’t funny in recovery. I normally do not encounter stomach problems, but now my stomach bloats quite often. Sometimes I can pass gas to relieve the symptoms. However, quite often I’m not sure what is going to happen, sometimes I pass gas sometimes it feels like a little stool came along for the ride. Go check. I have also had to hurry to the “john” trying to hold the event in only to pass gas in spite of all my cheek clenching.
It gets better. I am coming to the end of week five since surgery. My bowels are still not settled, however I am having longer periods of freedom from feeling like I have to go. I am still wearing Panty Liners though, and still experience some type of leakage, but I am growing more confident.

Care

I was fortunate. My wife took off two weeks from work so she could stay with me through recovery in the hospital and the first week at home. Our daughter is a surgical nurse for a hospital in our area and was in between jobs so between she and my wife I had twenty-four hour coverage the first week while I was in the hospital. In addition, because of her surgical background she could shed light on the operation, but not much on the recovery If you've heard the term patient advocate, I suggest you have a relative with you at all times in the hospital to look out for your care. .
I recommend you make some provisions for care at home during the first week or two. Obviously the hospital has professional care givers on duty around the clock. However, you have to remember they are caring for a number of patients, not just you. You can have a problem that in your mind requires immediate attention and having someone there for you helps.
At home, you will need help. Your abdomen is sore, you feel like hell, your bowels are giving you grief and there is nothing enjoyable about the first week or two, or more. Having someone to help you or just listen to you bitch the first week is helpful.

Dehydration

When I left the hospital a few of the nurses reminded me to drink plenty of water. At home my stomach was so upset I drank soda to try and burp and relieve the gas build up, I finally became so sick I drank little at all. At the beginning of week four after surgery my daughter who is an LPN on a Medical/Surgical floor of a hospital up north came to visit. She performed a patient assessment and during a simple what is called pinch test she felt I was dehydrated. This was on a Sunday morning after I had been through three days of being really sick at my stomach all day long. I felt so bad I was ready to go back to the hospital. After my daughter decided I was dehydrated and began reading me the symptoms of clinical dehydration a lot my symptoms were covered in her information. I began to drink water. A lot of water, within hours the symptoms started to let up, the upset stomach went away, my appetite improved, and my tolerance for my somewhat spicy pizza was OK.
The message is drink lots of water. I now have breakfast, drink a little coffee then about 10:00 AM I start sipping a large glass of water and have it with me throughout the day. I don’t know how much water I take in, but it is a hell of lot more than I did before. I perform the little pinch test on the back of your hand to see of the skin tents or snaps back down. If the skin tents slightly instead of returning to its original position immediately you could be dehydrated. After increasing my water intake my hands look better, less wrinkled than before. So drink lots of water.

Drugs

When I came home from the hospital I should have waited some time, maybe up to a day before I took any pain medication. The reason: to ascertain the level of pain I was encountering. I found out from a pharmacist that drugs flush out from your body in a half life. In other words, if a physician says the drugs should flush out in four hours, what that means is one half of the drug level will flush out in four hours. For example, you may lose the pain fighting capability of a drug in four hours, but the drug isn’t gone so you could end up with a drug build up lasting longer than anticipated. One other thing, usually the Doctor prescribes the pain killer to be taken as needed, put as much time between pills as you can stand.
This is why I recommend you determine the level of pain you are experiencing. Reason: when you in the hospital you will have had access to some pretty powerful pain killing drugs. Plus you will have a PCA, which is device with which you can administer your own pain killing drugs on command, within reason. You may not be aware of your level of pain because you and the nurses kept it disguised while in the hospital.
I have a fairly high tolerance for pain. I made a mistake though and just kept on taking the pain pills at home without understanding what the side effects were and whether or not I really needed them. The instructions for my pain pills were every four hours as needed. That means do not take them less often than four hours, but take them as needed, and I never let them flush out to see if I needed them. This led to a nasty experience.
When I first arrived home I started taking the pain pills without waiting to see if I really needed them. The pills were the generic form of Lortab 500 MG. The first few days I felt pretty good, I wanted to talk to people, I wrote emails, I acted just like I did when I drank, exuberant, sentimental, and quite emotional. Our daughter pointed out that I was “wired.” Later in the week I started encountering spells of anxiousness. As the weekend approached I decided to get on the program of taking these pain pills every four hours. I grew increasingly anxious and fearful. Finally on Sunday morning at 3:00 AM I took a pill and tried to lie down. Within fifteen minutes I jumped out of bed and began pacing the floor, wringing my hands and telling my wife I was so afraid I did not know what to do. I was exhausted because the drugs were not letting me sleep any more than four hours a night and now I was so afraid of laying down and not waking up I couldn’t sleep. It was not a pretty scene.
About 4:00 AM I went down stairs and got the drug monograph and read about the side effects. There was one section that said, “Notify your physician immediately if your experience any of the following: Anxiety, Fear, Shallow Breathing.” The reason I was so fearful was that when I lay down it seemed difficult to breath.
I stopped taking the drugs. Further research lead to no satisfactory resolution to my problem by calling the Surgeon on Duty at the clinic performing my surgery. In fact the Surgeon on call said he doubted the pain pills caused the anxiety. Finally after waiting for the local Wal*Mart to open a Pharmacist on duty said the drugs could definitely cause fear and anxiety. He was no help in suggesting an alternative, but he was the person who explained drug half-life to me. Finally calling my Family Doctor’s new clinic he joined got me a Doctor who did a mea culpa. This Doctor suggested a natural sleep remedy OTC (Over The Counter) and would not prescribe something else as it would just be adding another drug. I was in trouble, exhausted, sick, sore and needed help.
Later Sunday I took some Benadryl that helped me sleep but that left me feeling drugged, nauseous, and lethargic. At least I got some sleep.
Daily I was having an upset stomach with nausea. The Benadryl induced sleep was not good, I felt lethargic and the rest was not satisfying.
Finally on Friday I went to the Family Clinic my normal Doctor was at, but had to see another physician. He prescribed some Phenergan for nausea, Lunesta as a sleep aid, and Nexium to prevent a stress ulcer in my stomach. These helped. The nausea subsided by getting off the Benadryl, I was able to sleep at night with the aid of Lunesta, and I guess the Nexium was doing its thing.
Sleep aids can cause dependency. The prescribing Doctor told me to take a Lunesta before bed for the first week, then go to bed and sleep. I did that, and it worked. The second week he asked that I try to go to sleep without Lunesta, but if I did not fall asleep within half and hour to take a pill and go to bed. I found that I did not have to take Lunesta again. I only took two Phenergan because I was not experiencing severe nausea as I had been. However, I was still encountering an upset stomach almost every morning.
Finally, two weeks later I did go see my regular Family Doctor, and was it good to see an old friend. This Doctor had me continue the Nexium, he felt that was a good idea. In addition he prescribed Flomax because I was experiencing frequent urination. When I say frequent I mean like every half hour or so. He also gave me a 0.5 MG pill that was the generic Xanax. I got a stern warning not to use these pills regularly. They were just to be used when I had an anxious moment and no more. In over a week I have taken one of these pills, it was good, but I really don’t even want to take another. One problem the Doctor did uncover was I have a slight urinary tract or bladder infection. This can result from the use of a catheter in the hospital. I am taking a generic from of CIPRO, an anti-biotic, that leaves you light headed and a little dizzy for a few days as your body adjusts to the medication. It is a fourteen day drug regime and I am completing day four. Already though I notice a difference when I have to urinate, the pain is lessened, the stream is stronger, and it doesn’t burn when I go.
My Advice: Read the drug monographs concerning the drug you are taking. For example, when I take Nexium I’m not supposed to ingest any food for an hour after taking. The anti-biotic doesn’t work well in the presence of milk. The Doctor’s don’t tell you this. It is worth the time to have the Pharmacist at your local drugstore explain the side effects. I have found Doctors to be unreliable in drug interaction.

Drugs I have taken during home recovery

Nexium 40 MG Capsule: The Family Doctor recommended I take this medication for a couple of months. I guess being a Type II diabetic and with the type of surgery I might be at risk for some type of ulcer. The Doctor said I might get a metallic taste in my mouth, and I do.
Hydroco/APAP10-500MG Capsule: The pain pill. Make sure your are aware of the side effects, and like I said, I wish I had not taken any at first to see what level of pain I was at. If you can get by without, that’s my recommendation.
Promethazine 25MG Tablet: Generic for Phenergan. I have only taken two of these pills. I took them when my stomach was extremely upset. If I could deal with the upset I did, but twice I took the pill and it worked well.
Lunesta 3MG Tablet: I was prescribed 30 pills and told to take them at bedtime for the first week. After one week I was to try to go to sleep without them. I only needed them the first week.
Alprzolam 0.5MG Tablet: Generic for Xanax. I was having anxious moments, especially late at night that interrupt sleep. My Family Doctor warned me to use these pills sparingly as you can form a dependency. In a week I have only taken 1 pill. The fact that I have them provides about as much comfort as taking the pill does.
Ciprofloxacn 500MG: Generic for Cipro. A slight bladder/urinary tract infection was detected so this anti-biotic was prescribed. You have to take two pills a day for fourteen days. You do have to watch your dairy product intake as it can effect the effectiveness of the pills. Once again, read the directions. This pill is having some effect on my body, the first day I was light headed and I experienced bloating. The drug is working, the pain I was encountering when I urinated has diminished.
Flomax 0.4 MG Capsule: I was urinating often. The first couple of weeks at home it seemed like every half hour, even at night. The Doctor prescribed this medication to lessen the frequency. It seems to be working, but I am drinking a lot of water to aid the anti-biotic so I might be my own worst enemy.

Exercise

I have always had the attitude that you need to exercise some. I am not a fitness buff, I’d like to be but I seem to lack the discipline. However, recovery will be aided if you will just start walking. I have a small home, my first walking track was around the living room and kitchen. Many times I did this because my stomach became upset while eating, but other times I just walked a few laps.
The Doctor’s will tell you that it stimulates the digestive system, and it does. Within the first week I walked around our circular driveway. I will say this, you will push too hard. I cannot over emphasize the lack of stamina you will encounter. I took this attitude, today I walked one lap, and tomorrow I’ll walk two. You will find that sometimes you cannot walk at all because you might encounter one of those half-step back days. Those are days that you did a little too much the day before and now feel like hell.
Walking is important. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and I think helps your body reestablish a baseline sense of normalcy.

Food

The Surgeon told me when I left the hospital to resume my normal diet. I couldn’t, I was encountering an upset stomach daily and had to force myself to eat because I knew I needed the nourishment. Spicy foods aggravated the stomach upset and brought about bouts of gas build up that I could not expel. I could not even manage a good fart, and me who enjoys it so much. I drank sodas to prime the pump so to speak, in other words the carbonation encouraged me to burp, it did work some, sometimes not. I still have a bloating problem five weeks past the surgery. However, I also might have a Gall Bladder problem that is causing the frequent upset stomach. I exhibit some symptoms, plus the CT Scan as part of a pre-surgery check revealed I do have Gall stones. Taking everything into account it is difficult for me to say the upset stomach is from surgery; too many possible contributing factors. Just don’t over do the food, I don’t think it will be a problem; you won’t have much of an appetite for the first four weeks.
Be forewarned though, food will not taste the same for as long as four weeks after surgery. I have some favorite dishes that we tried and nothing tasted as I remembered it.

Gas

Before I could go home from the hospital I had to pass gas. I think what they are looking for is that your digestive system kicks into gear. It does have to be restarted after surgery. Warning, if you think your farts don’t smell just wait. I used to be a drinker and I thought beer farts were bad, hell after surgery I almost got up and left the room. It does ease off in about a week.
However I do suffer quite often from bloating that I don’t seem to get rid of right away. As I said I have been diagnosed with Gall Stones so my Family Doctor thinks that could be contributing to the stomach discomfort.

Hemorrhoid

I hope you don’t have one. I have been occasionally bothered by a hemorrhoid through the years. Usually it is no big deal, a little Preparation H and within a day or so I’m fine. However, when your bowels ain’t happy, your hemorrhoid ain’t happy. The second day home I pushed my little friend. The problems was I was going a little a lot, therefore I had plenty of opportunity to piss my little friend off. When I was first home I called my Doctor’s nurse, who are great people to befriend by the way, and asked what I could do. I was told it was too close to the surgical date and that try Vaseline or some such, but no ointments that could shrink tissue. My little friend hurt like hell, especially when I would have to sit on the commode, which was often.
Two weeks after surgery the nurse told me to go ahead and use Preparation H. My little friend did not shrink down, but at least the pain left. After five weeks now, the pain is gone, he is still there, but is showing signs of going back into hiding. It was a miserable period. So make sure early on you don’t push too hard to have a bowel movement.

Nighttime:

For the first few weeks I hated nighttime. My abdomen ached, I had to urinate often, my bowels weren’t regular so you might find yourself up numerous times a night. When I woke in the morning my stomach would be upset, or at least unhappy. It just was not a pleasant time for me. It gets better. Now, I still get up several times a night, but I always have. I rest fairly well, but I do still encounter an unhappy stomach on occasion.

Epilogue:

As of now it is six weeks since surgery. There is no doubt I am recovering. There are only two issues left, my stomach and bowel regularity. I have a feeling those will linger for some time. I am comfortable when I go to bed, the anxiety I experienced has diminished to its old acceptable level. My stamina is improving, however I still tire quite easily. Recovery has been difficult and will go on for sometime. As my Surgeon told me, remember, you have had major surgery. This ranks very high on the list of major surgeries. It will take time to recover, but be assured you will feel better. I hope all goes well with you, if you wish to contact me for any questions, or updates feel free to use my email address: tfloria@grnco.net.

Update: January 2009

Now two years have passed. I continue to learn. I am not sure if I am continuing to improve or if things change as part of a natural process. I still have bowel issues, but they aren't bad. Having suffered a small bowel obstruction six months ago I find that I have some psychological issues. I am convinced the cancer is gone. In fact Thursday I had an appointment with the surgeon who did the procedure and he stressed that the cancer was Stage 1, it was caught so early that I am cured. My risk of occurrence is the same as someone who never had colon cancer, 1 maybe 2%. However the bowel obstruction could occur at any time. I found that experience very miserable and do not want to repeat that episode. However, now that I know what the sensation is I would probably tolerate the problem better, but it scared the heck out of me.

I still find that certain foods seem to trigger gas attacks. Some fatty foods can cause me to go to the bathroom as if I'd taken a strong laxative. I do not experience diarrhea, but the stool will be soft. I will go a lot and often, then when the system has cleared itself I start again. I do have a number of days where I feel normal. My confidence grows, and I'm feeling real good. I am more sensitive to digestive tract action, bloating, little pains that might arise then disappear. I have a feeling they were always there, I just wasn't sensitized to them.

Life is good, I have no limitation, enjoy all manner of food and spice doesn't seem to make a difference. Fat content does, but not all of the time. I am learning to live in the new paradigm.

Good luck all.

Update: March 25, 2009
I meant to include in an update some time ago a difficulty I ran into called a bowel obstruction. One of the reasons surgeons do not like invasive abdominal surgery is you can have adhesions. I don't know a lot about them, but as I understand it they can be where tissue once separate can grow together. It almost sounds as though you might have one attach two separate sets of tissue.

June of 2008 I began to experience a stomach ache, the old fashioned kind I refer to as a green apple stomach ache. Just painful, no gas, no diarrhea, nothing but a tummy ache. It began on Monday morning and lasted in varying degrees of discomfort all Monday and Monday evening. Tuesday morning it seemed better and I took my morning walk, however after eating breakfast it got worse and I lay on the bed much of the morning. About noon it really became painful, to the point it was difficult to walk upright. I took a laxative as I hadn't gone for two days. Nothing happened. While sitting on the commode I became very sick and in severe pain. I ended up lying on the bathroom floor in a fetal position as that was the only way I could get a little relief. I broke out in a pouring sweat, and had chills. My wife told me she had never seen anything like it. I vomited but not much relief. I finally got dressed and went to our family doctor.

They took an X-ray, ran some blood tests, and I became sick in his office. They gave me a shot for nausea and pain and sent me to the emergency room. I was diagnosed with Small Bowel Obstruction and they put a NG tube in my nose. I believe that stands for nasal gastrointestinal tube, it is how they pump your stomach. All manner of stuff was pumped out. The surgeon who had performed my surgery came in and told me I had this obstruction. The NG hose also creates a slight vacuum in the stomach and sometimes the obstruction which was described as a kink in a water hose, will relieve itself. Otherwise surgery is required to relieve the obstruction.

Fortunately the vacuum worked about 3 AM I began passing gas, loose bowel and for about an hour and a half I kept the staff busy helping me clean myself, filling a portable commode about three times, and having to change my gown and bedding about four times. It was embarrasing but the staff was very understanding and forgiving and supportive, God bless them. The next morning the surgeon removed the tube, I was put on a liquid diet for one day to see if the obstruction had disappeared and I was released. Two days later I was on a two week car trip by myself to Michigan to visit relatives.

Symptoms:
Tummy ache that gets progressively worse.
You do not pass gas, nor have a bowel movement.
Nausea with vomiting
Progressively increasing pain.

What to do:
Make sure the pain isn't gas. You'll know that. A small bowel obstruction gives you a band of pain across the top of your tummy in a band from left to right. A large bowel obstruction is much lower, below the tummy.
Switch to liquids, don't keep stuffing food in as I did even though you get hungry.
Notify the Doctor and get the hence to an ER

Follow Up:
I had a SBFT (Small Bowel Follow Through) You drink a foul barium solution and have to wait until it coats your small bowel then the radiologist looks at your small intestines and looks for an obstruction. Normally there isn't one which indicates and adhesion. Otherwise surgery.
If it is a large bowel obstruction then it means a colonoscopy which I would frankly rather than the SBFT. My bowels really reacted poorly to the barium and my stools where white for two weeks.

Update: April 28, 2012


The first update in 2009, wow, was I ever wrong. I stated that I was cancer free and had reverted to the position of not having had cancer at all. It was there. It was there from the very beginning. In April of 2011 a colonoscopy reveal a recurrence of the colon cancer at the anastamosis, that is the seam of the original incision. The radiologist said it probably was at the cellular level and drugs would probably not have effected it, so I guess it was the luck of the draw. I am going to write a blog on the recurrence and subsequent issues with that because I had radiation/chemo, and iliostomy, and reversal. It was a hell of a process and a tough road. I am good now, but for how long, forever I guess.

135 comments:

  1. Thankyou for writing this and putting it in your blog.

    It's very helpful for those who have recently been through the experience to read.

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  2. I just had the bowel resection surgery on Dec. 8. i had a complete bowel obstruction due to scar tissue and it was an emergency surgery.

    i am going thro the same things you did. However, you didn't mention using immodium. if i didn't take that, i would be tied to the toilet.

    tomorrow i am going to call my dr. for medication for nausea. that has only started in the past 4 days or so.

    My dr. said to go back to work after 4 weeks (i am a teacher). It was difficult. i had to take a 1/2 day off this past week. i don't think i can put in 5 full-day weeks at this time (it will be 5 weeks tomorrow since surgery).

    judy from montana

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  3. I found reading your bowel surgery blog was like looking in the mirror except I'm female and only 32 :) I had a large bowel resection November 2007 and I am still not fully recovered. I went through everything you did. Even now I have good days and "bathroom days". It is a long slow recovery which many don't understand so it's good to know I'm not alone. Some days I feel almost normal but then I have days where I'm constantly on the toilet and feel absolutely depressed about it all. I'm also now very anxious and suffer from panic attacks. All I can do is try and be positive! Everyone is different so I hope you get some normality back sooner than me! Steph from Australia

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  4. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for taking the time of writing your information out -- I am struck by a lot of similarities in our recovery -- I am only 1.5 weeks post op and I'm miserable! I'm angry, depressed and extremely uncomfortable. Some things are different, I only used the pain meds for one day and did use the prescription patch for nausea for about 6 days - but I'm still very uncomfortable. Unlike you, I sleep, it seems that is all I do -- and feel completely house bound. I live in New England and the roads are snow/ice covered so going out for a walk is risky at best -- doing laps through the small house seems fruitless. I pity anyone around me because there is no making me happy. I have little to no appetitie and have lost weight - which isn't all bad - but this sure is one hell of a way to do it.

    I was thinking there was something seriously wrong with me and my anxiety, depression, etc and so I have found some comfort in finding your site.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to write it out.

    Best to you,
    Donna

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  5. Donna, Jennifer, you say you had the same situation occur, please confirm that your surgeries were NOT laparoscopic, and the reason for the surgery in the first place was the same and not for diverticulitis, which is what my problem is. Thanks. Hope it warms up so you can get out.
    Aloha, Jim in Hawaii.

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  6. For HiloJim:
    My surgery was full open, not laparoscopic. It was for the removal of a polyp that proved to be malignant. It was caught very early and I did not have to undergo chemo, thank goodness.

    Good luck.

    Tom

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  7. Hello to all.
    Thanks for this blog..I am 2 weeks to the day, out from my own surgery. My colon polyp was Stage 1, T1 cancer..doctor says that is the earliest you can find. I am pleased. I too am experiencing the fatigue, depression and lack of zest. Not sure if that is post-surgery normal or just my own desire to get back to work and normal. I am focusing on the positive, no chemo and hopefully many more years to live. Also,I feel so blessed by all the love and support I've received from family and friends. That support has been key to my recovery...so anytime I am on the toilet as you mention in your blog...waiting to see if what feels like a bowel movement is actually a bowel...I think of how blessed I am and smile.
    Best wishes to others recovering and be kind to yourself, we all heal differently.

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  8. Thanks for the detailed account of your experience. I've just been told that I can expect to have a bowel resection in the coming months to excise endometriosis implants.

    Reading your blog has given me a little more insight as to what I should expect - as they say forewarned is forearmed!

    Thanks again from Australia.

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  9. got out of hospital yesterday 1;30. feeling good- relatively speaking. wow, some pain!they got me up day after the Laparoscopic sigmoid colectomy. I'm sure now I lucked out with top surgeon and fellow. He and she. ! Done at VA Palo Alto, CA.
    requirement to leave hospital was pass gas, get off morphine, and then tolerate liquid diet. Did that. They said they loved me cause I was a good patient, walking a lot around the ward. tried to instigate IV pole races with other patients. They were all in depression, and wouldn't cooperate. LOl. found a big floppy st. patties day hat. (surgery took 5 1/2 hours and 1 1/2 in recover room.) and wore it around. fun. wasn't easy. experiencing total loose BM.,tried going without vicodin. had to have one middle of night. more later. cold in CA.

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  10. Hi my new friends. I am so glad to have found someone that understands. I am 9 days post-op came home day six got readmitted for a reanastamosis site bleed. Home day eight. Had ten inches of sigmoid and descending colon removed. Partial lap, 4 small incisions and one big one. Crohns, and diverticulitis both!!! Double wammy. I am a young female who knows to much and too little, I am a Physician Assistant, not suppose to be the patient! To make matters worse two week prior to surgery ruptured two lumbar discs lifting weights trying to go into the surgery as healthy as possible.
    I am currently feeling like "crap" no pun intended. Trying to be a stoic mom, and have a positive attitude, but it is tough; leaking, the runs, gas, pain, and frustration of wanting to "fix it". I live in Michigan and it just started snowing again! I tried my first night last night with out pain meds, used a body pillow, and a stuffed animal on my belly! What is the diet suggestions? What is the timing of pain let-up? I thought I could go back to work in peds ER and peds ortho surgery in 4 weeks think I might have been optimistic, just emailed my boss. Thanks to my new great friends for an out-let...hugs to you all Kat

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  11. Hi Kat, gees, you ought to be on the mends a little more. I also worked hard getting in shape, but didn't mess up my back, bad luck,.. let's see, I'm now 12 days out. got out on day 5 cause the qualifications to get out were passing gas, then off morphine, one night on couple vicodin. I think the walking around the hospital helped. My PCM told me to keep rubbing up and down the left side of my belly to make sure the colen keeps flexing. How big was the big incision, that may be why your slower coming out of it. Mine is 2 1/4 inches. I had the runs and gas with pain also for couple days. coughing was the worst eh! The turn for the better happened --like kind of quickly - like, gees i'm feelin better. walk, rest, walk... cheers, aloha, jim

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  12. Hi Jim, Today was somewhat better slept the night thru. Up on the couch but went outside twice to o check on some workmen fixing my roof. My incision was 3 inches, then two right sided one left and a fifth in the umbilical region. The 10 inches was from the left which is more swollen but the right is more painful. Food seems to be a problem. I can tolerate chicken soup with noodles, no veg and not the chicken(tried both ways) I get the runs from the veg and chix. Crackers soaked fine, juice ok, Dairy bad. Had scrambled eggs ok. Most else the runs and gas.
    I am down to 104 pounds can't lose much more or I look way too thin! Was 115 going into it. but I am
    5 '4" Oh well this too shall pass. I sleep better with the oxycodone they sent me home on. Think tomorrow night I'll try again with out. Maybe I was set back by the internal staple site bleed and readmission. I am 4 days since discharge , they stopped me eating and restarted IV's when I was readmitted. I am now 10 days post op so I am sure the 11th is my turning point. Nice to have a friend to plod along with. Challeenge to walking may have to start in a day or two...Thanks Jim Kath

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  13. Thank you for finding this blog useful. Kath, I'm from Michigan, thus the moniker Yoopertom. I was born and raised in the little town of Munising in the Upper Peninsula. Glad to meet another "Gander."

    My surgery started as LAP, but the position of the polyp was such that they had to do a conventional incision. I was in the hospital for 7 days. Like Jim I started walking as soon as I could. It was limited, but a few steps are always in the right direction. Coughing was tough, but I found the technique of clutching a pillow to my abdomen to be good. Hug that pillow hard, it helps increase the velocity of the cough.

    I cannot emphasize enough the idea of being patient. I was constantly running into the two steps forward, one step back problem. Find what your digestive system will tolerate and stick to it with a reach to something else every few days.

    I lost weight after surgery. However, unlike you I could afford it. In fact, I turned the weight loss into a diet and eventually lost about 60 pounds. I am 6'2" and tip the scale at 250. I did get down to 220 but couldn't maintain it. I get attacked by peanut butter fudge cookies. So don't worry about the weight loss, you'll come back.

    Considering walking, my first walking track was my living room when I got home. It was a short track, but I tried doing as many laps as possible.

    I am sure having a bad back and children add an additional difficulty. I wish you well, and ask any questions you want.

    Tom

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  14. Hi Tom, Thanks. It is finally sunny in lower west Michigan. Not warm but sunny! I got out and walked a little today. Still attempting t find food that doesn't run through me. I am so use to taking care of patients that it is hard to be on the other end. Thanks for the encouragement. Keep in touch. I still need to figure out the diet and the night time pain management.
    This too shall pass. Kath

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  15. Hi Kathryn:
    Each of us in our own way will deal with our situation. I learned years ago during recovery from back surgery that I would look for something each day that was improved, better and used that to build on. The walking I did during recovery from the bowel resection became a daily measure of improvement. One more lap around the driveway than yesterday. I did have a few days where I seem to over exert myself on one day and paid for it the next by feeling terrible. So I would rest that day, then the next day try a little more.

    I was released to return to work after six weeks. I felt like hell. My stamina was fairly low, I walked like a very old man with more of a shuffle than a stride, but I went and tried. Each day became a little better.

    Like you I do struggle with what I eat. There are times that I seem to tolerate almost anything. Then the other day I had a ham sandwich at work, just very lean deli ham. I blew up like a balloon, passing gas, going to the bathroom. Yet the next morning I had some bacon and eggs for breakfast and everything was fine. The other night my wife made a salmon dip from some left over grilled salmon and cream cheese. I had several crackers with dip and my stomach started to rumble and felt upset. Last night I had several crackers and the same dip, everything was fine. I haven't seemed to find the answer. However, I generally feel well, the best I've felt in years. The stomach upset is more of an annoyance than a concern. Everything seems to function OK, just not as it did before surgery. I will say, healing goes on for a very long time. I still notice things that have improved and it has been over two years since surgery.

    Spring is on its way to you. Our fruit trees have blossomed and gone, the Dogwoods are in blossom, our Daffodils have blossomed and gone, I've even mowed the grass for the first time this year. So Spring is crawling north, I hope it will help improve your recovery and ease your mind.

    Good luck.

    Tom

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  16. Thanks Tom You aer surely a great encouragement. I did get out today and it helped greatly! The weather is improving but we don't have flowers or even buds in south Mich. I feel better but my belly is a good gauge on my activity! Keep in touch...Fondly Kathryn

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  17. Katcando:
    What a nice name. I hope you are able to get out and take a little walk each day. Just being out makes things a little better. It is kind of like a validation of our recovery and freedom to move about.

    So what few things have you noticed that have gotten better?

    Tom

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  18. We went out to celebrate my husbands birthday and I actually ate a great meal. I took a walk about three blocks and enjoyed the sunshine. I am still having a difficult time sleeping at night, a body pillow has helped some but I still can't sleep the night through. I am looking forward to summer with it bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, I just hope I will be ready to eat them!!! When did you go back to a full diet? I believe in the name Katcando just taking it slowly! Will be passing through the upper peninsula to take my son to summer camp in Ontario in June, will wave as we pass through your beautiful land...Kathryn

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  19. It sounds like from your previous post you about three weeks post surgery. Sounds like you are doing well. After several weeks I was able to get out but did not handle it too well. However, my first dinner out was OK. Still a lot of unsteadiness in the digestive tract. I'd say you are on the mend. However, you may experience some set backs, hopefully minor. It seemed like my body would retaliate from from time to time in response to my over exertion, but I think you have to if you are going to get better. Stay warm, take it easy and you'll be surprised with speed you improve.

    Tom

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  20. Thank you so much Tom for your article. I am 3 weeks out of surgery with a lowel bowel resection 18 inches removed - mine was due to several female surgies and having adhessions. Your article explained a lot and you were exact about the emotional part of it. I have family and my father was from Alpha, Michigan. I still have 2 uncles there. We live in Alvin, Texas (Houston). I went in the hospital for a simple lap. surgey to have a fibroid removed when the doctor found the twisted/kinked bowel. There was no cancer but it was damaged that I needed 2 abdominal surguries 2 weeks apart. My first surgey I had female surgery and the Gen doctor removed adhessions and strected the bowels back out as they were twisted. Then one week later my 3rd day home I suffered a bowel obstruction (full) and had to be rushed back to the hospital and waited a week to see if it would fix itself. It didn't so I had another major surgery and was so week. I lost 25 pounds and was very anemic. I had to put on TPN and was in the hospital 3 1/2 weeks. I am now home and trying to put the weight back on. You were so right about FOOD! I thought I would eat everything when the NGO tube was removed (I had to have that tube put on twice) NOT a pleasant experience. I wanted to ask you? you mentioned having another bowel obstruction? do you get them frequent? I am terrified of going back to the hospital and suffering another bowel obstruction. I am on vicodin for pain, attivan for anxiety, and ambien for sleep. They all seem to work - I only take the pain rx when needed. I have completely changed my diet. I take Align and Culturelle Probiotics and Citrucel to mix in my drinks. I also take a sublingual b12 liquid vitamin that seems to help. I cannot take a regular vitamin (it makes me nauseated). It seems I can only live right now on chicken soup (homemade) and gatorade/water. I seem to get weak and thanks for the tip on dehydration - that is my problem. It was nice to meet you and I hope to her from you soon again.

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  21. Hey Tom

    I just wanted to thank you for your blog.It has helped me alot in what I'm feeling seems to be pretty "normal".I'm 4 weeks tomorrow out of the operation and feeling pretty decent.I'm 42 so I think being younger has helped my recovery out.My bowels aren't still 100%,still need softener and experience your "rabbit pellets" but I'm done with medication other then ibuprofen.The pain I experience sems to be across the lower belly,almost following where my drain tube was if that makes sense.I have a funny "vibration" feeling when I lay down back around my bottom,I'm guessing it is nerves coming back to life.I have feeling on one side of my cut but on my left side I don't.Did you run into this?Did all the feeling(I mean touching the skin)come back?So all in all I'm pretty good and your blog has helped me alot.I found it before I had the operation and it was so accurate to what I felt it comforted me.Thank you so much Tom...from Ontario,Canada

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  22. I am now eight weeks out. I have a double whammy that I have two herniated discs that happened two weeks prior to my surgery. I have pretty normalized bowels now. But my siatica and back problems complicate the "normal" nerve feelings of recovery. Hang in there...remember wake up with a smile, look for sunshine and it really helps! Write anytime and I will try to help. Katcando

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  23. Hi folks:
    I try to check this blog for comments in case a response is warranted or asked for. Sorry I did not get around to it sooner, but this is not like Facebook.

    First for canofcorn, must be Iowa or Nebraska. Anyway, the area on both sides of my incision was numb. I cannot tell you how long before the sensation came back but it was a while. I was told that they cut through nerves and it takes a while to regenerate sensation. I also had a vibrating sensation once and a while. I could never pinpoint it, but it was in the abdominal area. Those kind of symptoms I did not give much consideration to.

    For the first few months I seemed to have a constant pushing sensation like I was trying to have a BM all of the time. It got worrisome, but has gone away. I did get concerned that I might accidentally pass a stool without realizing it. I did suffer some leakage, but never had the monumental accident we fear.

    For Margaret:

    I've only had one bowel obstruction. It was a kink in the small bowel. I haven't been that sick in a long time and the pain was an old fashioned stomachache. I had an NGO tube in, just over night, but the back of my throat became irritated and painful from my constant swallowing effort and I did not tolerate it well. I am scared to death of another. The surgeon told me that I may have another at any time, or may never experience that occurrence again. I did have to undergo a small bowel follow through which was not uncomfortable, but I passed that barium junk for about two weeks after the test. I was told that you can't have a BM or even pass gas when you have a complete blockage, and that is what I had. So now whenever I get a little gas pain that could be a bellyache I am so relieved when I pass gas. I am not scared of anything that may occur but that obstruction puts the fear of God in me. By the way, I'm from the Upper Peninsula, a little town called Munising. Nice to meet you. Sorry it is under such circumstances. You will be OK.

    Katcando:

    It is good to hear from you. I checked back daily for quite a while then thought you'd been successful in your recovery and wouldn't be back. Sorry about the sciatica problem. I've had back surgery, 30 years ago, but I know about the pain. I had the bowel resection in January, in May I pinched the sciatic nerve. It was tough, but I took heavy doses of Ibuprofen and in about six weeks it healed, I've been OK since.

    Well all, thanks for the comments. If I can do anything for you let me know.

    Tom

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  24. Thank you so much Tom for your comments and advice. My uncle used to send me the Pastie Pies made up north - usually from Dobber's Pasties - I guess I will not be able to eat those for awhile. My constant fear is that NGO tube and like you I was told I could experience an Obstruction or could never have one. I hope I never do and I told them IF i do they need to completely sedate me to shove that thing down my nose/ throat again! Nice to hear from you and glad to hear you got better - it put light at the end of this tunnel for me! Nice talking to you. Margaret

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  25. One of the truly delectable dishes, pasties, and you can't enjoy them. What a bummer!

    I actually tolerated the NGO installation fairly well, it was once in place that I had a gagging problem, and as I said I irritated the tissue at the back of my throat and it became quite painful. They gave me some oral spray meant to numb the area, but I never could figure out how to work it very well. I hope for both our sakes we never have an obstruction again. Once is enough.

    Tom

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  26. Thank you Tom, for your honesty and candor. I actually had a nurse tell me that there was something wrong with me because I was having such frequent, loose BM's. That's what got me searching and praying that someone would have a blog about their own symptoms and voila--I found you!

    My surgery was March 26, 2009. I am doing well; the only symptom left is loose stools. I also wear panty liners. I take one Colace a day with lots of water; I am afraid to stop even though my stools are loose because constipation is gruesome.

    I went for a routine colonoscopy at age 56 and I was discovered to have stage 1 colon cancer just above the rectum. No chemo or radiation was prescribed and for that I am thankful. I came home with no meds except for extra strength tyenol and colase, both OTC.

    Even though I am a woman of deep faith, I too experienced the anxiety and depression. These symptoms come from such great shock to our physical beings; they are in no way related to our spiritual beings. In other words, these feelings are normal. I think I used up more tears in the first few weeks after the surgery than I used up in the first 56 years of my life!

    Bless you.

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  27. I had 18 inches removed about 4 months ago. I still have flare ups and the doctors just keep giving me more meds. Xanax four times a day and I still struggle with weight, sleeping and appetite. My wife is starting to become frustrated with me and of course it is effecting my marriage. I'm still worried that something is wrong and dwell on it a lot. Back to the gastro doctor on Monday, he wants to put a probe down my throat for 24 hours to measure stomach acid and esophogaus movement. ???????? I'm very frustrated with a lot of anxiety.


    Roger

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  28. Hi Roger:

    Four months is some time. I still felt like crap after four months, but I was not in pain. What was the reason for the surgery? Also, what are flare ups. I still have periods of time where I have some gas problems, I still have bowel movement issues, I characterize it that I go a little a lot. I did have my gall bladder removed 9 months after the bowel resection. I am sensitive to fat, ham seems to set me off and as much as I love peanuts they can really cause a rough reaction. You may not be tolerating something in your diet.

    Hope things get better, stay in touch.

    Tom

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  29. Hi Tom,
    Hope things are well with you. I am finally get better slowly - this is slow process. Did you ever have problems with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth? I am going to see a gastro doctor to check this. You can have bloating, the foul smelling gas, and onset diarrhea and it can last for months, years etc. if the bacteria is there. Here is a website on it:
    http://www.medicinenet.com/small_intestinal_bacterial_overgrowth/page5.htm

    It is treatable with antibiotics and this stuff can really make you sick. Thanks again for your blog - it sure helped me when I read someone else was going through this same thing. Trying to keep a positive attitude is very important everyday I am learning - I have had to learn patience.
    Margaret

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  30. Hello Margaret:
    Glad to hear of some improvement. I know for a while I wondered if a certain situation would be all I could expect, then a few days later I would notice improvement.

    I seem to go in a cycle. I also had my gall bladder out and since then I do not tolerate fat well. However I do not seem to be able to predict when my system rebels.

    I do not know about small colon bacterial overgrowth. I'll read about it, but I don't think I have that problem.

    Mostly it took time. I had one person I know who had surgery tell me they thought it took a year before their stamina and verve was restored.

    I'm glad you find some comfort from my blog. I hope you are much better soon.

    Tom

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  31. Hi Tom,
    Glad to hear from you. Glad you are doing better. I met with my GI Doc and he said I have the bacterial overgrowth which is quite common and very treatable with an antibiotic. He put me on flagyl and that is so strong - upset my stomach - calling for a milder one. He is doing a check colonoscopy on Monday July 6th but thinks everything will be fine. I am very nervous. I do not like the hospital scene - attribute it to pain! I have some anxiety issues now and then - I think it is being limited gets me down. I try my best and have good days bad days. The doc said this is common too and said the bowels take a long time to heal. In my case losing the 18inches and right colon with valve my body will eventually adapt. That is the problem without that right colon valve it is letting bacteria go into the intestine causing the irritation. He said he will treat it symptom by sympton and said no more surgery is necessary. Since then I have had several friends now having to go through this due to female surgies in the past. I referred them to your article because you explain better than anyone I have talked to from A to Z. Thank you Tom and I will talk to you soon.
    Friends,
    Margaret

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  32. Hi Margaret, I understand your anxiety, but remember that each day brings new things and the + always out do the - ! Two - = a +!!!I am now 3 mos out from 12 inches out of my colon. I still have days...but they are lesser and lesser. I am a medical professional and it is difficult to be on the other side, but concentrating on other things and the fact that you have lots of us in your court, I hope helps. Let me know if I can help in any way, blessings and ope you are feeling better. Kat

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  33. Thanks for the encouragement Kat - every bit helps. It is hard some days and I just wish I felt normal and didn't have fears but I am learning/trying to take it moment by moment and worry so much about the future. Tom's article really helped and all the comments everyone made to let me know I am not the only one going through this and there is hope. Thanks again, Take care. Margaret

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  34. Hi Tom, hope all is well with you and your family. I am slowly getting better - but doing much much better than before. I ended up having the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth so they put me on flagyl this an antibiotic that made me just very sick and i could not eat. Then we switched to Xifaxan antibiotic and it is perfect it only goes into the colon/intestinal area so do you get sick all over. We had a hard time getting it thru our aetna insurance as it is know as traveler's diarrhea medicine and since I didnt go out of the country they needed more reason even though my Primary Doc and the Gastro Doc Specialist both told them the reason. During my surgery 18 inches of small bowel was removed but the problem is part of the right colon and ileo cecal valve was removed that is letting bactering into my intestines...that sure had me so very upset. I was also having some anxiety and crying spells too often and my primpary care doc said with all the female surgies i went through the same time as all the bowels surgeries it messes up my serotonin to the brain. So he put me on some Lexapro and Xanax (I only take the Xanax if I really need it). But I feel brand new again. I settled down and can now come to terms with what happened. I am now eating so much better and seem to healing much faster. I am going out so much more and enjoy talking to everyone and just love waking up again. My Gastro doc explained this kind of surgery take about 6 - 8 months to really settle down and let the body adapt. But he told I will make a full recovery - just have to be patient. Hope you are doing great. Talk to you soon, Margaret

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  35. Hello Margeret:

    It is good to hear from you. It sounds like you have really been going through a tough time. I believe it takes 6 to 8 months, in fact, I think the healing process goes on for a lot longer than that. I still find changes taking place two years past my surgery.

    Recently I seem to be getting into a trap of having a very upset system and quite loose BM's to severe constipation requiring a laxative. I'm not sure what triggers the indigestion. I know that many people who have their gall bladder removed have difficulty with fat in their diet. However I haven't been able to make much sense of what triggers the upset.

    It is not debilitating, but certainly an irritant in life. However, all things considered life is good. I work outside, I exercise, and now my wife and I have two new Labrador retriever pups that occupy a great deal of our time.

    I am very glad to hear of your improvement. Sometimes it seems to take so long to figure out the problem that we think we shall be doomed to this reality for the rest of our life. However my worst fears are seldom realized.

    Stay in contact and I hope your health continues to improve.

    Tom

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  36. Hi Tom, great to hear from you. I understand some days are challenges. My gastro do sure beleives in the probiotics (I use align) you may want to check that out it may help with the BM/Constip. I like the tasteless benefiber the best. I still use the adult diaper - just dont trust yet going out without it. I am maintaining my weight but that small baterial overgrowth is my challenge since that helps the colon and now that i dont have the valve it let the bacteria into the intestines. I am getting out more my kids are 12 and 14 so they are in sports - I try to go when I can but the doc is worried about the wide spread swine flu we have had down here. he is worried as i have a weakened immune system. I have such a great husband and he helps and understands so much. It is really hard becuase I am such a very very active person and there are days I am just down. I hate to see the worry in all my families faces. I am still very careful what I eat. I eat mostly homeade chicken soup or baked chicken and use lactaid. seems to work well for me - I just have to somedays force myself to eat 3 meals a day. Thanks for all your help and advice it helps. It gets scary somedays and I just wonder will my life ever be the same or is this it? But i try to make the best of it. you have a great day and I will talk to you soon. your friend, margaret

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  37. Thanks so much for your blog. After searching so many sites, I couldn't find anything to describe the post-op experience. I did not have the open surgery, but the laparascopic colectomy due to a malignant polyp. I just had the surgery on Aug. 14, 2009, and I am experiencing many of the symptoms you describe. I am 34 yo and had been quite active. I've never had a surgery, so I'm having a really hard time with this. I haven't slept thru the night since the Wednesday prior to surgery, which compared to what others have described, I am just at the beginning. I am hoping that because I had the laparoscopic version, my recovery time will be shorter, but it is hard to be hopeful when you're tired and hurting all day long. In any case, it was just really relieving to read that my symptoms aren't abnormal!

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  38. Hi Wiz:
    I do not know if you'll get this comment but thanks for the feedback. I too, like you could not find any information on line about home recovery experience. It is nice to know that the difficulties, fatigue, and hurts are part of the recovery and not unique to you.

    I would think by now you are starting to feel quite a bit better. My progress seemed to be two steps forward, one step back for a period of time, but I think that is OK as I do believe in pushing oneself to get improvement.

    Hang in there, you will get back to the active life style you enjoy, and life will have a brighter edge to it for what you've gone through.

    Good luck and stay in touch.

    Tom Floria

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  39. Thank you so much for your article on bowel resection surgery. I had a tumor and two sections of bowel removed. The incision is huge. I was not prepared for the total dependency on others. Anxiety, along with other issues you describe was very difficult. It has been 4 months since my surgery. I am feeling better. However, strength has not entirely returned. I am back to work and functioning, but not the way I used to. Again, thanks for your candid and helpful article.

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  40. Hello Rosegrows:

    Thank you for your feedback, it makes me feel good to know that others have found some comfort in the article.

    It took me a long time, perhaps a year before I really felt like I was at full speed, which isn't too speedy anyway. I am convinced the healing process goes on for a lot longer than Dr.'s tell you. I am sure you will continue to progress, I did. I wish you well.

    Tom Floria

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  41. Great blog...
    I too have an increasing list of abdominal issues. 18 years ago a small harmless schist was removed from behind my belly button. Since then I've had 2 "lysis of adhesions" surgeries, all 5" incisions, to free small bowel of the sticky scar tissue which caused the bowel obstruction, the kinked garden hose.
    Unfortunately I had a recent visit from the lady of Bad Luck: 4 weeks ago today, I was a passenger of a taxi, and survived a 90mph head-on collision. Along with 7 fractured ribs, fractured sternum and clavicle (seatbelt injuries) my old nemisis the Adhesions had reformed in the last few years. In the car crash, my small bowel did not flex, rather it shredded because of the adhesions anchoring it to all kinds of things. Result was ANOTHER 2 hour abdominal surgery, 100cm resected, and a new 6 inch incision.

    Adhesions will be a part of my for the rest of my life. If I have any advice for fellow sufferers:

    1. carry a emergency data card in your wallet, which has a brief of history, allergies, contacts. This really helps with the anxiety of not having to retell your story to each medical person, at a time when pain and trauma is 10/10.

    2. Stay fit. I'm now 40, but love bike riding 60-150 miles a week. Undoubtedly going into abdominal surgery with a strong heart and lungs makes for a faster and less-risk recovery. After my current injuries heal, my bike will be how I prepare for the next inevitable surgery, whether it's 1 year or 5 years from now. And perhaps by then there will be a way of screening for adhesions (there currently isn't) so they can be freed laproscopicaly and less invasive.

    Good luck to all of you.

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  42. Dale:
    Thank you for your comment. I thought I had it tough, you are dealing with more than I am. My episode with a small bowel obstruction unnerved me. Now if I get some gas pain and can't pass it or feel some stomach pain I get real nervous. I can't imagine expecting to have adhesion problems.

    I hope all goes well for you and you recover from you accident quickly.

    Tom

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  43. Hello Tom,
    You have been a great support to everyone that has gone through this similar situation. You have been like the light at the end of the tunnel let us know what to expect. Because the docs sure don't let you know what is coming....all they say is you'll get better but WHEN they don't understand or feel this pain and anxiety and no day is the same - that is for sure. But you sure helped me and tell you wife thank you for letting you help all of us she must be very caring and like you! Have a great day! Margaret
    By the way I am doing better and getting out more that helps and excercising more...I just figure I'll take each moment as it comes...what else can u do...thanks again tom! Margaret

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  44. Margret:
    Thank you for your support. Recently Dale posted a comment and it made me think about the article I posted. It seems most of us are willing to put up with discomfort, pain, and some fear if we think in the end the outcome of surgery will be beneficial. Of all the topics though we find it difficult to discuss bowel problems. It is hard to tip toe around the issues and maintain some semblance of decorum. So I just decided to try and be as descriptive as possible without being gross on purpose. It is amazing to me that I touched so many people. You would think with all of the resections done in the United States that some health care group would've assembled some information about what it is like to recover at home. I never did find such a discussion. I have also found humor in our situation as I have found my self fantasizing about the "perfect BM." What a goal huh? Anyway, I'm glad you are getting out more. Your confidence will build daily until you finally come to terms with the alteration in your life style. So keep the faith and may your life be long, rich and rewarding.

    Tom

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  45. Hi Tom,
    Great to hear from you. Just wondering a few things - it has almost been 3 years since your surgery...do you ever worry about accidents, or eat something that keeps you up all night, still have to be careful what you eat? I feel so limited. Some days I get out and feel great and the next day it seems I pay for it and am in bed tired out and back and forth to the potty. I am careful what to eat. I eat no fried food. Just baked chicken or turkey. I have so many medicines I am tired or it. I also have a surgeon that is cut happy wanting to say it could be an adhession - scares me to death. My gastro doc is great and says no I am fine that is part of the healing process because not to be gross as long as things are coming out I'm fine. Now we have the scare down here of the swine flu they have already closed a couple of schools so my primary doc doesnt want me getting out. My 2 young ones play sports the girl plays volleyball varsity. and the boy playe lineman football they are 12 and 14 and it is hard to explain to them I can't go to every game. I take my hand cleaner but this stuff is airborne. I am putting on weight so that is a good sign but I think the medicine they have me on for anxiety makes me tired - I guess I needed that part from all the female surgery they had to do at the same time as everything else. I am 45 this year and boy has it been a year! I am so active that it just really gets me down some days. Thanks for your help and tips and just your kind words helps. You been through it too so who better to ask. I get tired of hearing the docs you will be feeling better in a few days....huh! thanks again Tom and please say hello to your wife. My husband Darryl is thankful I found your site and can talk to you. There were so many similarities we share.

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  46. Hello Margaret:

    It is good to hear from you, but I'm sorry you are having such rough time.

    Let me deal with your questions:
    I do not really worry about accidents. I suffered what I call leakage early after surgery, but that has cleared up and I do not encounter accidents unless my stomach is upset and that has happened once.

    I am not very careful watching what I eat, but I probably should be. I have not had something that keeps me up all night. However, I did seem to encounter an odd rhythm where I would not go to the bathroom for a day or two, then I'd go a little a lot, then about day four I'd have what I call an episode with loose stools and terrible gas. Hope your husband Darryl isn't grossed out with our discussions. Anyway, I always encounter gas, however early in this stage no odor. However as some time passed and the gas did too, it would get worse and be quite upsetting. Anyway that lasted for some time.

    I did have my gall bladder out about 9 months after the bowel resection. That has added a complication I do not know how to handle yet. Certain foods will at time cause bloating and an upset tummy, then other times not. I do not watch my diet very well. My diet varies and ranges from fried foods to hot sauces, and seems to be richer in meat than perhaps it should be.

    Right now I am having some difficulty. About a month ago I had a period where I really produced gas which upset my tummy and made me feel bloated. I tried taking a Zantac as it was supposed to handle an acid stomach. It calmed the situation down and was wonderful for a few days, then I got constipated. For the last few weeks I have been constipated and seem to only find relief with a laxative.

    I am going to see a new Family Dr. in a couple of weeks and may try to schedule a visit to a GI guy. I've never been to one. A GI Dr. did the colonoscopy that found the polyp requiring surgery, but I've never been treated by one.

    Remembering your situation I believe you've suffered more surgical procedures than I. I know one thing, I am not worried about long term problems. I did notice the healing process goes on for a lot longer than you may think. I noted improvement and changes even several years after surgery.

    I know what your are going through. I called it the two steps forward, and one step back syndrome. I guess when I felt good I pushed and paid for it the next day. I will say though I recommend pushing. I think your improvement will be faster if you push yourself a little.

    Are you walking? I mean a regular walking program. I started one that I maintain to this day. I try for 30 to 40 minutes every morning. Walking is supposed to be good for the digestive tract.

    Let me tell you this. When I feel good, I feel superb. Better than I've felt for years, even before the surgery. When I don't feel good it is a matter of gas, bloating and regular irregularity. But, it isn't like being sick.

    I am absolutely sure there are good times ahead of you. Your patience is being tested, and you have come through a lot, but your body won't let you down.

    Keep in touch. If you want to move this contact off the blog my email is tfloria@grnco.net.

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  47. Love this blog! Thanks so much for all the good advice etc.

    My small bowel resection was in Oct '08. Obstruction due to adhesions. I am STILL having a lot of ab pain!! Been thru a lot of tests, all negative. I'm taking Librax sometimes. Helps a little bit.

    Is it "normal" to still be healing this long after surgery??

    I also have MS and Graves disease. So I have a cocktail of problems to deal with.

    Appreciate your help and hope everyone else is getting better.

    Marti

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  48. Hello Marti:

    I had a bowel resection in January 07 and my gall bladder out in November 07. Between the two my digestive system has been kind of cranky since. However, I did notice healing going on for well over a year. I do not recall pain other than gas pain or bloating due to my digestive system rebelling. I know that for many months after surgery I had a feeling like something had been done, something was missing, but not a lot of pain.

    I do not know anything about MS but Graves disease is a thyroid problem. My wife takes synthroid to counteract any problem, but has two brothers diagnosed with Graves disease. When you have a couple of issues it is hard to pinpoint which is doing what.

    However, I've know several who have had abdominal surgery and they've all told me the healing process has gone on a lot longer than the doctors indicate.

    Good luck and stay in touch. If you wish to contact me directly my email address is tfloria@grnco.net and I'll be happy to answer any questions I can. Just remember, I am not a medical professional, all I know is my own experience.

    Tom

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  49. Beloved Tom,

    Thank you for what you've done here for the sakes of those who are going through the same thing and for family who want to help their loved ones. My mother just went through emergency bowel resection last week and some of the information in your blog was a true blessing.

    I am looking for specific rehab exercises that she can begin doing since their medicare doesn't cover a program coming to the home and showing her what to do besides walking. I will continue researching.

    I did see on your profile a question you placed "Why does God make life a test?" If I may offer my answer based on a personal relationship that I have with God through Jesus Christ, His Son and my Lord and Savior.

    In God's Word, because God is Love, Himself; He has not said He made Life a test. He tells us specifically that He so lovingly gave man freewill to choose...AND HE TELLS US TO CHOOSE LIFE through choosing HIS COUNCILS AND HIS THOUGHTS because His ways are higher and His thoughts are higher than man's thoughts.

    It gets REAL dark in our lives when we continue going our own way and choose our own devises rather than God's way of Salvation and ways of Living. There is only ONE Way, Truth, and LIFE....and He is Jesus. : )

    That is how I know Life is not a test. Darkness tries to keep us from choosing the ONLY LIFE that is available to us through Jesus Christ...the Hope of the Nations.

    All my BEST to you and yours....Judi

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  50. Hi Judi:
    Thank you for your kind comments. I have been extremely satisfied by the number of people who have felt the information in my posting helped them either understand or know that they were not experiencing anything unique during recovery from bowel resection. I hope you are able to find some rehab exercises. If I can be of any service please let me know, my email address is contained in the body of the blog. Best wishes to you and your family.

    Tom

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  51. fabulous writing! I had the resection due to diverticulitis and my experience was very similar...however, about 8 weeks later, I feel great! (I'm 50 this year)

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  52. I had surgery on September 1st. My left ovary was removed and six inches of the lowest part of my sigmoid colon. I am experiencing all of those things now that you mentioned in your blog. At one point last week I was going 20 times a day. This week seems better....lots of false alarms! LOL! That is so true! It was refreshing to read such an honest depiction of your recovery. Thank you. It gives me hope that every week will be better.

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  53. I had part of small bowel, large bowel, appendix and right ovary removed 5 weeks ago. I have never been ill before and am struggling with the convalesence process. Treatment in hospital was excelent but not enough advice was given on what to expect when I got home. I thought I'd be fine in 3-4 weeks. Wrong! Last week I seemed to be doing well but in the last couple of days I've regressed to rushing to the toilet anything up to 12 times a day. Just prior to that I went out to get hair done and attended a funeral. Don't know if I overdid it a bit or if its to do with finishing some of the anti inflamatory meds I was on. No one told me how long I'm supposed to take them and my local Doc doesn't really seem to know that much about it.
    So its been a great relief to read your blog and all the postings. So many of the symptoms and experiences
    descibed are what I am going through.
    Thanks from Dorothy in Scotland

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  54. Thanks for the insights. I am day 4 post op from laparascopic small bowel resection for Crohn's. Gallbladder taken out at the same time. It's been a very rough few days.

    I was struck by your comments on anxiety. The pain killers like morphine can both cause and relieve this symptom. I think it made me much worse and have already stopped all pain killers a day ago and actually feel much better. Yes I have a lot of pain but it is not further mixed with side effects from the drugs! The pain will go away.

    Listen to your gut! Lots of people including professionals are willing to give conflicting advice like you describe in the blog. We are individuals with varying experience.

    I am a 41 y.o. Family physician. Keep writing!

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  55. This blog is wonderful. I had a bowel resection 5 weeks ago and really expected to be better by now. Like so many of you have said, it takes a long time to recover.

    I started back to work this week but was not able to work my full schedule. By Friday I was feeling bad and had some vomiting. Today I feel a bit nauseous and had to force myself to eat a little soup and saltines.

    I have been weaning myself off of the pain meds and hope to be off by Monday. I agree that sometimes the meds make you feel worse, rather than better. I was so afraid of pain that I waited 3 weeks to even let the meds wear off completely. Around the same time I experienced an infection and ended up back in the hospital, on intravenous pain meds.

    I am still having trouble with what I can eat. Everything tastes so different, my favorite foods no longer appeal to me. I am trying to narrow down what foods make me feel bloated and crampy but it is hard.

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to write about their experience. Before I found this blog, I worried that I was becoming a hypochondriac or that there was some complication that nobody had caught on to yet. Now I see that I am having a fairly normal recovery. What a relief!

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  56. I had bowel resection surgery a year ago. It was a complete obstruction and was emergency surgery. I have still not recovered. The 12 inch scar has healed, but I just had a kidney and rib removed from the same general location. Now I have a 12 inch scar that runs horizontally. It's painful and I am always tired. I also have 7 hernias that have developed along the resection incision area. I have been hospitalized twice for blockage because of the bowel poking through the hernias. I am supposed to have surgery to correct them next month. I am ready to give up. I haven't felt well since last year when the whole thing started. I went back to work after the resection, and worked up to the kidney removal on November 9th. I'm supposed to go back next week, but I think that could be unlikely. I think the hernia repairs will be my last surgery. It's not worth it to go through this again.

    Nancy

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  57. Hey Rosegrows:
    I know you left an anonymous comment, but hang in there. I thought I had it bad, but you're way beyond me. However, most of the stuff sounds fixable. You don't say the reason for the obstruction, was it cancer? If so, and your ongoing problems stem from that I understand you reluctance for surgery. I wish you well and hope you are able to weather the storm.

    Tom

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  58. Hi everyone. I am now 13 weeks post bowel resection. Things are definitely a lot better. I feel 100% recovered as far as physical strength. I ran my first three miles at 6 weeks post op.

    Anyway, the biggest problem I have right now is SEVERE Constipation. I never quite had it like this. I feel the urge to go (and I do go 4-5 times a day), the problem is it wont go past the exit door! When I can push it out, they look like marbles or pencils. So, the ONLY thing that has worked for me has been taking something called Duphalac which I got in Europe. The equivalent is Lactulose. That is a miracle syrup! It creates stool volume, which in turn helps my colon contract it out.

    Now, instead of looking like marbles they are about two -three inches long and maybe about an inch or two thick. (I know gross to be talking about). HOWEVER, I have to take the syrup every day at least twice a day. Otherwise, the stool volume goes back to marbles and straining. You can only get this by prescription.

    I wonder why I'm constipated and will I ever be back to normal (which for me I always thought was one big bowel movement a day in the mornings). I seriously went from that to 4-5 times a day and much smaller. This is a lot of work!

    Thanks!

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  59. Thank you so much for the blog. My 80 year father had a bowel resection on December 13 and is doing fairly well. The one real issue he has has been with his "stomach" he says that it burns and feels empty. He goes to sleep at night and has to get up about 3 hours and eat so that he can deal with the pain. Is this something any of your readers have experience?
    He had the resection after his physican discovered numerous polyphs. He had about 18 inches removed with about 50 polyphs non cancerous.
    I told him I would try to discover if anyone had any suggestions. Thank you so much for all the information.
    Debbie Frazier

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  60. Hi Deborah, we can all thank Tom for saving/helping us all with his blog. I was lost and am still dealing almost 2 years later w/my resection. I find eating jello with glueten free pretzels help me at night and are easy to digest. the pretzels are made by glutino brand pretzels. hope this helps. it does take a long time for the body to adapt and everyone heals differently. i hope your Dad gets better and let him know he is in our thoughts/prayers. hugs, margaret

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  61. I am so glad/relieved I found this blog. I am 12 days post op of laparotomy for a small bowel obstruction as a result of scar tissue/ stricture from radiation therapy done 5 years ago. I had a relatively small section removed... But as many have said, I had no idea what the recovery really involved. I've been home 2 days and am really struggling with eating. When I do, I get terrible pains and diarrhea about 2-4 hours after. Of course, this was not mentioned to me upon discharge. I am 36 years old and was running half- marathons just 6 months ago, so this has really gotten me down. I do appreciate everyone's candor because I don't think the healthcare providers are comfortable with it. Thank you Tom for putting your story out there, it is still the only real answer online as to what to expect!

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  62. Thanks for this blog. My boyfriend is about 2 1/2 weeks post surgery. His was emergency surgery-we went to the ER thinking he had the flu but he had a rupture due to diverticulitis and ended up in surgery the next morning. Thankfully the doctor was able to do the resection and he did not have to have a colostomy which was a possibility. His incision is about 5 inches and is healing well.

    It made him feel better when I read the parts about food not tasting right and not having an appetite-know that was 'normal' as that has been really bothering him. He has lost about 15 lbs (and did not need too!). Because of the lack of appetite his energy level is low. Overall his pain levels are not an issue and he has managed on very little pain meds (taking them only at night). I work out of the house so that was HUGE when he was released.

    Do you recall when food started to taste normal again??

    Again, thanks so much. Susan

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  63. Susan:
    Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I wish I could make this into a stand alone blog. This post is so old it takes me a while to scroll back to it.

    You asked how long it took for food to taske OK. I want to say it was well over 30 days. It came back gradually. I sometimes thought that some of the medicine was causing the tastless problem but was never sure. Anyway, rest assurred, his taste will return.

    Tom

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  64. Thanks for the response. It would be interesting to know what does cause the taste changes. That does not help when you are trying to eat to regain energy and nothing tastes 'right'.

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  65. Susan:
    My sister is an RN. It has been years since she retired but she has had surgery. She thinks it is the anesthesia that deadens the taste. I don't know. You would think the effect would wear off sooner than 30 days. However, I also believe it is really 12 to 18 months before you really have full recover. Thanks for the comments. I wish you boyfriend well, hopefully he will make a full and complete recovery.

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  66. Judy:
    I just saw in your Jan 11 comment the statement about nausea. For several weeks after surgery my morning breakfast was cut short by bouts of nausea. The nausea would stay with me until mid-day then ease. I found I was dehydrated. One Sunday I started sipping water and within four hours the nausea left never to return. I guess we forget to drink or our body needs more liquid to help it recover than normal. I hope you read this and I hope you are better now as it has been a couple of months since your comment.

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  67. I had a bowel resection done and a cancerous stage 2 tumor removed. I also had female reproductive organs removed. I had an excellent surgeon and great nurse care in the hospital. Thankfully, everything went well.
    I had good family support when I came home. However, I did not know what to expect in my recovery. I became very anxious, depresssed, and quick to anger. Due to your blog, now I know this is normal and I feel comforted that I am not alone in these feelings. I thank you very much.

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  68. I had my surgery 5 months ago, I was in hospital 15 days as my first op was not successful and after 6 days operated again. First incision was 5 inch in the groin but second was 12 inches from top to bottom. I am trying to find out if the muscles holding your tummy in were cut and do they heal?I have a football sized tummy poking out and wondered if the muscles will ever be able to strengthen enough to hold that in. I am 75Y old, so don't do a lot of exercise!

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  69. Diny:
    Your muscles will heal. You will be weak at first, even though you do not exercise, walk. Walking is good for the bowels and the back. The back is supported by the large muscles in front so walking will help strengthen them besides helping you recover faster. Take it easy, a little walk, don't over do it. Say 100 yards at first, then 110 yards the next day. Be patient and do not over tax yourself. Let your body be the guide. Good luck.

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  70. Thank you for this blog.
    I am two weeks into recovery From my small bowel surgery and reading this blog has really answered some concerns.
    I have found it hard to find information about what to expect after surgery here in the uk. And now know where to look if I have anymore worries as it has been very informative.

    Again thank you very much.

    Regards Paul Wright
    Sheffield
    England

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  71. Hi all,
    thanks yoopertom for writing this and to everyone else for sharing their experiences. I read this page when I was first told I'd need a resection for a bleeding lesion they couldn't identify. I was scared stiff that it was cancer and then petrified by all the possible effects of the surgery even if they found it wasn't. Turned out that the mass was endometriosis (which I never knew I had) and my recovery was quick, almost painless, and with no bowel or eating or fatigue problems. I lost maybe 3 kgs, and was back to 95% of normal within about three weeks, and 100 within about five. (I'm 40, slightly overweight, and not all that fit.) So for anyone reading the post and comments and feeling afraid that there's nothing but gloom ahead, please be reassured that it can all be okay. For those still suffering, I hope things improve and you feel better soon.

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  72. Hi guys, so glad i found you all. I'm 2 weeks post op (not lap) and home 1 week. I had been experiencing stomach pain, constipation, and loss of appetite for too long and when the weight loss became way too apparent and the pain began in earnest I went to the ER. They eventually found that a rock hard ball of feces had torn a hole in my large intestine and now i had peritonitious, not fun, Off to emergency surgery. as I said I'm home about a week now and I've begun to have small regular bowel movements. The pain is pretty much bearable with no pain meds and the thing that bothers me most is the no appetite thing and the fact that I lost so much weight so quickly that I look like the walking dead. I feel so weak and I just cannot sleep more than an hour here and there.I'm so depressed being pretty much all alone here. Please someone, a few kind words would mean the world right now. I'm in brooklyn ny and I'm a 58 year old independent woman who just wants to get well and begin living my life again..I hate whining and sounding so pathetic but I'm a type A personality and hate feeling so needy.................thanks for listening

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  73. hey, glad I found this site, I mean it too, been searching for some answers. its about eight months since the surgery
    and I have not gone back to regular eating yet, I use to can eat anything
    but now have problem passing it, laxative products hurts me bad of keep running to the bathroom, I will develop hemorrhoids and that's another pain in the ass truthfully!, I can feel stool when it gets to the spot that has been cut and it gives me an uncomfortable feeling, right now I'm just eating eight grain bread and fish, that looks like the only thing I can handle and feel somewhat good.

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  74. Tom has helped many including me with this blog. I have went through several gi doctors before I found one that really helped. All our bodies react different and this surgery it takes the body a big adjustment. Days my gut impacts I do just fluids and soups. Other times I have to watch not to eat too much bread or fats. Fruits and veggies good luck. Hemorrhoid also are always problems. I use lidocaine ointment 5% and proctozone hc 2.5% really helped.

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  75. My husband had lower bowel resection on 2/14/12 due to diverticulitis. I was so happy I finally was able to read what someone else had gone through. It was so similar to what my husband has gone through. We finally went to a herbalist and she prescribed some enzymes that he takes 1 hour before each meal and a colon clense he takes every night/every other night before he goes to bed for constipation and a predigested whey protein that he drinks once a day when he is feeling good and 2-3 times a day when he is feeling really run down. Also, he is drinking herbal aloevera. Did you experience being cold all the time?

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  76. Dear Unknown:
    Thank you for your comments. I did not go to a herbalist. I am not very familiar with holistic medicines. I do not remember generally feeling cold, although I do know at times my feet were like ice. I kind of attributed that to age but I must admit it has gone away for now. I would be concerned that colon cleanse would be a little severe. I used Phillips Milk of Magnesia from time to time or Miralax. I'm sorry I cannot be of much help but you are out of my comfort zone. I am grateful for you comments and am happy my blog was able to provide some information. I hope all is well soon

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  77. I live in England and have been told I have a rare gene abnormality FAP and I have loads of precancerous polyps in my bowel so in Sept they are removing the whole thing and giving me a pouch i will have a stoma for 6/8 weeks while my body inside recovers and I am not happy I feel robbed worried about work I feel totally healthy and they are making me ill feels like it

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  78. I have come on this site seeking advice and seeing what quality of life I will have,I was found to be riddled with polyps in my large bowel last Oct,further generic testing has proved I am a sufferer of the faulty FAP gene which means my polyps are guaranteed to turn to cancer,so they are taking my whole bowel out and are giving me a internal pouch and a temporary stoma bag

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  79. I had partial colectomy on April
    30, 2012. Wish I found this blog earlier. I thought I'd be back to work in 4 weeks ha!ha! All the things I told the dr. and he looked at me like I was crazy... Guess what I'm not I found this blog and realized I had alot of the same things. My dr. told me I could have raw fruits and veggie
    now yeah right if you want bloated
    NOT... feeling good stomach dig right in. Just started writing food down to see if I see a pattern. This was and is hard for me I'm a vegetarian with strong raw food loves. Almost everything said happened to me feel good 2 steps forward one step back. The bowel movements, I told my dr. it was there and wouldn't come out. Felt like I wanted to dig it out. And the pain I know its right at the connect point. OUCH!! All I can say is Thank you for this blog it helped me to realize I'm normal and it will get better.
    Thank you.
    k.foody

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  80. Has anyone heard of George's 100% Aloe Vera Juice for tummy trouble? I'm 4 years out from a small bowel resection and still having problems.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Hi marti. I have never heard of that. You may ask Tom Floria or your gi doctor about that. Good luck.

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  82. It will soon be two years since my bowel resection surgery. I am still suffering from very bad constipation caused by the surgery. I take Miralax and sometimes I combine it with the Philips caplets and it works. I have to keep taking something on a daily basis, otherwise, it all gets stuck in there. I think I had chills on and off for the first year after surgery...but that has now subsided completely. If I had to do it all over again, I never would have let them take out my sigmoid colon. On the bright side, my bladder has never been the same either. I could hold it for a pretty long time without going! I very rarely feel a huge urgency to pee. Blessing in disguise I guess.....Good luck to all.

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  83. Hi Almita. I suffer almost with the same issues. I use off and on Align probiotic. also a stool softener to stay on track. It is very hard to balance. I hear you. If i had it to do all over I would not have let them take any of my digestive sysytem. I lost the ilocecal valve and large intestine with 18 inches of small intestine and that was in 2009 and i am still not the same. But i found a gluten free diet helps and stay away from fried/fast foods. Good luck and find you a good GI doc that knows what he is talking about. I have one with the Baylor team and he is excellent. I am actually on a medication called welchol helping my system. I go too much. God bless. Marg

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  84. Hello Tom,
    I have been sitting for hours reading your blog and all of the comments. I thank you for sharing with us your experience and information; I, obviously along with others, appreciate it greatly.

    I suffer from diverticulosis. In May I was hospitalized with my 4th diverticulitis attack with a perforation (1st time I've had a perforation). It was a stage 3, meaning the resulting abscess from the perforation was pus, not fecal matter (that is a stage 4 and always requires emergency surgery).

    Now that I have had a stage 3, and in order to prevent further attacks, I have been strongly advised to have a colon resection to get out the diseased portion, the sigmoid colon. Not sure until they go in there how much they will have to remove.

    To say I am TERRIFIED is an understatement. I do extensive medical research (have done this for years) and have also spoken to 2 surgeons about the many possible risks and complications. Even though many of them are small percentages, I am still terrified and am experiencing so much anxiety that I have had to resort to an anti-anxiety medication (and I dislike taking meds) and talking to a therapist. My fear is that I will end up being worse off with possible complications (obstructions being a #1 fear, hernias, constant bowel problems, etc) than I am now. I am in good health except for the diverticulosis disease. I had pretty much decided 100% on the surgery; it is always better to get it when you're free of infection rather than wake up in the OR with a colostomy bag. But due to the fears of complications, I am now second-guessing my decision. I have my final appointment with my surgeon next week and I need to decide for sure that day.

    I notice many of the commenters have had colon resections for various reasons.

    What exactly causes bowel obstructions? Is it scar tissue?

    Again, I thank you for all of your information. It sounds like you are doing great and I'm so glad.

    If anyone could offer me some hope and encouragement, or any other info (surgery or not?), I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much.

    Sincerely,
    Mary Jane, age 55

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  85. Hello Tom,
    Thank you for all of your wonderful information and for sharing your experiences. I, and obviously many others, are so appreciative.

    I am a 55 year old woman with diverticulosis. I have had 4 attacks since 2007. This past May I was hospitalized for 4 days with "Complicated Diverticulitis with a pelvic abscess." I was told by 4 doctors in the hospital that because I have now had a perforation, surgery is recommended to hopefully get rid of the disease. I have found the surgeon I am going to use and I THOUGHT I was 100% decided upon this operation, but now due to reading about all the risks and complications I am having serious misgivings. I want to make my life BETTER, not WORSE, and if I have any of these complications (worried mostly about the possibility of obstructions...I read that you and many others have had this), I think it would be a lot worse. Other than the horrid diverticulosis disease, I am healthy, though I do battle my weight (am about 30-40 pounds overweight).

    I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place. The perforation I had was a stage 3 (pus in the abscess); a stage 4 is the worst (fecal matter freely floating in the abdomen and emergency surgery and waking up with a stoma/colostomy bag). The outcome is almost always better when done "electively" (i.e. when free of infection). I truly am in a dilemma but must decide by next Wednesday...that is the follow up with my surgeon to finish asking my questions and then schedule the surgery (or nix it altogether). To say this is causing me depression and extreme ANXIETY is an understatement...I am taking an anti-anxiety medicine (low dose) which does help though I am continually sleepy. I don't like meds at all, so this shows you how desperate I am.

    I truly am at a point that I don't know what to do...I feel like I'm danged if I do and danged if I don't.

    If anyone has any advice for me in my situation, or can explain more about obstructions and what causes them, any and all info, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Sorry this is so long...wishing you all the very best.

    Sincerely,
    Mary Jane

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  86. Mary Jane:
    If you wish to contact me via email it is tfloria@grnco.net. I will say this, I had one bowel obstruction in over five years. While scar tissue can cause an obstruction mine was the small intestine got kinked. Yes it was very uncomfortable. However it lasted over night, I had an NG tube down my throat for 10-12 hours. I made a hell of a mess in the hospital room but the nurses were comforting and understood. I would go through the surgery. I currently have chronic diarrhea, which means I go frequently, not loose stools. However I have no pain, I do have some accidents but wear pads when I sense that situation. I pretty much do all I want. I would not want to go through the agony of stage four perforation. It can be deadly. I recommend choosing the surgery.

    Tom

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  87. Thank you Tom, for your comment. I truly appreciate it. I am still leaning towards the surgery. Hope to hear from some others with diverticulitis and their experiences with the colon resection. I am a very spiritual person but nonetheless, this has really shaken me up a lot. Thanks again, and God Bless to all.
    Sincerely,
    Mary Jane

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  88. So much to read but wow such a wealth of information and advice. I left hospital being told to go home and rest. Therefore see how easy it is to panic not knowing what is happening to my body.
    I came back to read more as I thought there had been a comment about feeling cold - that it might mean an infection?
    I am a side sleeper and 4 1/2 wks later still must sleep on my back as it's too painful on my side.
    My bowels are still not working properly and I'm afraid to eat anything for fear of the pain it can cause.
    After 4 weeks of taking care of me my husband is angry and frustrated that I'm not better. I'm tired of his asking how I am because he doesn't want an answer unless I say I feel great. He gets mad I don't smile but I HURt and am scared and frustrated and want my old life back.

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  89. I truly feel your pain. I had my surgery April 2009 and i am still having pain and illness. A gluten free diet help. Also i have a team of gastroenterologist with baylor. I still get cold means my overgrowth bacteria is up. Look up overgrowth bacteria of bowels. I always have diarrhea and wear a diaper. I never know when my bowel will go crazy. Me and my husband see a medical therapist and psychiatrist to help with my pain and mood medications. I suffer with post traumatic stress syndrome and high anxiety. She really helps me accept how my body is now and move forward. It is hard and life changing. I am in and out of the hospital with partial obstructions. Tom Floria wrote a very excellent abc details of what most and he went through. Everyones body adapts differently but find a good gastroenterologist to help you with medication and suggestions on a therapy. It helps me and i am still adapting. God bless you. And thank you Tom Floria. Hugs. Margaret Archer

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  90. I truly feel your pain. I had my surgery April 2009 and i am still having pain and illness. A gluten free diet help. Also i have a team of gastroenterologist with baylor. I still get cold means my overgrowth bacteria is up. Look up overgrowth bacteria of bowels. I always have diarrhea and wear a diaper. I never know when my bowel will go crazy. Me and my husband see a medical therapist and psychiatrist to help with my pain and mood medications. I suffer with post traumatic stress syndrome and high anxiety. She really helps me accept how my body is now and move forward. It is hard and life changing. I am in and out of the hospital with partial obstructions. Tom Floria wrote a very excellent abc details of what most and he went through. Everyones body adapts differently but find a good gastroenterologist to help you with medication and suggestions on a therapy. It helps me and i am still adapting. God bless you. And thank you Tom Floria. Hugs. Margaret Archer

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  91. there is light at the end of the tunnel..... I had my surgery June of last year and after another visit to the hospital a few months after I gradually began improving. Today my bowel movements are more regular than they have ever been in my life, thanks to an excellent surgeon. I'm finally pain free and have more or less gone back to my regular routine so keep your chin up and stay strong, things will get better.............roz

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  92. That is great for you brooklyngal. Happy you are pain free and normal. Like i wrote everyones body adapts differently. And it depends greatly on what type of bowel resection was performed and how much is removed. Some have cholostemy bags vert painful. That's why i suggested and it is very important to have a good gastroenterologist. I went through several before i found the baylor team and doctor that diagnosed my nutrient difficient and partial impactments. Now when i get these symptoms or overgrowth bacteria i have a plan of action. The more bowel removed the more complicated the problem and knowledge keeps me out of frequent hospital visits ans having the ng tube. It does take the bowels a good amount of time to adjust. But that is why having a good team of doctors helps. They work on diet.pain. nutrients. Helping you adjust. I stll keep a daily journal. I prayer and wish this friend quick healing in her personal journey. But give suggestions not to scare but help. As i had one doctor overlook the bacteria overgrowth and told me i was fine. It landed me a 2 week stay in hospital and almost more surgery. Wish all well and prayers for those still having pain. Hugs. Margaret

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  93. I'm having trouble logging in. Hope I don't repeat this.

    How long do you believe it takes to recover from a small bowel resection? Mine was 4 years ago and now I have IBS.

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  94. How long do you think it should take to for our bowels to recover after a small bowe resection? Mine was almost 4 years ago and now I have IBS. I never really recovered. And yes, I was in the hospital for 12 days after the surgery.

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  95. Hi Marti, I understand your pain. I too have been told I probably had IBC and now that they cut and removed all the damaged bowels I have bad IBD/IBS...I wear a diaper as some days i cannot tell when i will hit. I also had the ileocecal valve removed and that makes a huge difference. I do good on a gluten free diet also found that i am lactose intolerant and cannot have eggs either. You have to play with diet to get it just right. but i have found each day is different you just have to take it one day at a time. I have a new excellent gastroenterologist with Baylor and he also has had bowel removed so he understands and really helps. I am currently trying a medication called Welchol to help slow down the bowel so i can have a few normal days...but i have to be careful as too much can impact and then i have to clean out. Good luck Marti and talk to your doctor about this and look up bacteria overgrowth. Also ask about the Welchol. He also told me to eat fiber wafers & Metamucil clear and natural fiber. I use Align probiotic now and then. But i do spend alot of time in the hospital off and on with bowel issues/blocks. They tell me to stay calm (I always have a nevous stomach) been diagnosed with PTSD from all the surgery. I was 32 days in the hospital with my surgery. But i do have good days. walking helps quite a bit. Hugs, Marg
    Here's a relaxing video
    http://youtu.be/44YGF9fmEEo

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  96. ktwngal - it may be a long while before you feel like yourself again. I had my surgery in September 2010 - and it took at least a year for my system not to be so unpredictable. I had 6 inches of my sigmoid removed about 12 inches from the exit point. :o) Sometimes I wish I had more D than C. But at this point, I cannot live without Miralax. I get severely constipated. Both my GI and my new colo-rectal surgeon cannot figure out what happened. The theories are: Stenosis, a kink in one of the bowels, adhesions causing a stricture or nerve damage.

    I've resigned myself to the never ending cycle of balancing the miralax on a daily basis. Take too much and I'm going #2 every time I pee or more often. Not take enough and I get very uncomfortable with backups. I've had severe intestinal pain episodes that first year so bad that I almost went to ER. But never did. I put up with the pain and was able to get rid of the blockage myself.

    Whatever you do, do NOT take ex-lax. Stick to miralax if you have trouble going. Best to you

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  97. Hi to all my friends old and new who have recently posted. You are all an inspiration to me. Whenever I think I am really aggravated at my system I think of what Margeret, Almita and Marti are going through. I think of the wonderful recovery Broolyngirl has achieved. We almost have a forum going. Good for all of you. Keep looking for that one little thing that seems better today and hang on. I am learning to balance my system with Immodium and/or Limodal. I still have some cramping and go quite often, but I don't experience the pain and bleeding I was encountering a year ago. I think a lot about you folks and wish you nothing but the best. Thank you for commenting and helping me, and each other.

    Tom

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  98. Thank you Tom Floria for writing such an excellent blog room that helps all of talk and share. It really helps. God bless you my dear friend. Hugs. Margaret Archer

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  99. If anyone is interested I have started to write about the recurrence of the colon cancer. This one is more severe and I've only published the first two parts. The outcome is good, but you may want to think twice about the early stage. It was rough. In the meantime thank you Margeret, I appreciate your support. I hope you get better soon, you are very courageous.

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  100. I had my resection a week ago today. I was blessed to have a month to prepare so my exercise habits worked in my favor. I was home on the third day. A couple of things I wish I had known (or I might not have been paying attention when I was told):

    1. Surgical Gas Hurts. That's the stuff they used to inflate my abdomen for the operation. That stuff vents out slowly and in my case, settled in my shoulders. Wow, did that ever hurt. Once it's gone, it's over.

    2. Your First Fart is Painful. Actually, it was the effort your muscles make to move it along.

    3. Use The Pills To Stay Ahead Of The Pain. Waiting until its unbearable means it takes a long time to climb back down that ladder. I'm afraid of addiction but as my Doctor stated, you don't get better if you are in pain. We will monitor your intake and deal with it accordingly.

    4. Get A Walking Stick. That stick is a security blanket as you spread your wings walking. It also helps keep you steady and on your feet when just standing.

    It's only been a week but I feel better every day.

    Nick

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  101. I am now three weeks past my surgery. By almost every measure I have been on a textbook recovery. The only challenges have been a Urinary Tract Infection about day six and continuing fatigue. I returned to work half days last week and longer as I feel up to it. Today I completed an entire work day but went to bed as soon as I walked in the door.

    Nick

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  102. Thank you for this blog. I had my bowel resection surgery on June 25, 2012. I am doing better but this blog helped me realize that what I'm experiencing is normal Thank you thank you!

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  103. Thank you Brenda for you kind words. I am glad that there are folks who find some comfort and information in my article. Remember, patience and take it easy. You have had major surgery and it takes a while to fully recover. Good luck and God Bless.

    Tom Floria

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  104. Thank you for posting the details of your experience. This has helped me the most out of all that i've read since I've been home. I'm 4 weeks post opp from bowel resection surgery. and 10 days prior to that I had an emergency ectopic pregnancy surgery where they ended up removing my left fallopian tube and a large benign tumor on my right ovary. needless to say i was in the hospital for a total of 3 weeks and with having two abdominal surgeries so close together it's hard to know what and where the pain is coming from. I try to walk a lot and yes the go a little a lot couldn't be any more correct. Thank you again for sharing. Cheers from California!

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  105. My husband had resection four months ago. We have from the beginning decided to work on his immune system to rebuild his health. He had a tumour, cancer that had spread to the liver. At this point after CT, PET and MIR scan etc there is no cancer. The problem is recovering from the resection, as his system moves to quick and then go's the other way. It a difficult job and hard to work out. Would love to see more weight on him. I would love to hear from some one that has taken a natural alterative approach like us. The medical profession have been perplexed by his recovery.

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  106. Thanks for starting this blog. It has been very helpful.

    I had a resection done 3 weeks ago due to scar tissue. I too had my stomach cut open. They removed 18 inches of my colon. Still have some pain off and on. I was in the hospital for a week.

    I had my first bowel movement in the hospital. It was very painful and I was on the toilet for 45 minutes. After that the stools were loose and I had a few accidents. They had started me out on a liquid diet. After a day, they switched me to solids since I did not have any problem with solids.

    I was glad to go home, thinking I would get more sleep. They sent me home with Norco. I woke up every two hours due to pain. I would get up and stretch a bit. Tried going back to bed but my back did not like it so I had to set in a chair for awhile. This went on for the first week and a half.

    I am sleeping better now. Still wake up every 2 or 3 hours but can get up and stretch, got to the bathroom and get back into bed. I have also cut back on the Norco. I am down to one pill at bedtime.

    Debra.

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  107. This is for Debra: Thanks for the comment. I recall I had a little pain for a while and my stools were quite soft. I also went frequently and my sleep has been interrupted for quite a while. However, I rarely ever slept a night through much of my life so I am not bothered by it. Relax and be patient. You sound like you are doing fine. It takes a while, your strength and stamina will be less than optimal at first, but it comes back, slowly but it comes back.

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  108. Thank you for sharing this. I almost died, but I am in my 7th month of recovery and it has been hell. Your story has been comforting to me and lets me feel that I am not alone in all ofthis.

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  109. This blog and the responses have been very helpful. I now have a more realistic picture and that increases my hope. It will still be hard, but now I know this is normal. I will continue to read this blog. Thank you for the courage to share this we me and others.

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  110. This is for Rey Baca. Thank you for your comments. I have been very pleased at the response, the blog and other's responses appear to have helped others and that is precisely what I wanted to achieve.

    I wonder if you might share a little more with us. You said you almost died, sounds like an emergency surgery. Recovery is long and slow. Patience is one of the watch words. If you are interested in personal contact my email is tfloria@grnco.net and I will respond. I've been through two now and anything I can do to help is important to me.

    Tom Floria

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  111. I haven't been in here in a long time. Hope it's not too late to post a question.

    I was wondering if our abdominal muscles can be weakened by a small bowel resection. I had a blockage 4 years ago and they did surgery to correct it. I am so weak now... everywhere. Back, ribs, abs... all over. I realize I'm 62, but I should be able to lift more than one piece of firewood at one time!! Maybe I'm just getting older, but I still think I should be able to do some of the things I used to do. Of course, I have MS and Graves disease. So I guess they might contribute to this weakness.

    I'd really appreciate some input.

    Thanks

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  112. Hello Marti:
    Good to hear from you. I do not know how many people follow this blog on a regular basis but I am certainly happy to post your comment/question.

    I would think you should have more muscle strength in you abdomen. Have the Dr.'s suggested some physical therapy? I have had two bowel resections where I was cut from my navel to my groin area plus one laparoscopic surgery and I'm picking up 50# bags of dog food and not having any where near the difficulty you describe. Good luck and it was nice to hear from you after quite a while.

    Tom

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  113. Thanks Tom. Good to hear you are doing well. Let's not forget that I weigh in at 94 lbs. That might make a difference. All I know is that my tummy muscles hurt every time I try to lift anything. We bought small cuts of firewood just for the purpose of allowing me to help with it. Still does not work well. And I still get some muscle type pain with bowel movements... sometimes. I know I need to do some core strenghthening exercises, but damn... everything hurts. I honestly think there was some nerve damage and it will never be better. My surgery was open like yours. Thanks for the reply. Just thought I'd check in with the group. Be well friend.

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  114. Hi Yoopertom,

    I am a 54 year old male.

    Had my resection to my bowel with full incision like yourself Sept 19 2013.
    Reading your blog nearly mirrors the same as I am going thru at the moment.

    Was told that I have a metastatic cancer of the bowel which has spread into my abdomen. I will be starting chemo in the next 2 weeks.

    Before all of this happened I was pretty fit. Weighed 95 kg and ate like a horse. My bowel motions were as regular as clockwork as well.

    Now 6 weeks after surgery, my appetite as well as weight seem to be deserting me.

    I do have some pain but is manageable as I know when the signs are there.

    I do have a couple of questions to run past you if you don't mind.

    1. How long does the metallic taste wear off roughly ?

    Seems when I get this taste when eating, it really puts me off my food and lose my appetite.
    I find fresh fruit and vegetables are all good to eat.

    2. When approx does your bowel motions return to a sense of normality ?

    My bowel feels like it has been transplanted with a rabbits one as well.
    I seem to be pushing pretty had to clear anything.

    Thanks for reading this and hope everything is all well with you.

    Regards,
    Trevor from Nelson New Zealand.

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  115. Hello Trevor.
    If you'd like to send questions to my email address it is tfloria@grnco.net
    In regards to your questions one thing I have learned from the various comments and discussions I've had with folks is not two situations are exactly the same. I say that because I'd like to say something like 44 days on the taste and 6 months on the bowel motions. But I've learned that is not true.
    Question 1: It seemed to take a while for that metallic taste to pass. I want to say longer than a month but you are already 6 weeks out. I like a beer from time to time but I remember the taste being so foul I could not drink it. It does go away, I would think you should be noticing a lessening pretty soon.
    Question 2: I had to chuckle at your comment about the rabbit colon. I've characterized my situation as I go a little a lot. My tumor was so low and it recurred that I no longer have a rectum, the accumulation chamber. I also do not have normal sensations of having to go. You have a great deal of healing and inflammation in the area and I found my bowels to be very susceptible to stress and unhappy over being cut on. It is like your body is trying to figure out a new routine. I will say for some who have commented on my blog it seems like six months to a year before real normalcy returns. For me, it has never returned. I just had to adopt the new paradigm.
    Hope you are continuing to mend and if you'd like to stay in touch I'd appreciate it. Thanks for the kind comments, glad I was of some help.

    Tom Floria

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  116. Hi Tom and other resectioners,

    Thank you for all of your information it has been so helpful and in a weird way; comforting to know i am not alone.
    Fortunately my resection was due to meckals diverticulitis which is rare and usually in males (I'm female). My surgery was 14/1/14, done as emergency open surgery. So it has been 18 days, and I must say things have greatly improved in the last 5 days. The biggest thing that still affects me is the sharp pains in my lower sides (not where my incision is). When it happens it is sharp similar to a stitch but like a knife stabbing me. Of course my incision area is tender and sore but it is this other pain that has me reaching for the endone when paracetamol or ibuprofen doesn't work. Does anyone else feel this similar pain and is it 'normal'?
    I am due for my check up in approx 7 days.
    Thanks again to everyone for sharing and especially to Tom for creating this blog
    Alison
    36 year old usually healthy female, from Australia

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  117. Hi Tom and other resectioners,

    Thank you for all of your information it has been so helpful and in a weird way; comforting to know i am not alone.
    Fortunately my resection was due to meckals diverticulitis which is rare and usually in males (I'm female). My surgery was 14/1/14, done as emergency open surgery. So it has been 18 days, and I must say things have greatly improved in the last 5 days. The biggest thing that still affects me is the sharp pains in my lower sides (not where my incision is). When it happens it is sharp similar to a stitch but like a knife stabbing me. Of course my incision area is tender and sore but it is this other pain that has me reaching for the endone when paracetamol or ibuprofen doesn't work. Does anyone else feel this similar pain and is it 'normal'?
    I am due for my check up in approx 7 days.
    Thanks again to everyone for sharing and especially to Tom for creating this blog
    Alison
    36 year old usually healthy female, from Australia

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    1. Dear Alison

      [but firstly, thanks to Tom for this great site, and to others for sharing their post resection-op experiences]

      Alison ... I can completely sympathise with your experience. In fact, I came across this page searching for "stitch like pain after bowel resection"!

      I am 8 weeks post emergency right hemi-colectomy for an abcessed diverticuli (not Meckels but another rare congential form), and have recovered well by any account. In fact, now that the 12cm incision has (almost) healed and is not painful, the only sensation I have is a stitch-like 'niggle' roughly where the resection is, but also occasionally on the left.

      When I am feeling rationale, I have put it down to the colon getting over its rough treatment and moving about when it passes gas and solids along. When I am less rationale and more anxious, I fear that it is adhesion or a leak.

      I have been reassured that this is nothing to worry about (unless it gets *very* painful), and will fade over time. I have a consultation next week and will raise this then, but as far as I can tell, it's all a normal part of the recovery process after what was major, aggressive open emergency surgery.

      Ben
      42, healthy, usually lucky, Cambridge, UK

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  118. Hi Alison:
    Thank you for your comments. It means a great deal to me that others are being helped from my experience. I sometimes encounter a pain similar to the one you describe, it is usually gas. It should pass fairly quickly. It can also just be your abdominal area readjusting to the new room it has. You should mention it during your check up but I wouldn't put too much worry into it. Glad your recovery is progressing so well.

    Tom

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  120. Thank you for posting this. I am looking for anything that will give me some form of relief. My boyfriend is currently in the hospital for an obstruction. It's been two and a half weeks since his surgery and he was experiencing a lot of pain, unable to eat, vomiting, and had a general sense of weakness. He is a stubborn man, but he finally went to the hospital yesterday and was admitted again. He has a bowel obstruction. They are still unsure whether or not it's scar tissue or something else. He has a nasal tube that is draining the fluid. So far, it's had a kink or two but we won't know the next step until Monday. If it doesn't resolve on it's own they may want to operate again. I feel terrible. I'm hoping it's not anything that is too serious, although this was a major surgery. He has stage four colon cancer with mes. to the liver. He had part of his liver, colon, and his gallbladder removed. It body is under tremendous pressure. I just hope he recovers very soon so we can live again. Cancer sucks! thank you again.
    - Jennifer from ny

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  121. I have crohns an I have had bowel problems for years. About a year ago I started having more problems not begin able to have a bm. Feeling full not wanting to eat drink a lot pain. My GI Dr sent me to a surgeon an after some test I had a stricture on my fight side in the small bowel. On march 4 2014 I had a small bowel resection it was done laproscopicly. I am about 6 weeks out an I still have a lot pain an pain in my incision an right side. I still can't sleep an no appetite I can hardly drink fluids. I have very loose stools several times a day an have gas that's very nasty has a sickening smell. I thought I would be feeling better by now I feel as bad as before my surgery the only difference I can go an if you have crohns you know the GO! Didn't know if anyone has had these issues? Any help would be great full.

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  122. Crohn's disease is a terrible affliction. I have know some people who have had that. However, my experience is with colorectal cancer and I don't think I can offer you anything of substance. I will tell you that the output of the small intestine is bad. I had an ileostomy for about 10 weeks and changing the bag was a real issue with odor. Plus I've had odor problems after surgery. I think it is part of the healing process and will go on for some time. Just be glad you are passing gas and you bowels seem to be working.

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  123. Thanks for the reply. I am glad things are working just freaking out about the discomfort an issues I'm still having, I wish you the best an hope things will continue to get better for you. Thanks again

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  124. Thanks Ben, I appreciate other's adding their comments to help in areas I have little or no knowledge. It is appreciated.

    Tom

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  125. Thank you for this enlightening blog. I was researching for my 82 year old mother's pending colon surgery for help with what I can expect as her care giver and your honesty has been so helpful. Unfortunately, she was told 8 years ago to have the surgery but felt the Dr and her husband were trying to control her body and her decision so she did not have it. She would have been 8 years younger and so much healthier back then but she says she is happy she made that decision even though she is now extremely frail and down to 91lbs so I can only pray that she will get through the 2 surgeries ok, both physically, mentally and spiritually. She is already experiencing anxiety and depression so this blog helped me to realize that she may get worse and I have to be patient. On top of it all, she is starting dementia that I will also have to deal with. The hard part is I live in TN and she lives in ME so I can't just drive over to see her every day.
    Thank you again for being so honest.
    CherylQ842

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  126. Thank you for you comments. I am sure surgery will be hard on a person 82, however techniques and procedures improve constantly so I would believe she should be OK. Good luck to her.

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  127. Hello and thank you so much for writing frankly and candidly about your experience. I located it by way of a Google search and because of your blunt, straight-forward approach found some very useful experience in which to compare to my own. It's not as though I wrote "right colectomy I don't feel pretty" in the search engine.

    I am three weeks and one day post-op from an emergency right colectomy surgery via the old 12" vertical incision up the abdominal muscles method. I am 49 years old and retired.

    Prior to my surgery, one of the greatest joys of my life was cooking and as we know, the ability to taste the dishes we create is an integral part of the experience. Just right before the surgery and still to this day, there is a strange metallic, soapy chemical taste in my mouth all the time and it is very disheartening to this enthusiastic home cook. If I read your blog correctly, this will eventually subside or has in your own experience.

    I decided pain meds were not for me because of all the horror stories associated with addiction I have heard over the years, so after a day or two of home recovery, I stopped taking them and just tolerated the pain. After reading your blog, I'm glad I was too scared of pain meds to take them!

    Laxatives made me want to go ALL the time, however my skinny butt would go numb sitting there for hours. So I stopped taking those, too. I have discovered that choice of fruits to eat are a much better option as a natural laxative. Texas peaches keep things moving right along, as does fruit cocktail with a little cottage cheese, red grapes and yogurts. Forget taking laxatives. Fruits do a great job on me. I snack on them several times a day in addition to moderately-portioned breakfast lunch and supper that seem to be just a bit less than what I consumed pre-surgery.

    My abdomen remains sore and I anticipate a long time to heal. I resemble a man 30 years older than I should in physicality, but I think that will improve with time. I shuffle instead of walk and sometimes rely on a cane for balance on the worst of days. I also take great joy in cooking again, even though I don't move as quickly, sometimes stop for a rest AND it is a little difficult to know if it tastes right. But it sure does help me to feel normal and productive again.

    I limit my intake of breads and other doughy foods, have a small snack of fancy cheese and good crackers on a daily basis and my sweet tooth is remarkably insatiable, but even that need for sweets appears to be waning as time passes. All signs point toward life returning to something more normal in the coming month or two and I am happy about that.

    Please know that there is yet another person out there who also found a lack of understanding for what to expect during post-op home recovery and your writings certainly did help me a great deal.

    With best regards,

    Keith in Houston, Texas (surgery 23 Jun 2014)

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    1. Thank you Keith for your detailed information. Sharing information is the best the internet does, and Tom's page does a great job of sharing. Reading manuals from Sages-dot-org and reading reports of patients who have undergone colon resection, I am struck by parallel information threads that should be connected.
      For instance, the list of "complications" that can happen during colon surgery each have a result afterwards. The comments on this page seem to be from people who are suffering from "complications" that occur in the Operating Theater. Minor complications like unskilled insertion of catheters or leaving them in too long cause bladder infections. Major complications like twisting the colon accidentally when constructing the anastamosis can cause obstructions that occur months later. Damaging the ureter when freeing up the connections in laparoscopy can cause many problems including a "failure to thrive" tiredness, fatigue and slow recovery.
      Meanwhile, some people (probably the majority) get through a colon resection without any complications- no "oops" moments, no training of new residents. Everything is perfect. Thus they think of the others as complainers, instead of realizing that they lucked out while some other people got the short straw and must spend years recovering from what might have been an incidental mistake on the part of an operating team member.

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  129. Thank you Keith In Houston. My best wishes for a good recovery and be patient, remember, you've had major surgery.

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  130. I am a 70 year old male (Las Vegas, NV) . I had laparascopic sigmoid bowel resection on July 1, 2014. At the time I had blood in my stool, resulting in anemia.. They found a 8 inch by 1 3/8 diverticulitis mass (3/8 in thick) in my sigmoid. No cancer found. After the sigmoid was re-sectioned I am on the mend, much as was discussed in other accounts. However, I still have a lot of blood in the stool. Dr(s) surmise that it is bleeding hemorrhoids. Just passed the 2nd month anniversary of the surgery. Anyone have blood in the stool before or after their surgery?

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  131. I had my colectomy on Sept 8th. He took 12" out. The first week was horrible, I went home from hospital on day 4 after I was walking all over the place and passing gas and small amount of BM. I was happy to be home but miserable as well. By Monday the 15th I started to notice I was feeling more myself. I did suffer from tons of gas and bloating that first week. Didn't matter what I ate, I bloated right up and it stretched my staples causing pain. By the 17th I started to notice my belly button was bright red (I had laproscopic) and I went to doctor the next day. He put me on antibiotics and on the 19th I saw my surgeon who removed the staples. My wound immediately opened up. I now have a gaping hole in my belly button that is 2" deep. I have a nurse come everyday for 2 weeks to remove packing and reapply. The thought of my belly button being opened is beyond gross to me and I had a few hysterical crying fits. Its been 5 days now so I am getting used to it. I am on 2 weeks and 1 day post surgery and I am back at work since yesterday. I was told not to go back but I feel fine and I need to be at work to get paid. I haven't had any pain since I was in the hospital back on Sept 10th. I sometimes get a little tired but I was like that before surgery. Aside from the belly wound, I think I am recovering quite well. I am almost back to my fast walking pace and will continue to extend the distance of my walks. I did/do still have the problem most others have had with the feeling of always having to go to the bathroom but nothing comes out most of the time. I do have BM's but the urge is there alot more then I actually go. I noticed this is getting better. I usually go about 4 times a day. Two days ago it felt like the muscles were always engaged. Its much better but when I do have a BM, its not coming out so easily. They are long and thin and mostly soft. I look forward to having that normalize in the near future. I try to drink as much water as I can stand. I am 48YO female. Thanks for this blog. Great to read other peoples experiences.

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  132. I also had a wound open up on my belly. I was told to take a long medical swab and open the wound every day and get as much of that stuff out as I could. After about a week it started to heal, it healed well and left no scar. Good luck. I am glad you found the site and hope you will recommend it to others.

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  133. Getting ready to go down this path. Thanks for the information.

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