• Coping after colon surgery

    Asked by advice4me on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

    Coping after colon surgery

    What do you wish you knew about coping with daily activities after colon surgery that no one told you about. I do not have a “significant other” to help me through this so I need to plan as many things in advance as I can. I have some friends who will help me with some activities, but I do not want to impose on them too much. This is my second “prime“ cancer and last time my mother’s caregiver could help me as well. That’s not the case this time. Thanks for your advice.

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • alivenwell's Avatar

      Wow. At least you have help. It depends on whether surgery is done with a laparoscopic method or open surgery. If you have the latter, ask for a binder that goes around your waist. I presume you are familiar with a mediport pump. It is a tube in your shoulder that runs outside your body. The other end of the tube is a pump that tries to insert chemo. If you have chemo you may have extreme cold sensitivity so get the oven glove out to reach in the fridge. Also, Folfox is usually used. It helped to eat simple carbs like plain rice, oatmeal, etc.

      4 months ago
    • JaneA's Avatar

      Since you live alone, you will probably need to be released into a rehab facility for a couple of weeks. I don't believe that you would be able to go home directly after this surgery. Getting out of bed is challenging because there is pain after a major surgery. If your surgery is performed laparoscopically, it is less painful.

      You'll need to eat low residue foods like chicken and rice, oatmeal, pudding. Turkey or chicken sandwiches on white bread.

      I wish that I could help you more, but you're definitely going to need help at home for a few weeks. Best wishes for treatment success.

      4 months ago
    • Kbaarch's Avatar

      Even though it was only two years ago I don’t remember too many issues. I had 8+ hours of open surgery. I was sore for several months but was back exercising after 3 months(still sore). Get some scar reducer creme. My tumor was in ascending colon so I had no bowel issues or bags to deal with. If laparoscopic ( which I doubt) that was a quicker recovery.

      4 months ago
    • advice4me's Avatar

      @alivenwell, JaneA, and Kbaarch. Thank you for your insight regarding after surgery care. Fortunately, the surgery will be laparoscopic so it's good to know about the waist binder. I do know about the medi-port pump. I actually still have it implanted from my breast cancer, but it stopped working a couple of years ago even though I had it flushed regularly. If I have to go through chemo again, I will definitely have another implanted because the first chemo blew out my main vein and the other arm can't be used because of the risk of lymphedema. I'm praying I will not have to go through chemotherapy again because the last chemo left me with permanent peripheral neuropathy and my medical oncologist says that the only cocktail that works for colon cancer also has a high risk of causing the same side effect.

      As far as food that is tolerable after surgery, I have been hunting for a website that has colon cancer recipes that I can make ahead. I finally found this site on Stanford'sNutrition Services for Cancer Patients. If it will help anyone else, the URL is https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-clinics/cancer-nutrition-services.html#recipes.

      4 months ago
    • Skyemberr's Avatar

      It sounds like you are on the right track. The main thing is that if you end up with an Ostomy you will have a different recovery and care needs than if your insides ask stay connected.

      I spent over 20 day's in the hospital with a sternum to pelvis incision, an ileostomy, transplant to rebuild the vaginal wall and drains and a lot of complications.

      Every surgery is different though. A nurse coming once a day after I went home was not enough. I needed constant care from my family. So talk to your doctor and see if that could be the case for you. Skilled nursing facilities are no fun but are an option if you need that extra care for a little while so you can get strong enough to be home alone.

      Also, if you end up with an Ostomy you will need to practice changing that bandage. Wound care nurses are wonderful and can help a lot with that.

      Good luck! I know it's a big deal to have this surgery. I'm about to head up to take care of my mom who has the same cancer that I do and is going to have her surgery finally. On the bright side, at least I can be a good advocate for her.

      I hope you have some folks there at your side. If not, you can always ask questions here if you think they are doing something wrong.

      4 months ago
    • Jayne's Avatar

      I agree with the others who recommend you have some help via a rehab facility following surgery. You may be ok, but it doesn't make sense to take the chance. Also, a trick I learned from my multiple surgeries if you don't have a bed that moves to help you out. Tie something (I used my bathrobe belt) to the end of the bed and use it to help you lift yourself up. Works like a charm if you are coping alone. Getting out of bed sounds easy until you've had abdominal surgery! Best of luck to you and sending healing thoughts your way.

      4 months ago

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