just had surgery - questions

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mct
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:08 pm

just had surgery - questions

Postby mct » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:08 pm

HI all
I had surgery yesterday for RC. The surgeon had predicted an over 80% chance of having a stoma. However he said the re-attachment looked so perfect he didn't think it was warranted. So I'm super happy that I don't have an ostomy bag. But now starting to feel some anxiety creeping in about what that first bowel movement will be like and worried about a leak. I have no reason to think anything will go wrong, just hard not to worry. Also good news is that the chemo/rads shrunk the tumour to the size of a pea!

For those of you that did not need an ileostomy, what was your experience like post surgery? Thanks in advance for your insight.

mich
Breast cancer 2009
Rectal cancer Nov 2016, T3N0M0, CEA - 10.3
28 days rads/Xeloda - finished Jan 19 2017
Surgery ULAR Mar 17, 2017
Anastomotic leak, surgery for ileostomy April 4, 2017
May 2017 CEA - 2

Jacques
Posts: 408
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 10:38 am

Re: just had surgery - questions

Postby Jacques » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:33 am

If you just had surgery, then you must be in the one-month rest period between surgery and the beginning of adjuvant chemotherapy. You didn't mention it, but I assume that you will be continuing on with adjuvant chemotherapy in a month or so.

I had an ileostomy, so I cannot answer your main question about post-surgery experience without an ostomy bag. However, I have my own opinions, based mainly on what I would call common sense.

What I would say is that in the next few months you would need to make sure that you do not eat anything that is going to get stuck in the newly formed anastomosis junction or that would cause that part of the neo-rectum to expand too much. One of the cautions I think, would be to always eat several small meals instead of one large one. If you eat a large meal, it is likely to eventually end up transiting through your neo-rectum as a large mass of stool that may cause too much pressure on the new junction. Also, I think that you should probably avoid high residue foods with big chunks, such as trail mix snacks, muesli, pineapple chunks, etc. Whatever you eat, you should be sure to chew it very, very well so that it doesn't end up being an undigested mass. Also, I think that it would be a good idea to try to avoid foods that cause a lot of gas, since if a big volume of gas ends up in the neo-rectum area near the anastomosis junction then it might put too much pressure on the junction. Of course, you should also avoid foods that are known to cause constipation, since a large, constipating stool passing through the neo-rectum junction would probably put excessive pressure on the junction.

These are just a few suggestions off the top of my head, As I said above, these suggestions are not based on actual experience similar to yours. They are based on some of the things I went through after my ileostomy reversal, when I had to manage what went through the newly patched-up part of my rectum.

Another point: Now that you have completed the surgery, you should get a written copy of the pathology report from your surgery and discuss it with your doctor. There will be many new medical terms to learn, but most of them are very important in determining your risk level for possible future recurrences. The pathology report is what the doctors look at very closely when they are trying to determine the best regimen to use for mop-up adjuvant therapy. You should ask your oncologist what regimen they have planned for you. If it is either Folfox of Xelox, then it would contain oxaliplatin. In that case you might want to discuss methods of reducing the oxaliplatin dose or doing an oxaliplatin desensitization protocol, because the side effects of oxaliplatin can be rather bothersome.
DX(2012): RC
Stage IIc,T4b N0 M0 L0 PN1 H0 D0 P0 I1
LAR
MSI: not tested
Chimio-radiothérapie
Chimiothérapie adjuvante : capécitabine + oxaliplatine
CEA < 1.0,
5 years NED,
End of 6-month follow-ups: 7/2017
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List of Forum Features
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ColleenC
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:33 pm

Re: just had surgery - questions

Postby ColleenC » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:39 pm

Hi Mich,

I had a Lower Anterior Resection four months ago for rectal cancer. I did short term radiation pre op as well. My surgeon thought I would need a bag but I ended up in the same situation as you. He determined that I did not need a bag. I remember being so scared about my first bowel movement. It started off slow though and I had a few little stools each day starting about 2 weeks after surgery. It is now slowly getting more and more. I can't say that it was easy. Figuring out your diet and what you can and can't eat is really important. It takes time and I am no where close to figuring it all out. It is scary and if I could give you any advise it is to stick to the diet your surgeon has suggested for at least the first month. My diet had very restricted fibre and I did not think it made sense. After a few weeks I added fibre too quickly and it caused some other issues. I learned my lesson. :) Your bowel movements will start and it probably will not be as scary as you think it will be. As my surgeon keeps telling me we have to figure out what our new normal is.

Good luck with your recovery,
Colleen
Rectal Cancer Diagnosed Sept 2016
Pre op Short Term Radiation November 2016
LAR November 2016

Need2talk
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:24 pm
Facebook Username: Janicejones

Re: just had surgery - questions

Postby Need2talk » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:24 pm

I had lower resection. I did receive a list of things not to eat and I made sure I did not have a lot of fiber in the beginning as he instantly came out and was not pleasant but everything did work of. I remember random pains and it was hard to figure anything out bc there was no schedule. But it did get better

mct
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:08 pm

Re: just had surgery - questions

Postby mct » Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:34 pm

Thanks for the replies!

It's only been 8 days since the LAR with no stoma. I've had to take some stool softeners, and twice I've taken a laxative because the pressure/pain in my bowel is awful. I've had a couple of larger bowel movements...felt a little better after but not during!! I'm strictly following the low residue diet, small portions and chewing food like crazy. I keep trying to find information about what the norm is re bowel movements after surgery, and how long it takes to get somewhat 'normal', but it seems that everyone really is quite different. Wish I could fast-forward a month or 2....praying it gets better.

enjoy your weekend,
mich
Breast cancer 2009
Rectal cancer Nov 2016, T3N0M0, CEA - 10.3
28 days rads/Xeloda - finished Jan 19 2017
Surgery ULAR Mar 17, 2017
Anastomotic leak, surgery for ileostomy April 4, 2017
May 2017 CEA - 2

JudiB
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:30 am

Re: just had surgery - questions

Postby JudiB » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:36 am

I had a resection if ileum/rectum with no ostomy, in January, with 10 days before​ my first bowel movement​... Felt like ages as they wouldn't discharge me until a movement occurred
Now I still find that I have nore frequent movements but smaller and my bowel doesn't fully empty so I have to keep returning to the loo. The surgeon says this is normal and will resolve itself with time.
Like you I feared any pushing would​ cause a leak but it didn't. Just inconvenient at the moment if I'm out and have to keep returning to the toilet .
As I'm on chemo now I guess i must let my body​ cope with one thing at a time so the frequency feels lower in priority until chemo finished.
Big hugs and try to include some prunes and ripe bananas in your daily diet. .... both helped me to make things move naturally.
Xxx see
May 2004 Breast cancer lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy, Tamoxifen 5 years, then Femara 2 years.

Jan 2017 resection around colo-rectal junction
T2bN1 M0
March 2017 Chemo Folfox started. Oxaliplatin for 4 treatments, then just 5 FU and Leucovorin for remaining 8 treatments.
June 2017 clear scan
Last chemo August 2017
August 2017 clear scan

mct
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:08 pm

Re: just had surgery - questions

Postby mct » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:24 pm

As I'm on chemo now I guess i must let my body​ cope with one thing at a time so the frequency feels lower in priority until chemo finished.

Thank you Julie...so nice to hear from others going through the same journey. Question - has the chemo exasperated your bowel issues? Good luck to you. Hope you finish treatment without too many side effects.

mich
Breast cancer 2009
Rectal cancer Nov 2016, T3N0M0, CEA - 10.3
28 days rads/Xeloda - finished Jan 19 2017
Surgery ULAR Mar 17, 2017
Anastomotic leak, surgery for ileostomy April 4, 2017
May 2017 CEA - 2

JudiB
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:30 am

Re: just had surgery - questions

Postby JudiB » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:30 pm

Hi Mitch
I'm just doing my 3rd Folfox. I have a few very loose bowel mornings but mostly it's pretty much the same.... I pass frequently and usually much smaller stools.
The oncologist said that looseness happens with Folfox but the anti nausea meds cause constipation. So far they seem to balance each other out!
I hope your chemo goes ok in terms of comfort... I have used this forum a lot since I began my horrible journey. So much experience on here and knowing that it comes from folks who know exactly what you're going through helps so much.
Big hugs and hope those bothersome bowels become less of an issue very soon.
Judi
May 2004 Breast cancer lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy, Tamoxifen 5 years, then Femara 2 years.

Jan 2017 resection around colo-rectal junction
T2bN1 M0
March 2017 Chemo Folfox started. Oxaliplatin for 4 treatments, then just 5 FU and Leucovorin for remaining 8 treatments.
June 2017 clear scan
Last chemo August 2017
August 2017 clear scan

mct
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:08 pm

Re: just had surgery - questions

Postby mct » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:21 pm

Thanks Julie...I wish there was a 'like' button for posts :) Just to clarify, I'm not on chemo. See the onc April 13 to find it if it's needed. The chemo reference in my first paragraph was a quote from your post, except somehow I screwed up the 'quote' function.
Breast cancer 2009
Rectal cancer Nov 2016, T3N0M0, CEA - 10.3
28 days rads/Xeloda - finished Jan 19 2017
Surgery ULAR Mar 17, 2017
Anastomotic leak, surgery for ileostomy April 4, 2017
May 2017 CEA - 2


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