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Abdominoperineal Resection

Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi everyone. I feel blessed by having access to this wonderful resource. I have conducted a lot of research on these forums and found answers to many of my questions. However I would like to hear from someone who has been through an abdominoperineal resection or APR.
I am a 34 year old male with stage II to III rectal carcinoma. I received six weeks of neoadjuvant chemoradiation and after some time to heal I am scheduled for a radical APR tomorrow morning. What was recovery like for you? How long before you returned to work and what advice would you give me to enhance this process?

Thanks and God bless you,


Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Edwin,

I had that surgery --for Stage II rectal cancer -- about 8 years ago. Like you, I had neoadjuvant chemoradiation beforehand.

I am sure your docs are wonderful. It IS, as I am sure they have let you know, fairly major surgery -- and recovery will take a little while. I was 44 when I had my surgery.

May I offer two pieces of advice. First, don't be a 'hero' when it comes to pain medication. You will need it. And, I believe being *relatively* pain free can really help with healing. Second, get up and get walking. The nurses will probably insist that you get up and take a few steps within 24 hours. This will not be comfortable! But, as soon as you are able, start walking. It might be a few steps at first but I walked as much as I could around the hospital ward before I was discharged (dragging poles behind me!) and then once I got home I tried to walk every day. I think this really helped with my healing. I returned to work in about a month but I have a flexible job (I can work partly from home). I would say it took more like 3 months before I felt really 'right'. The abdominal incision will be sore (in the hospital, keep a pillow handy -- if you feel a sneeze coming on, or a cough, or a laugh, press the pillow firmly to your abdomen). Your 'nether regions' will be even more sore. But, they will get better! Every day.

Good luck to you, my friend


plh4gail's picture
Posts: 1238
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi Edwin, I did not have that type of surgery. Just wanted to wish you well and let you know we are here and someone will come with answers and thoughts for you. Well wishes to you on the surgery.


TMac52's picture
Posts: 358
Joined: Aug 2010

I had this surgery in Sept 2010. You are younger than me so healing will be quicker. It is major surgery but you'll get through it. Takes some time and some pain but it's all worth it. If you have any questions about specifics feel free to pm me.
Good Luck I'm praying for ya.

daBeachBum's picture
Posts: 164
Joined: Apr 2011


Welcome to the board! This is a great group of people and a useful resorce when you have questions or news to share, or need a lift.

I wasn't a candidate for this because of my level 4 staging, but this looks to be where my mets live primarily. However if things keep progressing as they have, it might be in the cards for me down the road.

Please let us know how this works out for you, I'm sure it will be helpful to folks.

I send good thoughts your way and wish you a speedy recovery!


pete43lost_at_sea's picture
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

sorry your here, but thats the same for all us.
just be patient , the journey just before you is challenging.

i did not have radical, had the resection but kept bum. now after 7 months its been reconnected and it works. be guided by your surgeon and nurses. everyones issues are different.



Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2011

I need someone to talk to about my questions. Would you be willing?

Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2011

Bob, I am sorry for this late reply. I had not returned to the discussion board until today. I hope that your questions have been answered and that you are doing relatively well. Let me know if there is anything I can do.

Take care,


Posts: 8
Joined: Jul 2010

I had my APR on July 4th 2007.
You've received excellent advice here.
Just keep walking. I was in hospital for 6 days after the op.
Once home, I put my camera on it's tripod, and used it to get around with. It gave me an interest too, to take my mind off things. Got some great spider macros and wide field shots of the night sky. :D
The scar tissue where my rectum used to be, feels like i have a rather thick broom stick up there, so I still have to make sure I'm standing when I sneeze.
I did develop a peristomal hernia about a year after. That has since been repaired.
But it's all good....we're still here.

Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2011

Today is day 21 since surgery. Generally speaking I feel better each week. As you know some days are better than others. Unfortunately I spent two weeks in the hospital because I developed an infection. I can honestly say that those first few days with infection were some of the worst of my life. But, thank our Lord, I am recovering quite well. Thank you Tara, Gail, Tom, Ray, Pete and Jjjnettie for your advice and well wishes. Take care and God bless you.


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6183
Joined: Feb 2009

Hoping that you feel better soon. God Bless you too. Hope you heal completely.


Lilmiss82's picture
Posts: 257
Joined: Dec 2009

Sorry I wasn't able to offer any advise when you first posted, but I'm so glad to hear you are on the road to recovery. Rest as much as you need and them some more and keep us posted on your progress:)Melissa

Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2011

Hey Edwin, hope you find yourself just feeling better and better with each passing day!

Keep walking and keep looking to Him. :-)


Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2011

Thank you all for your comments and encouragement. I am presently on the FOLFOX regimen and cannot wait to get it over with. It is very difficult as I get multiple side effects including profound weakness to the point that I cannot get out of bed. Every other week I take infusions and get hooked-up on day one and return for disconnect on day 3. I don't completely recover till day 10 or so. Then I have a few days where I feel relatively normal. Then the process starts all over again. I have bad neuropathy in my arms and hands. To add to this my perineal incision is still open though it has been 8 months since the surgery and I still have not been able to wean off the narcotics because NSAIDS are not effective on my level of pain. I hope that once the chemo is over I will start healing again inside and out and so that I can manage the pain better. As I said, it has been difficult. However I keep a very positive outlook and consider myself a survivor already. For all of you who have been so supportive, THANK YOU. And if you are just beginning this ordeal, hang in there, keep up your faith, you will get through this, you are not alone.

God bless,


tommycat's picture
Posts: 790
Joined: Aug 2011

I had the APR surgery in Oct. 2009 and the takedown in Oct. 2011. It took me a full year to completely put it behind (?) me.
Now I forget that I ever had such major surgeries. The thing that healed me was time.

Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2014

Hello, Ed.  I don't know if you still come to this site, but I just found it and joined.  I had ths surgery 3 weeks ago today, and was looking for what to expect from this point forward. It was a blessing to find a forum with such positive and informative advise.  I am dealing with the post op side effects, soarness, of course, urinary issues, and worst of all insomnia!  It's either finally being pain killer(everything thru morphine...massive doses daily for 2 months), or that I was so used to not sleeping more than 1-2 hours with the pain I was in.  Coughs and sneezes, the one time I forgot how much it could hurt, are my biggest issue from a pain stanpoint at this time.  I have learned to sneeze thru my mouth without the buildup, but it feels like I am going to rip my closure of my anus every time.  I'm looking forward to healing past the point of fearing a sneeze and just letting a good one out.  I have an awesome support group of family and friends, but need to hear from people who have been or are going thru the same thing as me. I have been blessed with tangible miracles since my stage 4 diagnosis and am humbly thanksful for the grace God has given me.  It is comforting to read faith based words of encouragement to others on this site, and I receive them to my situation.  I hope all is well with you, and pray for God's blessings in your life. 

Posts: 2215
Joined: Oct 2011

You might want to start a new post introducing youself with whatever questions you have. You replied to an old post. Many of these folks have passed or no longer participate in this forum.

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