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After surgery

Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2004

I guess I should start out by saying I was diagnosed in March of 04 of rectal cancer. It was very low so we tried chemo, 5fu' and radiation at the same time for six weeks. After that didn't kill me I had surgery but they ended up taking my whole rectum out and now have a permanent colostomy. Since the surgery I have felt terrible. It got better after I got the stitches out of my bottom but now I have a build up of fluid in my pelvic region that is a nightmare of pain. They are getting me an appt. with radialogy to drain it and it sounds like a really good time. I'm a 42 yr. old male firefighter who wants to get back to work. I had lymph nodes also removed during surgery and they want me to do chemo again for 4 and a half months. I guess my question is has anyone had this drainage procedure done and when will I start to get feeling better. I'm really a possitive person but I'm getting really down.

Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Hey Steve. I'm sorry that you aren't feeling up to par. I had my surgery a couple of weeks after you, if I calculated right. I am just getting to the point where I am feeling "normal" again. And by that I mean physically not hurting. I am no where near my physical fitness level I was at before all this garbage happened. My surgery was thru the abdomen, not the bottom. So, I can't even compare the surgeries.

Regardless, it takes time. I know you don't want to hear that, but that is where it is. I too, just want to be back to my old self. I was supposed to test for my black belt in taekwondo 2 months after my diagnosis. I have no idea when that is going to happen now. It is absolutely killing me to hold myself back and not go all out . I know that I have to take it slow. When we look back on this in the future, we'll put it into perspective and realize it wasn't so bad.

Trust your intuition and get the docs to do what needs to be done. None of the procedures that we have done have been fun, but they are necessary.

Hang in there. Firefighters are tough. You can get thru this. Just give yourself time to get better.

Do something to make yourself laugh today. It is truly a healing emotion.

Have a great day.


Moesimo's picture
Posts: 1080
Joined: Aug 2003

I haven't had that done, but I am a radiology nurse. They will do a cat scan to mark the area where the drain will go. They will put an IV in to give you medicine to keep you comfortable. They will do mutiple cat scans to find the best spot fot the drain. It is important to stay still and don't move. They are tring to avoid blood vessels and bowel. It usually is inserted in one of your buttocks. They sometimes leave the drain in for a few days to let the area drain. It will be connected to a bag. Usually it is done as an outpatient. You go home after they are done. If you have any other questions, just ask. I hope this helps. Good luck.

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Steve. I have a similar "story" to you: diagnosed age 43 in Dec 02 with low rectal cancer; 6 weeks of chemoradiation, then surgery, resulting in permanent colostomy, then 4 mos (cycles) of chemo.

I didn't have the fluid build-up problem you are experiencing now (although I did continue to have some fluid drain thro a tiny hole in my butt even after I left the hospital - which needed daily dressing changes for a while). I am sorry to hear you are experiencing that and I hope it gets resolved soon.

I felt very uncomfortable after the surgery - especially my butt (sitting) but also turning over in bed, etc. I walked a lot, which I think speeded my recovery - and also helped me psychologically.

Like you, I consider myself positive person and I was anxious to get back to work. Looking back, I realize I did push myself very hard - to the horror of my friends and family!

I had my surgery April 2003 and finished my chemo almost exactly one year ago. My recent tests (colonoscopy, CT, ultrasound of liver) were all clear, and I am feeling great these days - the surgery and treatment are slowly become a distant blur for me, and I sure hope they soon become so for you, too.

Sending best wishes your way,

Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi Steve,

I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling so awful. I also was diagnosed with rectal cancer in March 2004, did 5 1/2 weeks of radiation and chemo, had surgery June 28 with removal of rectum and permanent colostomy. I also had a terrible time as any position was uncomfortable and agree that it was much better once the stitches were removed, however I am still having a difficult time with sitting. It seems to be a long process. I had fluid build up, but not as severe as you. Antibiotics cured it, but the next step would have been to have it drained.
I will be going back on chemo for 6 months and will know later today what the plan is.
Try to keep your spirits up! It does get better and know that you are not alone.

Take care

Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

Well, I am just another... diagnosed with rectal cancer 11/02 - with pre-op chemo/rad then surgery 2/03. Permanent colostomy was result. I didn't have any fluid problems - but want to tell you to hang in there.

The butt pain/sitting pain sucks. It does improve with time. Get yourself a donut pillow to sit on (great in the car).

My surgeon told me he was surprised at my quick recovery and lack of butt pain. I attribute it to yoga and exercise. START SLOW. Firemen and generally very fit people. You won't be back at that level for a while, but you will get there.

I did 4 months post-op chemo. And now I just had a lung met removed, and am back on chemo, again. BUT I remain very positive.

THere are good days and bad days. Stay strong and know each day is a bit further from surgery. Be kind to yourself. Do lots of walking - helps physical and emotional pain to get up.

When you are feeling great, 1/2 margarita and a pain pill can really plow you over! I mixed them accidentally, but had a great night.

Wish you all the best, and speedy drainage. jana

Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2004

Well got the drain put in for a week then a day after it was taken out I came down with an infection and spent a week in the hospital.I'm back home and glade to be here. I still have pain from surgery and hope it will pass so I can feel normal again.

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