Removal of rectal tumor - Buckwirth

Procedure or Surgery Associated with Adenocarcinoma, Colorectal Cancer. Posted on August 11, 2011 View this journey (7 Experiences)

Abdominoperineal resection with permanent colostomy

Near the end of the radiation treatments I began to have extreme pain associated with bowel movements. Initially it was expected that there was a burn from the treatments, but as time went by, and the pain did not lessen, we realized it must be something else.

About a month after the end of radiotherapy, I had a movement just prior to an appointment with my Oncologist. When he saw how much pain I was in, he sent me immediately to the ER, where I was admitted to the hospital. They performed a sigmoidoscopy, determined that the pain was coming from my original tumor, and recommended the APR with permanent colostomy.

I had been told that this was likely surgery when I was first diagnosed, but my team decided there was no benefit to the surgery as long as there was no pain, excessive bleeding or blockage. Since I had already gone through the process of mentally preparing myself for this months earlier, the decision to have the surgery was an easy one.

This is a major surgery, the equivalent of losing a limb. Due to the small area involved, the surrounding organs do not move to take up the space created when the rectum is removed. Rather, the space first fills with fluid which is gradually replaced with scar tissue. The process of healing can take eight weeks or more, and is likely to include a wound that is slow to heal and that leaks fluid most of that time. In my case, it was a full eight weeks before I could sit normally in a car, and about nine weeks before I was comfortable driving.

The ostomy, while it takes getting used to, is not really a problem in daily living. Unlike some re-connection surgeries, you do not have to worry about whether or not a bathroom is close by.

After returning home, there was a home Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (WOCN) who came twice a week (or as needed) to train me to use the ostomy appliance. After a few weeks of using the drainable pouches, I switched to the one time use pouch. For me it was a much more pleasant alternative.

Went as Expected: Agree
Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
  • Accushla's Avatar

    Thank you for sharing - nice to know a little of what to expect.. Though I am filled with dread I glad to know I am not alone and continuing to read everyone's experiences will calm my nerves a bit.

    over 6 years ago
  • GolfGirl's Avatar

    I had an almost identical experience, one slight difference for me, I had a V-RAM in addition to the APR. They took an abdominal muscle and placed it in the void - this aids in healing. It was necessary for me because I am a diabetic and am a slow healer. I wasn't crazy about the idea but I healed great. I too switched from the drainable pouch to the closed pouch. I really felt like I was reading my own post :-)

    almost 6 years ago

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