I had a right hemicolectomy in late Feburary 2009 due to Crohn's Disease and polyps generating pre-cancerous cells. Before my surgery, it was 50-50 as to whether I would have laparoscopic surgery vs. open incision. It was only when I woke up that I found out that my surgery was done laparoscopically, which means faster healing and smaller scars. I have a 3" vertical scar beside my navel so that the surgeon could remove 11" of my colon intact as opposed to cutting it up for removal. The pathology showed no cancer at all, thank goodness.
My surgery went well and removed my Crohn's Disease as well as the ileo-cecal area that was producing those nasty polyps. In addition to the removal of my small intestines and colon, some lymph nodes and blood vessels were also removed to help make sure that any potential cancerous cells were removed. I was on a Demerol pain pump while in the hospital, so I never experienced sharp pain. However, I forgot how much one's abdominal muscles are involved in virtually any movement of the body, so I needed help to get out of bed for about 2 weeks, since any movement created twinges of soreness. I was in the hospital for about a week (they had told me to expect 5 to 7 days). I also had Darvocet pain pills for when I got home, but I only needed them for less than a week.
The first week or so after surgery I went to the bathroom several times a day with loose stools. I initially had no appetite at all, and then gradually went on a soft diet: eggs, hot cereal, jello, sherbert, etc. I only last week got off a soft diet, so I'm introducing more fiber (such as 1/2 of a hamburger or 1/4 of an English muffin) in my diet albeit very slowly so I don't hurt. As a result, my stools are getting a little more firm, and my bathroom visit frequency is down to once a day for the most part.
A side benefit of my surgery was that I lost about 12 pounds, which is fine by me.
As part of my dietary habits, I've been eating very small meals with little to no carbs, which lets me retain my svelte figure. As a result, I'm motivated to watch my diet just to keep my weight down. I also try to walk every day to help the healing process.
The ileum and cecum are where Vitamin B12 is absorbed. In my case, both were removed, which means I'll need to get B12 injections. I'm seeing my GI doc in 2 weeks to determine what medications (such as Asacol) I should stay on, since my surgery supposedly removed all of my Crohn's Disease. However, I'm not cured of Crohn's, so there's a chance it will recur. I'm willing to do what it takes to keep it from coming back.
My scars are healing well. For a few weeks after surgery, the skin around my abdomen was extremely sensitive, but that has dissipated. In addition to the main scar next to my navel, I have 3 other tiny scars around my abdomen where they inserted the additional instruments and scopes used for laparascopic surgery. The surgeons and other docs I spoke with said not to bother with Vitamin E, special anti-scar creams, lotions, etc.; they don't do anything to eliminate the scars. It will just take a long time for them to fade on their own.
One tip to help make your hospital stay a little easier: hospitals are notoriously bad places to get any sleep, especially at night due to all the noise and interruptions for middle-of-the-night blood draws, vital sign checks, early morning doctor visits, etc. So I wore an eye mask to block out the light, and played white noise from http://www.PureWhiteNoise.com
that I had uploaded to my Ipod to block out all the corridor chatter and roommate moans. Worked like a charm!
Good luck to you!