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Reversal Surgery

Posts: 17
Joined: Sep 2018

Good Morning,

My husband will be getting his reversal surgery sometime in October.  In general, what is the recovery time?  He is worried about taking time off again from work.  Would you say he would need a week?  a month?  Just looking for a general time frame as I know everyone is different.  He has rectal cancer and had his tumor removed in June.  He is now doing four rounds of chemo.  Then he'll have a month off, then reversal surgery.



suzycruise76's picture
Posts: 146
Joined: Mar 2019

I am going to have a reversal surgery in a few weeks.I have not asked my doctor how long is my recovery going to take-I am not working anymore (76 years old),so I take it the way it comes.

Just today I had a hypaque enema colon X-ray exam,which showed all normal,no leak. The next step is a flexible sigmoidoscopy next week,when my chirurg will decide if he is going to proceed with the surgery any time soon (I can't wait!) 

I will gladly let you know about the procedure and lenght of my stay at the hospital.

You write that your husband had a surgery,and now is doing chemo. I was wondering if he had a chemo and radiation before the surgery? Is it necessary for him to have another chemo now?

I had a colorectal tumour diagnosed in January this year;chemo (Xeloda) plus 5 weeks of radiation 5x/week; surgery May 31. My pathology results were very good-all negative,no lymph nodes affected,no mets. My oncologist offered me another chemo,but did not insist on it,and after our long discussion agreed that it is NOT necessary for me.

I had decided that I didn't want more side effects which would heavily affected my life without any bigger influence on my cancer-free life. We had taken into consideration my age as well; if I were somewhere in 30,40,even fifties,I would probably went for the chemo as well.

If you don't mind,tell us your husband's story. I wish him the very best treatment and results,


Kaleena's picture
Posts: 2057
Joined: Nov 2009

I had an ileostomy reversal surgery in June and by mid July I was able to return to work.  I stayed 4 days in the hospital.   My previous surgery (in April) was removal of my large intestine along with the rectum (and tumor) and removal of part of my small intestine due to an infiltrating mesh.



Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6694
Joined: Feb 2009

Everyone is different, but it isn't a picnic trying to get your bowels to always cooperate the way you want.  He is going to be sore for several weeks but will be able to get back to work.  Wishing him well and it will be good to have it reversed.  He should ask the doctor also what the restrictions will be because sometimes driving won't be permitted for a certain length of time.


airborne72's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Sep 2012


This is my story.  Hope it provides some insight.

Background: I was diagnosed with rectal cancer in May 2017 (stage II clinical).  In July and August 2017 I underwent 25 sessions of radiation while taking Xeloda.  CT scan in September 2017 showed complete eradication of tumor.  Resection surgery was performed in October 2017 and a temporary ileostomy was created to allow my rectum more time to heal.  Pathological staging was reduced to TONOMO.  In November 2017 I agreed to adjuvant chemo (FOLFOX6) but only completed three sessions before I stopped due to the detrimental effects.  Another CT scan was conducted in March 2018 and indicated NED.  On March 26, 2018 I underwent surgery to remove my port and to reverse my ileostomy.

My surgery lasted about two hours and was without any complications.  However, I remained in recovery for an additional two hours because we could not get my pain under control.  Once I was rolled to my room I began to relax and finally my pain relented.  No catheter.  I had an IV and a PCA.  My diet was clear liquids only.  At this time we were monitoring for any issues from the surgery and anxiously awaiting the awakening of my bowels.  No issues during the night except for insomnia.

Tuesday (day after surgery) was the beginning of the increase in my intestinal discomfort.  By afternoon I was definitely feeling some cramping.  My appetite, even for liquids, began to wane.  During that night the intestinal discomfort turned into pain.

Wednesday was my worse pain day.  I would alternate between moments of relative rest separated by increasingly expanding episodes of very painful cramping.  That is when I began to vomit.  Oh boy, did that ever hurt!  I never developed any fever but I alternated between hot flashes and chills.  Miserable.  Finally, at 1 a.m. on Thursday morning I experienced my first BM.  I was so happy because it began the process of pressure relief in my bowels.  Those trips to the toilet occurred every 90 minutes until early morning.

Thursday was not as painful as Wednesday, but I still had my moments.  I was walking more frequently and for longer duration throughout the day.  I also sat on the toilet several times through the day (probably 10) and was evacuating nothing but clear liquids or slightly brown liquids.  Nothing anywhere close to a formed stool.  I tried to convince the surgeon to discharge me.  He knew best and I stayed one more night.

Friday was my day to leave the hospital.  I felt so much better and knew that my condition would improve and the healing process accelerate once I got home.  I was successful in getting their permission to leave the hospital on my own - no wheelchair.  I was motivated to put distance between me and the hospital!  When I got home I took a long nap.  As is my nature, I wanted to test my abilities so early that evening I drove myself to a Kroger (one minute drive) and bought some food items that I thought I would need.  I did this also to see if I could do it.  It was a success.  I did not poop in my pants.

Saturday and Sunday were similar days of recovery.  For whatever reason, my bowels seem to be more active at night so my sleep (at night) has been even more disrupted than it was with the ileostomy.  On average, I was making three trips to the toilet each night.  Through the days it was about 10 times.  Gas seemed to be the greatest culprit because it significantly increased the sense of urgency.

Overall, I am so happy to no longer share my life with an ileostomy.  In the meantime, I am defining my new normal and learning how to manage it.  By the way, after a few days of carefully selecting items to include in my diet, I said to heck with it and ate some corn on the cob and a fresh salad.  It was wonderful and did not cause me any intestinal distress.


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