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Recovery from liver resection - experiences?

Posts: 11
Joined: Mar 2011

Hello all,

So I'm stage 4 diagnosed in March but things have been doing along pretty well. CEA counts took a nose dive during the first set of 6 chemo sessions, and am two weeks out of having a partial liver resection to remove one confirmed met and much smaller one found during surgery. The path report showed nothing living in the smaller met and only rare viable cells in the larger met.

So the question - I have never had surgery before let alone something this major. I went home from the hospital on the 8th day and now just at two weeks post-OP. What experiences can you all offer in terms of recovery, timeline, and what helped you?

Thanks -Jim

lesvanb's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2008

I had a Rt lobe liver resection (one met) 6 weeks after my LAR surgery (fall '08). I also was 8 days in the hospital, some in a step down from ICU. My blood values took a bit to rebound (potassium as I recall). The liver resection took longer to recover from than my LAR. I remember having difficulty getting off the couch for a couple of weeks, incontinence, not much pain but had to take more pain reliever than I did with the LAR. I walked as much as I could which was slowly and not very far, but after 3 weeks was able to return to work part-time, though I did some work on a laptop at home. In a month was walking OK, with walking poles, which I love to use still. I started chemo 7 weeks after liver resection for 6 months (FOLFOX). I was NED after the liver resection. I have worked hard to regain physical fitness and am doing quite well now. My strength coach though is very good at still finding the weaknesses on my right side of core left over from that surgery.

best wishes for a speedy recovery for you!

all the best, Leslie

Posts: 11
Joined: Mar 2011

Thanks Leslie. I appreciate it. I seem to be moving along pretty well physically then, which is good.

Not sure when I start the next round of chemo but I suspect it will be 5+ weeks after surgery, then followed by the LAR (the actual colon surgery? Is that the correct nomenclature).

Thanks again.

Posts: 220
Joined: Dec 2009

I am about six weeks ahead of you - had my liver resection in June. It's very tough going intially. It took me two weeks to be able to turn on my side in bed to sleep (I usually change positions a few times at night, and I was stuck flat on my back a while, very uncomfortable). I also at first sweated a lot at night and had crazy dreams -- liver related.

I developed potassium deficiency because I was not eating a few days after I got home from the hospital and had to go get an emergency infusion. I started having cramps in my legs and feet, nausea, dizziness etc. and did not know why due to my inexperience with this. It turned out to be serious potassium deficiency.

If you are not eating much (I lost 15 lbs. the first two weeks), you may want to consider potaassium supplements to prevent this from happening. And eating more potassium. The cancer dietitian recommended apricots and fresh strawberries as higher in potassium than bananas. She suggested making fresh strawberry shakes for both the potassium and protein it offered.

My surgeon said that normal recovery is 6 to 8 weeks and that's usually how long people stay off work. It was right about Week 7 that I turned a corner and felt like eating and getting out etc.

Avoid clothing with waistbands that bear down on your abdomen where the incision is. They may feel OK when you first put them on but if you go out for an extended time you may start feeling serious pain (or at least I did).

Hope this helps, and good luck with your recovery. You will get there.


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