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Liver Resection - What can I expect?

Jane822's picture
Jane822
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2010

I'm new to posting on here -- this network is one of the best resources avalable and there's nothing better than hearng from those who are experiencing this first hand. I'm having liver resection surgery 10/15 and want to hear about your experience with this surgery. I was dx last July with Stage IV colorectal cancer and had a sigmoid colon resection in August followed by chemo -- I've responded well to chemo and am now able to have the liver resection. My surgeon has given me lots of information and is available to answer my questions -- however, I'd like to hear from those of you who have gone through this and what I can expect. thank you so much.........

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

Hello jane and welcome to the board. I think you will find plenty of stage IV's with resections here. I have had two. I hardly know where to begin....it's a hard surgery...I would say at least a couple of weeks recovery without doing much of anything. Pain needs to be controlled. Lots of diet issues....can you think of any specific questions to get get us started

welcome aboard

maggie

Jane822's picture
Jane822
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2010

Hi Maggie - thanks so much for responding. I'm not sure where to begin. My surgeon did tell me it was a difficult surgery and that it would take more time to recover than for the colon resecion. I've read conflicting articles about the surgery and the most disconcerting information I read was that the benefit of the surgery was about the same as not having it. I find that difficult to believe. if I felt that was the case, I don't think I would proceed. The only evidence of my cancer now is in my liver and the lesions have reduced in size and number - so I'm able to qualify for the surgery. What are the diet issues? My oncologist is going to follow up with 4 months of chemo 6 weeks after the surgery. How long between your two resections?

thanks again,

Jane

menright's picture
menright
Posts: 258
Joined: Oct 2008

I had my resection surgery on June 11, 2010. It was much more than the colon surgery I had in April 2009. I had a full six weeks of recovery and I needed it all.

I will say that more than once I have been told that liver resection surgery is the "Gold Standard" for cancer care. So with that in mind I am sure all will go well for you and you are besting your chances for a cure.

Best of Luck.

Mike

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

it's good to see you. I hope you are feeling a little better now....it does take a little while doesn't it? Hoping your surgery was a complete success

are your scars itchy? do they ache when it is going to rain? hahha..

mags

Jane822's picture
Jane822
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2010

Hi Mike - I agree, I think the liver resection is the gold standard" for cancer care and it is giving me the best chance for recovery. Your reply just reinforces my decision - I am a bit anxious about it.

Thanks so much,

Jane

Luv2lunch
Posts: 272
Joined: Aug 2010

Jane,
I don't have answers to your questions, just wanted to say welcome. We will be saying an extra prayer for you on the 15th.
Take care,
Linda and Ellie

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

oh man I have no doubts that resection has kept me alive....colon in 05 and resection in 06 followed by xeloda....got two years out of that and then back to liver and then xeloda and oxalyplatin....Jane my liver was so covered in lesions I was given 6 months to live so I really like the surgery.

I guess I try to down play how hard the surgery is because what good does it do to scare people.
It is harder than colon...and Mike is right six weeks is a reasonable figure for recovery.
I found it hard to digest anything but they took my gall bladder with the liver work and so I think it becomes more difficult to digest fat. I only wanted fruit but my weight plummeted so you need lots of protein to heal Jane. Eggs hardboiled worked for me and teeny tiny meals. My daughter came home for two weeks to nurse and she always had drinks beside my bed.
I found my back ached because the front was so cut up so you have to take some pain meds....but these of course constipate you so then you have to watch that because the last thing you want to do is be straining au toilet.

it is a good surgery jane....have no doubts....it is doable ....really it is....I am a wimp..

hugs and hugs....mags

Jane822's picture
Jane822
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2010

Maggie..you are anything but a wimp! Thank you so much for telling me what to expect. I have no doubt that the surgery is the right thing for me and is my ace in the hole for recovery. I admire what you've accomplished - I know it isn't easy. I have two daughters who are both nurses -- I live in Florida and they are both in Pennsylvania. My older daughter is coming to stay with me for 11 days -- part of that time I'll be in the hospital. My other daughter will be "on call". I have extra weight so a loss won't hurt! They are also taking my gall bladder. I'm very positive and I'll be glad to have this behind me. I'll be having follow up chemo (Folfox and Avastin) for 4 months beginning 6 weeks after the surgery. I really can't thank you enough............... how are you doing now? Please stay in touch ...........I return your hugs! Jane

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

what a blessing ...two daughters that are nurses....ace////hahah honestly my daughter was the greatest blessing and she is not a nurse. Ok yes people talked about getting up and walking....for sure do that ....I walked on my third day in hospital and when I got home I tried to walk up and down the block....at first i used a cane but really it didn't help. I too dropped the big pain killers almost immediately and went with across to counter .....watch for thrush....that was another prob for me because you get so many IV antibiotics in hospital. don't drag too much stuff to the hospital....you won't need it.
I know it sounds crazy but a couple of new and pretty nightgowns with nice socks cheered me up...ah women and vanity...haha

let's see what else??yes the incision is huge...you can pack away your bikinis for a bit...
oh maybe get your hair cut and your teeth cleaned before surgery because you will want to avoid a lot of dental work right after surgery and with chemo....blah blah...maggie stop

your picture is beautiful jane
this surgery will be going really well for you....I just have a feeling

hugs maggie

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

Liver resection on December 09', 80% removed ,colon resection same day! formidable surgery but ..... two weeks later l was celebrating christmas with my people.....feeling like crap but l was there.On the beginning low grease an protein diet, rice ,chicken ,vegetables, fish, etc.litlle by litlle your body will accept others meals by it self bit of grease, red meat, and others you will realize by yourself.Full recovery; in my case 4 months to feel as l was before, no pains but tired very tired and weak but little by little you get a goal every day, some meters more walking , going to shopping for a while, and in a few months .......new! But be patient , remember is considered a formidable surgery! ( don't worry in terms of survival rates ,today are nearly 100% of success).
Go ahead is the final solution!

Jane822's picture
Jane822
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2010

I appreciate the prayers - they have gotten me to this point - no doubt in my mind. Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing from you in the future........hope you are doing well. Jane

VivianGB
Posts: 46
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Jane,

I had a liver resection in June and I bounced back pretty quickly. It wasn't as bad as my first surgery, but had much more done then (entire rectum removed, permanent colostomy and hysterectomy). I was only in the hospital 3 days with the liver resection. A little more than a week after surgery I felt good enough to clean out the frig. It wore me out and I didn't do a darn thing the rest of the day, but it sure felt good to get it done.

You probably already know this, but you will have a limit to how much you can lift, mine was only 5 lbs for six weeks and 2 weeks of no driving. I have a huge scar, it goes all the way across the front of me along the bottom of my ribs. The good thing was I didn't have to have staples and the stitches just dissolved. I hate the prescription pain pills and soon after I got home I switched to ibuprofen and acetaminophen and it did the trick. I was sore, but not in a lot of pain. It was probably a good 6 weeks before my energy level was about up to normal. All in all, I can say it wasn't that bad.

Good luck with yours, hopefully it will go smoothly and you will recover quickly!

Viv

C Dixon
Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Jane,

I had my entire right lobe removed. This was my third surgery: colon resection, Cytoreductive and HIPEC and liver resection. The liver resection was a bit harder than the colon resection but without the emotional issues of just finding out that I had Stage IV colon cancer; but it was a walk in the park compared to the HIPEC.

I was up and walking the morning after surgery and walked several times that day. They put me on solid food on day 3 and took me off the pain pump and sent me home on day 4. Pain? Yes. I needed the pain pills but all you can take is Oxycodone if you have so much of your liver removed. Oxycodone, after a few days, makes me go into a depression. So, I quit taking that on Day 8 and stuck to Ibuprofin which helped a little. At my check up, the doc said I could take Vicodin and I probably took that a handful of times but I was feeling pretty good by then.

I would say I am at about 90% of myself at this point. I am not overly tired. My abdominal muscles are still tight and it is about time to start working them. The scar tissue will have random pains now and then but that is normal.

I noticed immediately that I can't overeat. The bloated feeling is just not worth it. Grazing is the best way to eat after this surgery. Also, Maggie is right, you have to watch your fat intake as you will probably not have your gallbladder and metabolizing fat is very hard on the liver. But really those are all good things; they are healthier for you! I have not lost any more than about 4 pounds but I know I have lost some muscle and need to build that back up.

It is very doable and I'm sure you will be fine.

Take Care,

Catherine

SueRelays
Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2009

I had my liver resection 8 months ago. Feel like I never went through it. Sometimes it all seems so surreal. Between that and the lung surgery in 2 years, I am amazed at how good I feel. It did take me SEVERAL weeks though to bounce back, so allow yourself the time, and just do what your body tells you. I was starving all the time after surgery til someone on this board was nice enough to tell me to eat more protein. Problem immediately solved....no more getting up in the middle of the night to eat! I just could not get full enough.
No problems any longer though.....it still feels numb to touch my stomach, but other than that....Feelin Fab!!
You're in my prayers!!!

Jane822's picture
Jane822
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2010

you are all Angels.............I know you'll all be in my corner this Friday when I have my surgery. I feel well prepared and not quite so reluctant. I know this is not going to be a "day at the beach" but I am a very positive person and have a strong faith -- Thank you all for your suggestions and help. I'll be sure to let you all know how I'm doing when I get out of the hospital. Thank you so much again! Jane

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

yikes that crept on me....is your surgery This Friday???? jane

mags

Jane822's picture
Jane822
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2010

Yes, THIS Friday the 15th at 7:15 am. Shands Hospital, jacksonville Florida. Branch of the University of Florida Gainesville. Thank you all for your prayers. Jane

Aud's picture
Aud
Posts: 480
Joined: Oct 2009

Holding you in the Light for a successful surgery, speedy recovery, healing, and strength.
~Aud

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

Jane...tomorrow...thursday I will travel for three hours to another city to visit my most amazing liver surgeon. It is almost two years since my second resection and just past one year since the end of my last chemo. I am expecting that he will release me from 3 months care into yearly checkups so this is very good.

Once again I want to tell you how much I believe in this surgery and i pray and wish and hope with all my energy that things will go well for you....I feel really sure that they will and I hope to hear from you when you are home and feeling better

hugs and hugs
maggie

Jane822's picture
Jane822
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2010

Maggie - I will take your good wishes and prayers with me on Friday. And, I wish you the very best at your visit with your doctor tomorrow. I hope you get the news you are expecting - what a release ........I hope to hear your good news soon. I'll be in touch just as soon as I am able - If I have Internet access at the hospital, I'll ask my daughter to bring my computer............You've been such a comfort to me and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your positive remarks and encouragement. I'm expecting good results....and I'll be up and at 'em asap! Hugs, jane <3

jararno's picture
jararno
Posts: 189
Joined: May 2010

Will be thinking about you and hoping you have a great recovery! Take care!

Barb

AnneCan
Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

Good luck tomorrow; you know I am in your corner cheering you on!

Jane822's picture
Jane822
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2010

I am so blessed to have so many wonderful angels in my corner. I'll be in touch as soon as I can -- thank you all so much again for your support as we all travel this road. Jane

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

keep us informed as soon you open one eye ! LOL.
Good luck, sending prayers from Barcelona !

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