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Advice on Life after Reversal

rdy2shop
Posts: 37
Joined: Apr 2004

Hi everyone,
My husband had a ileostomy reversal a month ago. Surgery went very well. Now he is trying to get his body back to normal. He sometimes goes to the bathroom 10 times a day. He'll go to the bathroom then 5 minutes later feel like he has to go again. I know that this is normal, but I was wondering if any of you have any suggestions or advice on how to get your system working better. He feels like his backside is "raw" which I'm sure it feels like that. Any suggestions?

Thanks
Elaine

alihamilton's picture
alihamilton
Posts: 344
Joined: Jan 2004

I am sure you will get better advice from others who have had a reversal but just to say, my husband did not have an ileostomy or colostomy and yet he still goes to the bathroom much more often than he used to before surgery a year ago. I have read similar reports from others too. We have to remember that the colon is much shorter after surgery so the process is much speedier than before. I am sure your husband's situation will settle down soon and even if he does continue to go more often, it can be somewhat controlled by timing food intake. I do hope he gets more comfortable soon.

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1075
Joined: Aug 2003

OMG, I can totally relate to this. I had my reversal done before I had my post-op chemo. (BIG MISTAKE) I had diarrhea so bad I received only 4 out of 12 chemo treatments. Some days the diarrhea was so bad I couldn't even go get the mail. I thought I would be attached to a toilet forever. It took me months to get better. I had a colonoscopy done because I had so many problems re-gaining bowel control. That showed just surgical changes. My rectal tumor was very low. Let me tell you what helps me. I take tub baths for the sore bottom. I take one every nite. Sometimes I take one right after work also. I have tried every ointment and cream, both prescription and over the counter. Vaseline works best. I put on every morning and every nite and sometimes during the day as needed. I just put it on a tissue and put it where it is hurts. I buy it in the tube. I also take 2 lomotil every day and then again sometimes at nite also. I can usually tell when I am not done going and stay near a bathroom. I also wear a pad, just in case, although I usually make it to the bathroom. I also take tincture of opium on occasion if I go too much and need to go out. Diet doesn't seem to affect my bathroom trips. I never thought I would be able to go back to work. I had my reversal on 8/18/03 and went back to work 10/20/03 part time and full time in Jan. It hasn't been easy, but it is so much better. I tried fiber which works for many people to slow things up, but for me it was much worse. I hope this helps. If you have any more specific questions , just ask. But make sure you tell him, IT DOES GET BETTER. Also buy Puffs or baby wipes instead of toilet paper.
Maureen

tkd3g
Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi Elaine and hello to your husband. My dad had an illiostomy for a couple of months after his surgery. He was in his mid 60's then. ( 7 years have past and he is cancer free ) He did have the same problems as your husband. It will get better with time, but it is a great big pain in the butt. Excuse the pun.

I managed to get out of my surgery without an illiostomy. I'm not sure how. They marked me and were all ready to do it. Anyway, I can relate to the frequency and irritation problems. My surgeon said that it is perectly normal to "feel" like you have to go all the time. It will get better, but the surgery being so low, definately effects going to the bathroom. He suggested to me...lots of water, fiber diet, exercise and watch the foods you eat.

My personal advice for the sore bottom - use A &D ointment. (for baby diaper rash). When I am having a "frequent" day I put it on after every trip to the bathroom. I do use a thin sanitary pad, because the ointment doesn't get absorbed into the skin. It is petroleum based and could "stain" the underwear. I don't know if your husband would be embarassed to try the pads, but there is no way anyone would know he had it.

I also bought the SOFTEST toilet paper I could find. It is much less irritating to the skin. Be careful of the wipes, they may work for you, but my skin got raw from them. ( try a bit of warm water on the toilet tissue )

Hope this helps. He is not alone. Sometimes I think I'm going to end up with the Standard Toilet logo on my butt!! :)

Have a great day.

Barb

StacyGleaso's picture
StacyGleaso
Posts: 1246
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Elaine,

I had my reversal done after nine months, six of those with chemo. I had no complications at all, but I do remember my doctor saying that there will be changes for up to 36 months...totalling 3 yrs. As your hubby probably remembers from his ileostomy, certain foods will give different reactions to bowels. Try to reduce the amounts of ruffage and fruits. Going back to the "bland diet" for a while may help. Avoiding spicy foods and things like that may also help slow down things.

You let him know the tough part is behind him (oh, do these puns EVER stop?!?!?), and he's come SO far, that this minor inconvenience will soon pass (No, I guess the puns really don't stop!).

Keep strong,

Stacy

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