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surgery

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi everyone,
I had surgery for rectal cancer 3 weeks ago. The surgery turned out to be more complicated than anticipated and lasted 9 hours. The surgeon removed the entire rectum and I now have a permanent colostomy. The tumor was large, but did not spread. All 18 lymph nodes were cancer free. I will be going back on chemo as a precaution because the tumor was so large.

I had expected to bounce back after surgery very quickly, but that has not been the case. I spent 9 days in the hospital and am still wiped out. I have an incision in the front and the behind, making it difficult to sit or find a comfortable position. Does anyone have any advice for a faster recovery. I have been walking and eating healthy. At this point, I'm really bored, but don't really feel up to doing a whole lot.
Thanks, Jamie

kangatoo's picture
kangatoo
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hiya Jamie--nice to have you back with us.Sorry to hear about the rough time you have had but I guess the 'ol saying is true--"no pain, no gain".
We hope there is comfort knowing that the tumour did not spread and your nodes are clean.Chemo is a bit of a bummer but it will hopefully knock out any remaining cells.A friend of mine had surgery and also ended up with a bag--HEY--that was 18 years ago and he is still going strong!!!!!!In those days chemo was not a real option so it goes to show that your future can be very positive Jamie.He now looks on the colostomy as a life saver and just another part of his dayly routine.I can't help you on advice re your wound on the behind but if you have a large wound on the tummy(mine was from pubic bone to breastbone) you will find that it takes quite some time for your tummy to get back to some normality.My surgery was back in aug. 03 and my tummy still is fairly tight.
Know how you feel with the boredom--yu just have to give it a chance Jamie--don't push yourself--your body will take some time to recover--this has been one major op. for you and only time is going to improve things.
Don't be too hard on yourself--give your body and your mind some slack.--yu will get there!
luv n huggs , kanga n Jen

taunya's picture
taunya
Posts: 392
Joined: Jul 2002

Hi Jamie,
It sounds like you are getting better pretty quickly. After 9 big ones in the hospital, you must be exauhsted! If you are bored and restlees but still don't feel well enough to get going, you are on the mend! Honestly, it sounds like you are doing remarkably well. It just doesn't happen as quickly as we would like. I was surprised at how much the surgery took out of me and if you are having chemo too...You sound great. Don't get bummed, you will be back to yourself pretty quickly!
Hugs to you,
Taunya

Kanort's picture
Kanort
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Jamie,

I'm sorry to hear about your situation, but it sounds like your well on your way to recovery. Having no lymph node involvement is a definite plus. Nutrition and exercise will help your body heal and those things you are already doing.

It's easy to get frustrated when our minds are ready to get on with life and our body needs a little more time. Be kind to yourself, and let your body heal. I know that is easier said than done because I'm four weeks out of chemo and I tire more easily than I would like.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Hugs,

Kay

jana11
Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

Jamie,
I had rectal surgery 2/03, and have a permanent colostomy. I had a large incision - front only and had plastic surgery using abd muscles. My incision goes from sternum to pubic bone also! Recovery from such a large operation takes time. After my surgery I couldn't sit down because the graft would get too much pressure, so I laid on my side for quite a while. Getting up and down was difficult, but it got easier with time.

Walk often, SLOWLY increasing distance. Do some comfortable stretches - GRADUALLY increasing. My surgeon told me most people get some chronic butt pain - I really don't have any. I attribute my lack of pain to yoga. In the future, when you body is more relaxed - try yoga.

Like everyone has told you. Be easy on yourself. It is a HUGE surgery. Congratulations on lymph nodes not being involved. You are now cancer free... HURRAY.

If you don't already have a donut cushion to sit with get one - it is a life saver. It's great in the car.

Wishing you a speedy recovery. jana

allsmiles
Posts: 25
Joined: Jun 2004

Jamie,
First let me say that you are amazing! My husband had about the same type surgery a year ago and was so wiped out that I can't believe you are doing so well. let me say again...you are amazing. The only thing that helped those hours of spending in the hospital was I developed a new hobby of knitting chemo caps for other patients. Do you know anyone who could come teach you? It's real easy and a great way to reach out to others as I know they have reached out to you. Blessings to you for an even faster recovery.
Allsmiles

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