I'm a little over 4 weeks out from my reversal. On the day of my reversal (8 weeks after "installing" the loop ileo), I had x-rays with an enema (clear liquid) to check for leakage or twists in my j-pouch. They checked my whole colon. Word of advice for the enema, the digital exam was painful so they used a hose only and not the normal enema end. That made the procedure a whole lot better than it would have been. I was able to see the x-rays on a computer screen which was cool. It was especially helpful to see what my j-pouch looked like. Weird feeling when I sat on the toilet to let some of the solution drain out - wasn't used to things coming out of there.
I started BMs the day of my surgery (Wed) - actually liquid streaming out of me. Not sure if it was the enema solution or the real thing. Depends definitely came in handy for the beginning but I was able to hold most of it until I got to the toilet. Continued BMs the next two days and was released from the hospital on Fri. Some BMs on Sat and Sun. No BMs on Mon. Woke up Tues at 3 am with severe chills and stomach pains (my stomach was very swollen and I'd lost so much weight that my husband described me as one of those starving children you see on TV). Took my temperature a few hours later and had a temp (about 100). Doc (by phone) suggested a liquid diet and a Thurs appointment. So sick on Wed that we moved doc appointment to that day and was admitted to the hospital for x-rays. They thought I had an infection or blockage but it turned out to be ileus (when your guts just don't want to function). I did have plenty of grumbling and stomach acid so they weren't too concerned. I left the hospital on Fri (2 days) after begging to be sprung so I could recup at the beach with family for a week (that was my 4th admission this year and I'd had enough of the hospital). Doc originally wanted me to stay because I wasn't healing as fast as I should have been and hadn't had a BM. Stitches are supposed to come out in 7 - 10 days and my stoma hole/4 staples area wasn't showing a lot of progress. They ended up taking out the staples and putting on surgerical strips.
The week at the beach was perfect for recovery. I was able to take lots of walks (very helpful!) and lay on my stomach (dig hole in the sand for wound area). I thought maybe all the meds were contributing to my problem so I primarily only took Gas-X, Tums and a probiotic for the week. I didn't have a BM until Sunday night and got cleaned out Monday and Tuesday. (Believe me, I did enjoy the no BMs for a week! ) BTW, I hear nature is supposed to help with healing so get outside when you can.
The swollen stomach is gone, my appetite is back and my stoma site is healing really fast now. It's almost closed up and started out about the size of a quarter. My biggest issue is fatigue. Most days I need to rest/take a nap every afternoon or go to bed really early (though some days I go to bed at 9:00 and then wake up at 5:00 and can't go back to sleep). I wake up 1 - 3 times a night to go to the bathroom (most of the time just pee - must be all the water I'm drinking or my colon finally sucking water out of waste but other days, my body picks 3:00 to empty out the days food). I'm thinking I will have more energy once my wound heals over completely. I hear it takes a lot of energy for the body to heal. For awhile my diet was primarily BRAT-based but I'm now eating all kinds of things. I have noticed some things like coffee and tomatoes are hard to eat. Haven't tried alcohol yet but am starting to crave a glass of wine - must mean I'm feeling better.
Aside from the ileus pain, pain hasn't been a big issue for me. Once I left the hospital the second time, I was off the pain meds and don't even take Tylenol. Gas and stomach acid/noise/discomfort has been my problem. I take Pepcid twice a day and GasX once or twice a day. Tums once in awhile. I also take a probiotic once a day. I haven't been able to take vitamins since they bother my stomach. I've just started taking 1/2 of a Flintstones chewable and have been able to tolerate that. I tried Immodium once (diarrhea is rare for me now), and didn't go for 2 days. When I went, it emptied everything out. I also tried the Metumucil wafers that you all recommended - yuck! How do you eat them?? I ate 1/2 of a cinnamon one and it tasted like cardboard. It also cleaned me out.
In terms of BMs, I go about 0 - 8 times a day (usually about 3 - 4 times). When I go, I'm usually in there for a little while since it comes out in small amounts. Not to be gross but I get really excited when a long one comes out. They are still on the thin side. I don't have a problem holding it in and once I leave the bathroom, I'm usually good for a few hours. I do have problems with gas when eating (from both ends which is strange because I never used to burp much).
Urgency doesn't seem to be as big as issue for me - probably because of the j-pouch. I do get butt burn sometimes and use Aquaphor. I also get occasion wet farts. I wear panty liners to protect from the farts and Aquaphor.
I'm still losing my hair which I asked my onc about. She said that it's not the chemo at this point but probably malnurishment. My body has been through a lot in the past 5 months (hospitalized for almost 3 weeks in order to complete radiation) and I've been on the BRAT diet, no/little food, or liquid diets (with no vitamins or nutritional supplements) for most of the time. My goal is to get as healthy as I can over the next month so I can start 8 rounds of FOLFOX on June 14th. That includes food, exercise, sleep and low stress (I've been out of work since December and I'm not going back until I see how I react to the chemo).
All in all, so far I'm glad I had the reversal when I did. I'm starting to feel more like a normal person. Good luck to others planning their reversals! Hope this info is helpful to you.