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Expectations after bowel re-section

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2004

It has been almost 2 years since I had a good sized Sarcoma removed from my small intestine taking with it 6 or so inches near the ileum. I was fortunate that the tumor was very low grade and showed not evidence of metastic disease, so there was no follow up or chemo treatments suggested. The surgery was unremarkable and my recovery was excellent. What the doctors did not say and I am still having a difficult time in dealing with is what my day to day post operative symptoms would be, particuarily involving digestion, absorption and the like. I have periodic episodes of all the unpleasant gastric symptoms in the book and my GI doctor keeps saying "your fine" but never gives any info beyond. Is this going to be my life going forward (don't get me wrong I am thankful to be going forward) but need some input on symptoms/expectations. It is enough to be concerned about having a possibilty of a return, but life would be easier if I knew that my daily symptoms were a result of the surgery.

Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2004

Most undoubtably your symptoms are a result of your surgery, but there are so many variables that no two people have the same symptoms. It all depends on where they cut, how much they took out, how many nerves may have been damaged in the process, how many adhesions you have, etc, & etc. Two years isn't really a long time for the healing process to be complete. Your system is probably still very sensitive, and you have to try and be a bit more patient. Over time things will improve, and you'll be closer to that 'steady state' you're looking for. It took me almost 4 years to pretty much know what to expect of my new plumbing system, and it still surprises me once in a while. The doctors don't seem for the most part to deal well with the questions you have. You've found the best place for that is right here on this excellent site where you can share and ask questions of all of us who've been through it. Hope this helps,.....Carl

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2004

Carl...yes, this helps. We agree that sadly the doc's do not deal well with this and so many other aspects of illness at a personal level and yes, I think this forum will become a strength for me in time. The best to you always...Hatch

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2004

I was diagnosed with colo cancer on June 29, 2003. They removed 95% of my colon and did a resection to my small intestin, now I feelo much better, however when you have to go, you have to go. I also experience what you have and it took me about three to four months before I was able to get a handle on sometings and I still trying to keep a handle on somethings one year later. But, it does get better

ron50's picture
Posts: 1598
Joined: Nov 2001

Hi Hatch,
I had most of my descending colon removed back in Jan 98 I lucked out with the ca it was a very nasty tumour at st 3 and into 6 nodes. But it appears it ain't coming back. That is the good bit ,the bad bit is that once they take the plastic wrappers off your innards nothing seems to be the same . Like you I get the regular "well u beat ca ,what more do you want" ,well I would like a little less pain for one . My gut seems to have a mind of its own and not a pleasant one, my latest episode was a twisted bowel last week,I keep on hoping that all will eventually settle down but I still wait for the occasional party trick. May not be of much help to you but just letting u know you are not suffering on your own. Stay well and good luck for the future ,Ron.

2bhealed's picture
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi Hatch,

Have you tried digestive enzymes and probiotics? Are you taking supplements that focus on digestion at all? Doctors won't likely offer this to you but from what I have researched people with cancers in the digestive tract from start to end could be helped by both enzymes and probiotics. Those of us with colon cancers often fall short in certain enzymes and vitamins that help digestion....such as I read that colon cancer patients were often lacking in calcium.

It couldn't hurt to try.


peace, emily who takes enzymes every day

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Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2004

Babs, thanks for your input and glad that your steps are forward. I think anyone faced with the challenge of cancer deserves to understand "all" of the aspects of the condition..not disease. I am sure that we can all relate to the attitudes of our doctors, some more concerned than others, but most detached from the "total beings" that we are. This is not by accident, but rather by design, that the medical profession numbed by specialization, insurance requirements, malpractice and streamlining has perverted itself beyond a capacity for indivdual concern. If they would realize "we" are the best barometers for our own health and need to be listened to, considered and believed; but unfortunately this places us closer to their level intruding upon a reserved domain. For my own part I suffered with IBS for many years having check ups often and eventually told my doctor that something was not right. He continued to insist that all was well even up to the point when a CT revealed a mass. I understand that tumors of the small colon are rare and thus many GI doctors do not even look hard in that area, but it was through my intuition that the tumor was found, not his skill. I still use the same doctor and feel that his use to me is limited by the scope of his knowledge of the "details" and his willingness or not to share more fully, however I now press him further with a greater confidence in my own ability to understand me. No doctor that I have seen since my surgery has indicated that I would have "plumbing problems" but my logical mind told me different which was getting hard to believe until I started hearing from others.

I am thankful for this site and to the people who share in it. We are not "statistics".

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