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Rectal Cancer (APR) surgery scheduled for husband-need encouragement

mamalea333's picture
mamalea333
Posts: 27
Joined: Feb 2012

I would love to hear from anyone who has had this surgery for rectal cancer. My husband sailed thru the 6 weeks of chemo/radiation. No problems at all with the chemo, except he learned to "loath" the constant wearing of the pump (5fu) and he had the ususal severe skin irritations in the groin area, where they treated the nodes that were infected & the "exit" area irritation, of course...but he never really complained & worked and carried on as normal the entire process. He is a "young" 46 year old, who never lets anything stop him from doing much of anything. He is thin, but strong & healthy. He will have to have his anus, rectum & cygmoig (sp) colon removed...it will be done using robotics as well as traditional incisions at the "exit" area and below the navel..he will have a perm. colostomy. we are strong in our faith, but I am scared to death..he isn't ..but I am. would love to hear anyone's suggestions & encouraging words. It was a large tumor (stage 3 with lymph node involvement) prior to rad/chemo. He feels wonderful now, however Surgery looms..

smokeyjoe
Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

I haven't had this surgery or radiation....I had a resection of the colon and the chemotherapy. Just wishing your husband all the best for his upcoming surgery. There are others on this forum with experience in this area that I am sure will chime in and give you lots of good advice.

RobinKaye
Posts: 93
Joined: Nov 2011

My husband had an LAR for a tumor 3 cm from the anal verge. Has an ileo that will be reversed after he finishes the adjuvant chemo.

The surgery wasn't fun but I think there was more suffering for him during the chemorad. Your husband (17 yrs younger than mine) did well during this stage, he should be fine going through the surgery.

The best advice I can give you for after the surgery is to read John 23's blog on this site for help with dealing with the ostomy. Everybody had a different idea about what products to use, John essentially uses none. I finally had the nerve to take him at his word and the results have been fantastic. So...if you're lurking John, thank you!

My husbands tumor was large and there was lymph node involvement in the tumor area as well as regional tumors along the iliac. He is doing fine, NED. Your husband will get through this, you're halfway there and imo, you've done the hardest part (chemorad).

Grace14
Posts: 64
Joined: Sep 2011

I usually just lurk on this forum but..I had APR surgery in 2010. Recovery was hard because I ended up having an abcess so my recovery took alot longer. I think it's about 4 to 6 weeks recovery time. I was stage 2 with no lymph nodes involved. My tumor was large also don't remember how large in fact I can't remember much back then it's kind of a blur. I also had the chemo after surgery Folfox 4 that was tough but manageable. Easter will be 2 years that I was diagnosed and so far so good! Hang in there your husband is going to be fine it just takes time and alot of patience.

mamalea333's picture
mamalea333
Posts: 27
Joined: Feb 2012

this is encouraging..thank you for sharing this with me :-)

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

I had this surgery, plus a total hysterectomy, just over 2 years ago.

Hopefully your hubby has seen or will be an ostomy nurse prior to surgery so that the optimum point for stoma placement can be marked. This person will also give you the low down on how to manage an ostomy and live well with it. However if you or he need more info or have questions, just ask them here as there are a number of us who have an ostomy.

There are two things which the docs will push for while in the hospital...walking and output from the ostomy.

Once home one of the biggest things to remember is NO LIFTING. As tempting as it will be especially when feeling better, limiting lifting to very light things (for a while) may help to avoid hernia or other issues.

Not sure what your surgeon has planned for closing the 'exit' incisions. Some here had traditional stitches while my surgeon used surgical super glue. I had no issues of pulling or draining that others had. You may want to ask your surgeon's opinion.

While any surgery has its risks, this should go fine. And living with an ostomy is very doable with few if any limitations.

Best wishes to you both and please let us hear from you on how things go,

Marie who loves kitties

mamalea333's picture
mamalea333
Posts: 27
Joined: Feb 2012

God bless you Marie!
(and everyone)...he will see a stoma nurse prior to surgery, we are told by others in our local area who are ostomates that she is an excellent nurse in this field, so we should be in good shape for this. Also our surgeon, has an extremely high reputation with those in the medical field in our city as well as his patients. He told us he would be puting a mesh lining inside the abdomen to help guard against hernias, however we will still be very cautious to keep that from happening. I have been reading everything I can regarding ostomies, and from what I can tell, it's all in how you look at it..I believe we will keep positve about this & it will be ok..I am so encouraged about how well people get along with these..that if they can do it, so can we! I will ask about the surgical super glue..I am concerned about pain & how much he will suffer. It sounds like such a hard thing to go thru..I thank you all for responding. it is such a huge help to talk with others who have been there.

coloCan
Posts: 1891
Joined: Oct 2009

front and stitches in the rear butt the end is the same....Docs are gonna want husband walking some the very next day--I thought they were crazy but,painful as it is--andthere are meds available to deal with that--walking improves and speeds up recovery. Ask about chewing gum after surgery to more quickly perk up digestive system....Don't be frightened by all the tubes sticking out:for pain,drainage,meds,etc.....I stayed 8 days in hosp but thats cause,not knowing the importance of moving about, i begged off one day,promising to make up for it the next and that day passed out due to overexertion.....However bad the pain is,it does go away

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

You mentioned concern about pain. While I was in the hospital I had a morphine pain pump. It is not 'meds on demand' but does give you the ability to get meds, if it is within the prescribed timeframe, without waiting for a nurse to get to you. Some folks, like my son, have an adverse reaction to morphine but there are other drugs which will do the trick.

I took pain pills home with me but was off them within a week or less, as I didn't want to become dependent. One thing I didn't mention before was that I found it more comfortable to be in a recliner rather than a bed. A pillow in the seat and help getting it to a reclining position seemed to help from having pulling on the incision sites. Of course, once the staples in the long front incision were taken out the pulling was less of an issue.

Sounds like you are in good hands with your medical team.

Hugs,

Marie who loves kitties

jjjackieo's picture
jjjackieo
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2011

hi my name is Jackie,, i had colenrectal cancer 2008 and now i have to make a choice to have a colostomy put on, as we have tryed biofeed back and there are still complications, which is very painfull for me,,, but i am just wondering what the quality of life would be like,,, painfull,, how i will feel as a women,, those type of things. im just looking for some feed back,, If anyone can help ,, i would love the imput,, thanks jackie

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

Let me start by putting your message in a seperate thread so that you can get noticed and get feedback.

lauragb
Posts: 370
Joined: Aug 2011

I had this surgery, front open incision with complete hysterectomy in November. I did not have my anus removed and currently have a temporary ileostomy. I will admit that I did have a lot of pain and had issues with getting relief from meds. This isn't typical though.(the meds problem). I didn't walk as much as I should have and ended up with an ileus (blockage) that kept me in the hospital some extra days. That said, I have healed fine from the surgery and feel pretty good right now. I went off pain meds early because I didn't want them to interfere with output after having had the blockage so I did have some pain after I went home but it was tolerable. Your husband sounds like he will sail through just fine. It's another stepping stone in the treatment but once it's done, it's done. I had a great surgeon and stoma nurses so have adjusted well to the ileostomy which by the way will be taken down soon. I am affirming positive thoughts and prayers your way that your husband had a great response to his chemoradiation and will receive a glowing pathology report (well, maybe we don't want it to glow, but one thats shows a big reduction from his initial staging!)
Sending you light,
Laura

danker's picture
danker
Posts: 826
Joined: Apr 2012

best of luck with your future take down. Probably from a loose staple,my takedown resulted in a fistula. six more weeks with a bag on the fistula. But it healed itself from the inside out!!! That was all two years ago. living normal life now with just occasional diarrhea. You too will survive like me.especially being younger(I was 77 at the time)
i

steveandnat's picture
steveandnat
Posts: 887
Joined: Sep 2011

I didn't have any surgery but wanted to let you know I will be praying everything works out. Sounds like your husband is real positive and will do what it takes to fight this awful cancer. Jeff

mamalea333's picture
mamalea333
Posts: 27
Joined: Feb 2012

words of encouragement...I have been keep all people on this csn in my prayers each day. wishing you all a blessed Easter.

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi. The surgery is fairly major although I have to agree with someone else who posted -- the irritation and pain during chemoradiation was probably the most painful experience for me and that is behind him now. My advice for the surgery is (a) adequate pain management and (b) walk, walk, walk -- as soon as you can after the operation and then keep walking after you get home. I believe it helps with healing. I am glad you have a great stoma nurse on hand. They are angels. I have had a permanent colostomy for about 9 years. It takes some adjustment at first -- both practical and emotional. But it soon becomes a very minor part of your life. I lead an active life and it doesn't really interfere at all.

Good luck to you both

Tara

mamalea333's picture
mamalea333
Posts: 27
Joined: Feb 2012

thank you Tara & everyone for sharing your experiences. I feel so much better talking to people who have been there. Ready to get this over with..you are ALL in our prayers.

pepebcn's picture
pepebcn
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

Hugs mamalea.

djm_2010
Posts: 52
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello, i also had my APR last 2010 at 45y, i also sailed thru my chemoradiation but instead of 5fu i had the oral form which is xeloda. Let him eat anything he wants and build up his body and immunity because he will really lose weight after the APR and during his chemo. I ate a lot of food and gained weight after my chemorad and its good coz i think i lost around 50 lbs after my OR. The pain is bearable after the surgery because of the post op meds. Just dont eat anything fatty foods after the OR because its very hard to digest and he might end up having ileus. I did and instead of staying for only 7days in the hospital, it was extended to another week. Try checking out sites like ostomyland or c3life.com for the food to eat after colostomy and how to adjust with ostomy. It really helped me a lot to adjust. Check out also the underwear for ostomates at ostomysecrets, this really helped me and is my lifesaver. I have finished, my chemo last May 2011, i was dx t have stage 2 rectal cancer. My repeat scans are all negative, my cea is normal. Take it one day at a time, he is still young and before you know it, its over. There is life after cancer, i have travelled a lot after my chemo and OR, already working full time, which i did even when i was having my chemo (part time). I was ale to work 6 weeks after my APR but only part time. Life for me now is good, even after my cancer, i take a look and just focus on the better things in life and stop to smell the roses and discover that God has been so good to me. Take care, prayers to your husband, you and youre family!

Dyanclark's picture
Dyanclark
Posts: 282
Joined: Apr 2012

Your husband should do fine, my husband had same surgery 4 years ago. He had surgery on a Wed and was home on Sunday with full incision. He had radiation after surgery. Had been in remission for 4 years but now has spread to a few nodes. He is currently doing chemo so far not to bad and CEA went from 46 to 22. Hope he will be back in remission, he is 67 years old.

steved
Posts: 836
Joined: Apr 2004

I had my APR in 2004 in Britain (Anterior only) after chemoradiation.HAted hospital and being ill but once home recovery was slow but steady- back to work at three months with post op chemo done while working. Had a stoma for a year which simply became normal once it slowed down. The bowels take a while to learn control and the stoma in fact makes that easier- not running to the toilet every ten minutes.
I too was young (31 back then) and slim and all that work in your favour. Don't totally believe him though if he says he ain't scared- we men are good at hiding all that but it scares the hell out of the bravest of us. However, a positive attitude will go a long way in aiding his recovery and coping with life afterwards.
All the best and let us know how things go- we love a good story here!
steve

Dyanclark's picture
Dyanclark
Posts: 282
Joined: Apr 2012

One thing I forgot to mention be sure his pain meds in hospital have anti nausea, most pain meds cause headach & nausea.

Grace14
Posts: 64
Joined: Sep 2011

I also had APR Surgery for stage 2 RC Cancer on July 2010. I'll have to say...for me it was a tough recovery. I had an abcess which slowed down my recovery process, then had 4 months of chemo which for me was the worst part of this cancer crap. The first few days after chemo were the worst just make sure you follow the directions as far as meds go and you will be fine. The biggest problem for me was the oxaliplatin I did not like how I could not drink anything cold that was terrible and I had chemo in the winter so I couldn't touch anything cold. He will get through it just fine we all do. I can't believe all the people with stage 2 who have had a recurrence so much for catching it early!!

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

Our thoughts and Prayers are with you and your husband!

My Big C Journey started 2 weeks before my 44th birthday. I am rolling up on 49. Body functions are going to change. It will take some adjustments but this is the new normal. Diet changes, and some life changes will make the entire process easier.

Best Always, mike

ahomsher's picture
ahomsher
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2011

I had a lower anterior resection , done on 03/02/2012 . The first three weeks were tuff a lot of pain and discomfort. Once I figured out what I needed to eat things improved quickly . I started to ride my bike again at about four weeks , but only for about one to two miles . At 8 weeks I did a 28 mile ride with rest stops as needed . I hope you both do well , it falls on both of you and my wife has been spectacular . I am currently doing the post chemo let me know if you have other questions
Aaron

keystone's picture
keystone
Posts: 133
Joined: Dec 2010

Hi there!! I am basically in the same situation. My husband was diagnosed with rectal cancer at 45 about a year and a half ago. He has now gone through all of his chemo and has had an iliostomy reversal. I'm so blessed to have a very positive thinking spouse whos faith is very strong. He is cancer free and had very good blood work come back today. Its a roller coaster at times and I find it difficult waiting on results (blood work/scans). He has been challenged since his reversal with an active bowel and wonder often if a perm colostomy would not have been better. Hopefully by this time your hubby is on his way to recovery. If you have any questions since it seems we are on the same pathway don't hesitate to PM me! Prayers for both you and your hubby!!

nomad18826
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2012

I am 45 male and have been caner free for over a year now. My birthday (cancer Free) is April 1st! Not a joke! hahaha. I had stage 3 colorecatal cancer. I had 8 weeks Chemo/Rad, 4 weeks of healing, then the APR with Perm Colostomy, the mass was the size of a plum when found. when removed at surgery it was the size of your fist.I spent 3 days in the Hospital including the surgery day. Then I was home with the bag for 10 weeks before I returned to work. The day I returned to work I also started my 28 weeks of chemo.

It takes some getting used to but its like everything else that sets you back in life. You get thru it. I didn't do well with the pain meds. I didn't want to take them. Not sure if that was good or not, that was just me. I did learn all I could from the internet on the surgery, the care after the surgery and all the cool things ostomates have made and sell for those of us that don't have to sit on the potty anymore. haha. A sense of humor will get you far. I laughed about the cancer, the surgery, and the pain. I never let it get me down and never allowed it to stop me from doing as I wanted. When people would find out and feel sorry for me, I would tell them don't! Or tell them a joke about my surgery or how differently my body is. There's alot of jokes on the internet, and laughter is a great healing tool. it took a little time but I have managed to deal with the pouch and I work full time, teach Karate, ride my motorcycle, play with my kids, date, ect. Any questions you may have feel free to ask. I'll gladly answer.

2007apr
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2012

I had this surgery in 2007 and I am still here missed my 3 yr checkup and will schedule it soon. Do I like a bag no, but I am still above ground. I was a week before my 43rd bday and I was stage 3b at the time.

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