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SonicSedition's picture
Posts: 30
Joined: May 2018

Hey Guys,

My Abdominoperineal resection (APR) Surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday the 5th and I'd like to ask some opinions from some of you LAR, APR, colorectal surgery survivors ;) I know everyone has "different experiences and recovery rates but these are just somethings I've been thinking about.

1. How long after you were released and home were you able to take of yourself without help.

2. I sleep on my right side and I understand the stoma will be on the left. Wonder if I need to plan on sleeping on my back on like one of those bed wedges that keep you somewhat elevated? I've never slept on my back! What was your sleeping routine besides "I didn't get any" LOL


Any other insights on pouching systems you like/dislike or general opinions/suggestions on what I'm about to go through.

As always, thank you!




Butt's picture
Posts: 355
Joined: May 2018

I had a few things taken out. You can take of yourself the same day you get home. 

SandiaBuddy's picture
Posts: 1171
Joined: Apr 2017

I only had the colectomy, not the pouch, so my exerience may not apply as directly.  I tried to go for a walk the day I got back from the hospital and only made it a few hundred yards.  I was pretty much able to take care of myself immediately, but getting in and out of bed was a bit of trouble because of the surgery scars and swelling.  There is a youtube video about how to use a sheet to help you get out of bed if you are going to be on your own.  I have pretty much exlusively become a back sleeper since the surgery.  Prior to surgery, I would switch positions through the night, but now the only really comfortable on is on the back.  It has not been a difficult transition.


Do ask you doctor about taking cimetadine after surgery, and also maybe ask about melationin.  Both give you a survival advantage and the melatonin could help with some much needed sleep.


Best of luck in your surgery.  Let us know how you do.

abita's picture
Posts: 1010
Joined: Dec 2017

Someone from the Physical Therapy team showed me how to get up in the bed using my arms, in kind of roll motion. They told me to make use my arms instead of abdomen so that my wound could heal. I got a step to get into my bed. I did sleep on a wedge, but not because I had to.

Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3362
Joined: Jan 2010

I had considerably more surgery than you are expecting so some of what I did may not apply.  I had help with meals for a while, partly so make sure I ate and partly because my mother wanted to help out.  For the first week or 2 I slept in a recliner in the bedroom.  Like you never a back sleeper, so this helped not only with keeping me off surgical wounds but also with getting up on my own.  I too was worried about sleep positions with a stoma.  Turned out after all was healed, it is not a problem.  I am sometimes a wrestless sleeper and change sleep position many times a night.  Does not impact stoma at all.  I would advise you to have an empty or near empty bag before sleep just to make sure however you sleep there is no added stress on the seal.  

I was also told to eat lots of protien to help with the healing process.  I also used Boost with extra protien...on bottle a day...just to add to small meals.

You should do fine after recovery period prescribed by your surgeon.

Wishing you the best,

Marie who loves kitties

Kazenmax's picture
Posts: 449
Joined: Feb 2016

For me the surgery was just ok. I got a permanent colostomy which I was able to deal with right away. I was pretty weak after surgery. Depended a lot on the morphine pump. I was in the hospital for a week. They wait until your colostomy is working.

I no sooner got home than it stopped. By a couple of days I was puking nonstop. I went to the ER and my doctor admitted me. They put a GI tube in (worst part) to relieve the vomiting. I was in the hospital for a week.

Got home and after a few days it stopped again. I was admitted for the 3rd time. Pretty much to wait for the colostomy to work and to make sure there was no blockage.

There was none. All 3 times I constantly walked the hallways with my husband. They pretty much get you up and walking quickly.

Third time was the charm. I've not had any problems since then. I sleep on my right side and the stoma is on the left. I have no problem. But I do recall sleeping in the hospital with the bed elevated. When I got home, I used pillows to prop me up but that didn't last long.

Good Luck. I hope you recover quickly.


BRHMichigan's picture
Posts: 368
Joined: Jul 2017

Good luck to you with your recovery. Just a quick note on ostomy supplies. I tried many and really like Coloplast sensura mio brand disposable bags. For me, draining the bags in the bathroom was a hassle, and kind of disgusting. Disposable feels cleaner to me. I also purchase special odorless bags to dispose of them. This was such a huge concern for me prior to surgery, but it truly has been somuch easier than needing to run to the bathroom every 30 minutes.

SonicSedition's picture
Posts: 30
Joined: May 2018

Thanks for the suggestion. I was kind of up in the air regarding what type since I guess I do have any option pretty much. At first I was thinking, change out a one piece twice a week and drain. Then I got to thinking, why not just toss when I need to. Are you referring to a 2-pc or just changing it out completely with a one piece?

airborne72's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Sep 2012


I had an LAR (I think) and ended up with a temporary ileostomy (right side).  Going into the surgery it was doubtful that I would need an ostomy but because my intestines had so much impact from the radiation therapy my surgeon erred on the side of caution and opted for the ostomy.

Prior to the surgery I had typically slept on my back or either side.  Afterwards, I found it best to sleep on my back in an elevated position or on the side opposite of my ostomy.  The goal was to avoid rolling over onto the ostomy bag and causing a leak.  I quickly adjusted to the change and my quality of sleep did not degrade much compared to prior to my surgery.

My surgery was mid day on a Tuesday.  I was discharged on Friday morning.  When I got home I did not require any assistance.  Mobility was restricted, as can be expected, but my greater challenge was maintenance of the ostomy bag.  Most of that was merely fear on my part.  Once you get into the routine of changing the bag then it becomes nothing more than a personal hygiene task.  However, I will be honest, it does require some mental adjustment.

Regarding the types of pouching systems, etc. - I recommend that you leave the hospital with whatever they recommend/provide, but then contact several different suppliers of DME and request samples.  They will give you some free samples.  Experiment, and be patient.  This is yet another step into your new normal.


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6694
Joined: Feb 2009

The ostomy question is one you should be concerned about.  Make sure that an ostomy nurse marks your spot before surgery.  The surgeon generally has not a good clue as where to place it.  Mine was marked on both sides because they didn't know before doing surgery if it was going to be permanent or temporary.  Also, as far as supplies the hospital tells you what they recommend because they supply them but my recommendation didn't work out.  You can request supplies from every manufacturer and they will gladly send you free samples.  Do it because it's worth the change if necessary.  Also, make sure your home nurse helps you with all this.  They should provide a good 6 weeks of service included with your surgery.  Wishing you the best of luck and let us know how you are doing.


SonicSedition's picture
Posts: 30
Joined: May 2018

Hey Kim. It is already marked and was done by a 15 yr WOC nurse. Actually she marked 2. One about equal with my belly button and the other about 2 inches directly above. Not sure which would work better or if I even have an option.

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6694
Joined: Feb 2009

Glad you had that taken care of.  The markings might depend on the surgery and where they are going to take out any colon.  My initial visit here and then joining was just to ask questions, like you, because my surgery was to give me an ostomy as well.  Just didn't know which one for me, permanent or temporary so both sides were marked for me.  Wishing you the best.


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6694
Joined: Feb 2009

Sleeping was a problem because turning was a problem.  The stoma usually doesn't get in the way of sleeping unless you are a stomach sleeper.


lizard44's picture
Posts: 409
Joined: Apr 2015

I had laparoscopic APR surgery in October. The surgery was done on a Tuesday and I was discharged Saturday morning. They had me up walking  the day after surgery.  The WOC nurse taught me how to  take care of the stoma (which I named Stella) and how to change the pouch. She also gave me a  supply of pouches, educational material, a catalog for ordering samples and supplies, info on support groups, etc. I was discharged with my abdominal drain tube still in place.  I think  they are sometimes removed before discharge but mine stayed in until my fist post-op appointment  with the surgeon. The drain made showering a ittle complicated, but other than that, I don't remember it being a problem. Once home, I was pretty much able to  function  normally- or new normally.   I did have  a very sore behind, couldn't sit for very long at a time, tired easily and took naps as needed.  I came home with a prescription for Norco 5/325 to be taken every four hours as needed, and took 13 tablets, so I'm thinking the pain must have eased up quite a bit after a few days.

I don't remember sleeping being a problem- I have scoliosis and find sleeping on my side very uncomfortable so i slept on my back, propped  up at an angle as I normally do.   I was able to position pillows  to avoid  putting any sress on my perineal wound.

I tried several different pouching systems before settling on the one-piece Coloplast Sensura Mio drainable pouch.   I don't mind draining it and don't get grossed out easily, thank goodness. As someone mentioned,  manufacturers and suppliers are very good about sending samples so you'll get an opportunity to see what works best for you and your body- one piece, two-piece, closed end, drainable, convex, etc.

I hope your surgery goes well and that you recover quickly and easily.   Let us know  how everything goes.



Mikenh's picture
Posts: 779
Joined: Oct 2017

I got one of those triangluar foam wedges and it helps to keep the waste in the pouch towards the bottom of the pouch. If it goes up, it can spoil the filter or sometimes go out the other hole of the stoma. It may make it easier to get out of bed until your abs recover.

SonicSedition's picture
Posts: 30
Joined: May 2018

I thought of the same thing regarding the bed wedge. Should be here day before I go in. ;)

Posts: 253
Joined: Jul 2017

Good luck on your upcoming surgery.  My recovery was faster than I thought it would be.  I learned to adjust with the new lifestyle, with a bag.  Its more convenient to me as opposed to pre-cancer diagnosis where I had to run to the bathroom every 10 minutes or so.  I use the hollister brand, one piece, I change it just once a week (well my husband does because I'm a chicken).  You just have to be careful with the sleeping positions to avoid leakage, especially during the first days after the surgery where there is still a fresh wound nearby.  Having the bag is a lifesaver for me, you'll learn to love it eventually as I do.  

beaumontdave's picture
Posts: 1130
Joined: Aug 2013

This may not apply with your surgery, but they cut me wide, and during the healing of each surgery, I had thick, fluffy pillows on the bed firstly to hug every time I needed t o cough, and just to allow me to adjust my position any way that felt good......................................Dave

Posts: 112
Joined: Jun 2017

Hi everyone

I had colon tumor removal surgery with colostomy on 7-19-18.Liver mets still in place. First I used ine piece pouch for several time but had leakage proble now using two pieces pouch which is more effective for me. My stoma is on my right side. I can not sleep on side completeley but half way on side is ok. I was told give 2 months for total recovery, and bowel movements will have its pattern. I am still empting pouch 5-7 times a day. I hope this help.



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