• Rectal Cancer Surgery Questions

    Asked by CrazyHarry on Thursday, April 4, 2013

    Rectal Cancer Surgery Questions

    Heading to the hospital soon for surgery to remove my tumor or what's left of it after chemo/radiation. How long should I expect to be in the hospital and how long to recover before I can work and travel?

    Most likely an open procedure with temporary ileostomy. Since I'm still too "cuddly".

    I had thought they would do a colostomy right above the surgery site, but it looks like they actually do a ileostomy from the small bowel where it connects to the large bowel.

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • LauraJo's Avatar
      LauraJo

      Everyone is different, but I was in the hospital 6 days, including surgery day, was at home for an additional 2 weeks, then went back to the office gradually...2 hours a day, 4 hours a day over the next few weeks. I have great bosses! I did work at home as well, at my own pace. All of my work was done laprascopically though. As I recall, the surgeon told me to expect to be in the hospital for one full week after surgery, so I got out early. I spent an awful lot of time doing laps around the ward, which really helps...take an mp3 player to listen to while walking. And I believe I was able to drive as soon as I stopped taking painkillers.

      about 4 years ago
    • LauraJo's Avatar
      LauraJo

      Good luck to you with your procedure. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

      about 4 years ago
    • CrazyHarry's Avatar
      CrazyHarry

      I'm too cuddly for laparoscopy. At least that's what my surgeon told me. I've lost about 13 but that's about 25% of what she told me. :(

      about 4 years ago
    • wolfinindy's Avatar
      wolfinindy

      What is / was the stage of your tumor ?? I had a T2N0 and had a TEM done. Now 5 years out and clean !! I would at least ask about the possibility. MUCH less invasive with no ostomy. Just a thought. Good luck and you will beat this !!

      about 4 years ago
    • KarenN@StF's Avatar
      KarenN@StF

      LauraJo's description of length of stay and activity following surgery is on the mark! Returning to work depends on the type of work you do and traveling any distance by car or by plane after surgery poses risks for blood clots. Talk to your doctor about those questions.
      The things that you can manage and have impact on your recovery are activity, diet, pain management and attitude. Make sure you utilize the pain meds prior to activity and use them regularly for as long as you need to- to keep pain manageable. It may not take all the pain away, but it is less stressful on your body to keep it at an even keel rather than spike and drop, spike and drop. Begin getting out of bed as soon as possible after surgery and increase activity daily- if you walk 2x the first day, try to walk three times and slightly farther the next day and continue to build on that. Alternate activity with rest periods, use the incentive spirometer and do deep breathing/coughing exercises every 2-3 hours to prevent pneumonia, don't use straws after surgery- it increases the air in your tummy and can contribute to discomfort, nausea and feeling bloated. Go slow with diet- simple foods, minimal fiber at first, do stay hydrated with an ileostomy-make sure you get specific instructions about ileostomy care, not just stoma and changing the bag, but regarding diet, tracking amount that you take in and the amount that comes out.
      Remember that steady progress on diet and activity is progress. Don't rush things! Be the tortoise and stay in it for the long haul! Good Luck and I expect by your description of being "cuddly" that you are a person with a good attitude and outlook. You'll do great!

      about 4 years ago
    • Fitness64's Avatar
      Fitness64

      Everyone is so different. I was told I needed an iliostomy n woke without one just a 6 and 1/2 inch scar. I came home after 6 th day. I tried to keep walking. I feel that helped me lot. Work- yup depends on what you do etc. see what happens n take one day and step at a time. Good luck and let us know

      about 4 years ago
    • cindywho's Avatar
      cindywho

      Hi CrazyHarry My name is Cindy Burnett I myself is a rectal cancer survivor going on 4 years. I went thru chemo and radiation treatments before my 1st surgery in december 2009. I had a temporary ileostomy on my right side wore it for 6 months. I was off of work for 6 weeks stayed 5 days in the hospital. I didn't travel to far. If I had to go anywhere my 2 boys or husband took me to where I had to go. When I started to feel better went on my own. Good Luck and God bless you. I will be thinking of you when you have your surgery. When is your surgery????? Take care!!! Cindy Burnett 4 years rectal cancer survivor

      about 4 years ago
    • RobbieFlores' Avatar
      RobbieFlores

      I was in the hospital for 8 days. My tumor created some problems and I had 2 major complications that delayed my chemo. Everything is fine but you did ask and I wish my surgery had gone as planned but we just can't plan everything the way we want to. My surgery was July 26,2012. I still haven't returned to work as I still have 4 more chemo sessions to do plus I do Erbitux every week. My last session will be on May 22 and I hope to return to work by June. That will make my total time off from work at one year and six months. I had expected to be out for six months. But I'm OK with how everything has turned out. I had stage 4 rectal cancer and have a permanent colostomy which has been the least of my worries it works so well. Good luck my friend .Being cuddly is a good thing :0)

      about 4 years ago
    • joyce1979's Avatar
      joyce1979

      Like LauraJo, I too got out early from the hospital about 5 days. Also did the laps around the nurses station so I could go home as soon as possible. You will feel better & stronger each day after surgery & will be taught how to deal with the ileostomy before you leave the hospital. You won't have any food while in the hospital. The dr. only let me have hard candies to suck on. Said we have to re-awaken the digestive system. It was great to be home , but it took some getting used to the ileostomy. Had it reversed as soon as it was possible after healing, etc. To me, the chemo and radiation was worse than the actual surgery. May everything go well with you & yours & God bless you. Cuddly is good....as others have said.

      about 4 years ago
    • jearlesred's Avatar
      jearlesred

      I was in the hospital for 10 days following my colectomy. The chemo/radiation had shrunk the tumor down to nothing, but my surgeon removed about a foot of my colon just to be sure. I woke up with an NG tube (goes in through the nose and into the stomach to drain excess bile) and was not allowed to eat or drink for 5 days until they were sure I wouldn't become nauseous and vomit. After my doctor removed the NG tube, I was able to drink and slowly add foods back to my diet. I also was given a temporary ileostomy (I previously had a colostomy, so I now have two lovely scars) and was kept in the hospital until my bowels started working again. One warning - be sure your bowel movements are not too liquidy so that you become dehydrated. With the ileostomy, they will be looser than with the colostomy because of where the ostomy is placed. However, I was not advised on this and became so dehydrated that I had to return to the hospital for a week until we got things to firm up (this happened just a few weeks after my colectomy). If you notice your bowel movements do become too loose, stick to a low fiber diet. I would also suggest drinking something that contains electrolytes (SmartWater or Gatorade are my favorites). I had my ileostomy reversed about 10 weeks after my colectomy and was given an 'open wound' to deal with. This is not the most pleasant experience, but it is supposed to cut down on the possibility of infection. Basically, the wound is not sewn shut, it is left open and you pack it with gauze saturated in hydrogel and cover it. This took about 2 months too heal completely. Good luck with everything!

      about 4 years ago
    • CrazyHarry's Avatar
      CrazyHarry

      Thanks to everyone for your responses.

      Sadly, I have too much personal experience with colectomies and related operations. Both my wife and daughter have had then due to colitis and both had every complication listed above and more. And along with that, I've given myself title of unlicensed Ostomy and wound care nurse.

      about 4 years ago
    • NanaL's Avatar
      NanaL

      Good luck with your procedure. I hope all goes smoothly and you return home as soon as possible.Try not to become too impatient and stay as long as you need to. Your recovery at home will go better if you don't try to rush your hospital stay. Wishing you a speedy and healthy recovery!

      about 4 years ago
    • Khoffart's Avatar
      Khoffart

      I was in the hospital for 8 days. Surgery went good and I ended up with a temporary ileostomy. I wasn't working outside the home so didn't have to go back to work- just took it easy at home. Then 10 months later, just this past January, I had ileostomy reversal surgery and it went good also.

      about 4 years ago

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