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Questions about AP Resection

grandma047's picture
Posts: 381
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi all, Went to my surgeon today. Looks like the big day will be in 4-5 weeks. I tried to beg out of surgery, but no way. He did say that he could not even feel any cancer now, but the suture line is low, so colostomy for sure. He did say there was no bleeding now, which I haven't had in about 4 weeks. I just wanted to know, since my cancer is so low in the rectum, does that mean that I won't have as long a cut on my stomach??? Also, does it mean that I won't have to go through the yucky prep for colon surgery?? Looks like I could just do the prep for sigmoidoscope, since it is that low any how. Anybody have any ideas?? He was also more positive today. Said that CAT scans were pretty accurate and that everything looked good there. He said that surgery would determine if I need more chemo, but the port stays in till then. He did take one stitch out and put a bandaid on and said I could shower. Yippee!!! This sponge bath stuff is terrible. That will feel great tonight. Anyhow, anyone with info about the Abdominoperineal resection, I would appreciate it.
Judy H.(grandma047)

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Judy.
How wonderful that you were finally able to have that shower! There's no better feeling (in my case, a hot bath - but it's similar).

I have to say I am very glad you are going ahead with the surgery. Get rid of it all!!

I have a pretty long scar (for very low rectal cancer, like you) -- stretches from about an inch below my belly button down to my pubis. But, it ain't bad. Can't wear a bikini but as I have said before, at my age, that would be a pretty scary sight anyway!

I'm afraid I can't remember the prep. I assume I had it (you want that site to be CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN before surgery). I guess the fact that I can't remember is a good sign!

I'm sure your surgeon has already told you a little about the surgery. You will have two scars - one on your abdomen, and one on your butt (the perineal scar). In my experience, and the experience of many others I have heard from, the perineal scar can be more troublesome than the abdominal one - it may be uncomfortable for a while, until it fully heals. You may want to consider getting a cushion to sit on after you get out of the hospital (or even while there). Most people recommend NOT a cushion with a hole in the middle (which some people think can pull things apart). One filled with foam chunks seems to be best.

After surgery, they will advice you to get up out of bed and walk around as soon as possible. I strongly encourage you to do so. It hurts like heck for a while but I firmly believe that walking aids healing. Walk, walk, walk (and when you get out of hospital too).

Finally (sorry - I'm giving way too much advice?!) - insist that you have adequate pain management after surgery. Again, I believe that being pain-free (or at least not MUCH pain) helps with healing - allows you to do more walking!

Will you have the chance to see a colostomy nurse (ET) before your surgery? They can explain things to you, and also "site" the stoma (sort out the best place for it - depending on how you sit, bend, etc.).

Sorry this is so long. I wish you all the best for your surgery. It'll go fine!


Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2004

Judy, my Dad had a very long cut that started several inches above his belly button and went all they way down. His cancer was as low as it could be in the rectum. But, I think the surgeon wanted to get a really good look around inside, so he made a long cut. Maybe they don't need to do that for you? His surgery prep was less extensive than the colonoscopy and started at 6pm the night before surgery was 6am the next day. It cleaned him out really good, but not as extensive as the colonoscopy prep. Good luck with it.

Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

Best of luck with the surgery Judy. I am glad you are going for it.

As for prep, I suspect that they will want you well cleaned out. My surgeon prescribed Phos soda. (For my colonoscopy they had me drink the gallon of Nulytely). Unfortunately I vomited every last bit of the stuff. I had to call the hospital. I was scared that they would not do the surgery, but they recommended that I use Fleet enemas instead for my middle rectal carcinoma. They told me that it worked.

Best wishes,


kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Best of luck Judy.Although I did not have a colostomy my cancer was low down and I was told the wound would be from the belly button to the pubic bone.HOWEVER, as there was cause for concern re; more smaller tumours they could not see I was told a larger incision was possible and a colostomy was possible.
I guess it all depends on your initial tests and cancer site--and possibility of cancer cells ocurring any higher up.Your surgeon should be able to tell you how large the belly wound will be.I woke with a larger wound than expected.The surgeon told me that further exploration during the op was necessary so they cut further to judst under my ribcage.
Not trying to frighten you Judy but a discussion with your surgeon would be helpfull.
our best --thinking of you -kanga and jen

jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hey Judy, Glad to hear that you are hanging in there. It does sound like the surgery is the best way to attack this thing. I think of you often, and wish you continued strength.
I know what you mean about the prep...worse than my surgery! I get nauseous too easily from all the prep stuff. One thing I did was to go on clear liquids the day before they recommended, which my surgeon said could make the prep have to accomplish less. Might want to check it out; you really do need a clean colon for this surgery.
Another suggestion: I don't know what you'll have for anesthesia, but my surgeon used an epidural before the general anesthesia, and left it in for 3 days post-op. I woke up to NO pain (incision from above belly button to pubis and needed no additional pain meds (many of which make me hurl). I left the hospital on Tylenol with codeine at bedtime. So...just a thought. Hang in there, the other Judy

teri_hatcher's picture
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2004

i am dealing wih this. I had stage 3 rectal and I had a colon resection in July 2003. I still have a temp bag. Before surgery after 5 weeks of chemo and rad, he did a rectal and said he didn't feel the mass any more. He gave me a choice. I did resection to make sure damaged area was removed and lower the chance of the cancer coming back. I am glad I did because the cancer had almost penetrated the rectal wall and if I hadn't it would have come back or gone somewhere else. I went into surgery knowing I might have a perm bag. Mine is temp. I am hoping to be reversed soon. Have tears due to radiation damage. I have a huge abdomine scar. My wound got infected so I had to heal from inside out. I decided not to do a second round of chemo and the cancer is gone. I am on the downward slide but have been right where you are. as far as prep thre are pills called Viscal Dr can prescribe that will do better than the normal prep.


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