My Laparoscopic Sigmoid Resection Aug2019

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Greetings DD Community:)

Some of you may have read my previous posts concerning my debate whether to do surgery or not.

This post is my report, post-op D-Day + 4.

Following my 6th round of antibiotics since the beginning of my DD troubles in Oct 2018, I elected to have the laparoscopic sigmoid resection. My surgeon came highly recommended and he delivered like a dream. He was able to remove all of my infected area (12 inches). My sigmoid colon was fused to my belly wall in addition to being riddled with diverticuli and scar tissue. I feel beyond a reasonable doubt that I made the right decision to get the sigmoidectomy done.

For those of you who are debating whether to have this surgery or not is why I am sharing my testimony to further help you elect yes or no. There are many factors to consider naturally: logistical, emotional & physical. Some of you may live in a country such as England where a resection will only be provided if there is a life threatening complication vs another system such as the one I worked with here in USA under Medicaid. I did not have to pay one cent for my surgery, medicine or hospital stay bc of my program.

Emotionally, this decision was not hard to make for me after I adjusted my lifestyle in every factor that was available. I quit smoking, drinking, changed my diet as directed, a consistent exercise regiment and the problems still persisted. DD runs in my family and I have watched many of my kin suffer for decades-- living a life with a ball and chain where the disease plays boss whilst its b***h is ruled by this cruel and relentless condition. I tried everything under the sun, spent thousands in homeopathic remedies/treatments and it was like trying to get an old air-cooled engine to run with outdated broken parts, expensive labor from unlicensed mechanics who want to make a buck off of you to "save you" from a money-hungry system of doctors who are looking to "chop you up" and make a buck.

I was most certainly afraid to get this surgery done but because of the fear of failure, the hospital stay, the pain of recovery, the thought of losing a foot of my body, etc; however, the mere thought of being free of DD and all that came with it was enough to convince me to stop walking this tightrope walk after a year of total hell. My point is that this is about YOU! Not the doctors, the system or the money. By removing the infected area I am now disease free and my chances of reoccuring DD are is a mere 12/100. I am willing to take those chances over living my life in the dark, on a razor thin line, afraid to eat anything that may flare me up and lead to a life threatening complication. Once you have so many attacks the risks of surgery then become less than your risks you run trying to maintain a wild beast that can explode at any moment or develop over time into a septic nightmare that will give you no choice but an open surgery plus stoma port, additional reversal surgeries etc. Please forgive my passionate discourse on this matter but I have a highly opinionated take on this decision tree after my experiences.

My recovery is not nearly as bad as I imagined and there is much less to be afraid of given you follow the wisdom and technique prescribed by the team you chose to work with. I researched my surgeon long before I committed to him and the procedure. There is most certainly a learning curve and you must be one with the process of healing if you want success given the operation was executed correctly. The rest is in the patient's hands. There are trying moments behind any surgery and the recovery but these sorts of challenges make a person stronger and give them the courage needed. If you love life and want to live it to the fullest, one must also face the hard moments. Thank goodness we have sources of strength whether they be family/friends, faith, humor and or all of the above. All of these I have received assistance from and I am so grateful that I have made these choices.

I am willing to answer any questions anyone has regarding this surgery. I am strongly in favor of nipping this disease while it is young and hasn't eroded your entire intestinal tract. Those who wait too long stand the chance of being married to a colostomy bag for eternity. I do believe that there is no one fixes all remedy for DD but a healthy lifestyle in combination with the sigmoidectomy leaves better chances of living a pain-free, disease free life vs the other options.

I am just going to say now that the worst parts of the recovery are these: The Co2 buildup in your body cavity can be most painful if you do not keep on top of the gas pain. Walk walk walk walk and keep your body moving. Get out of bed on a regular basis and walk your laps in the hospital. Movement is the key.

Secondly, you have to learn how to use your arms and legs to erect your body when getting out of bed to use the bathroom. Your abdominal strength is going to be compromised by the incisions whether done open or laparoscopic. Once you figure these two factors out, recovery is quite simple. This is not a cake walk but considering the alternatives I am SO happy i made this choice. I am already eating foods i have been denied for seemingly eons. My body is starting to return to a healthy state and I cannot express how elated I am to have a second chance at life again without that monkey on my back!

2 likes, 15 replies

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    What an inspirational story. I am delighted that the outcome is what you hoped for and that you have literally turned your life and health around.

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  • Posted

    I have a very similar story. i had my surgery done with the open incision n on July 21st. I was in the hospital for 11 days on antibiotics to no avail. I had the surgery day 13. The surgeon started by laparoscopy but ended up doing an open because of scaring from previous surgery. I stayed in patient for another 5 days.

    i am very happy with my decision but it was a long and scary road. lots of unknowns. I am 4 weeks out today and feeling better everyday. I am eating just about everything but finding I eat much smaller amounts more frequently.

    Bowel movements normal after stopping narcotics.. Good luck to all and yes it is decision not to take lightly but to know that a normal lifestyle is hopefully the end result.

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  • Posted

    I suffered years of pain with diverticulitis, spending more and more time on antibiotics to no avail. I was eventually offered surgery after a particularly bad bout where I lost a stone in 10 days and spent several days in hospital. I was in hospital for 16 days following keyhole surgery, where I suffered from ileus, a bad reaction to morphine and ended up with a NGT, not a pleasant experience. Recovery took a long time, where i gradually learnt what i could eat, and had to beware of too much fibre in my diet.

    Despite it not being plain sailing, I have no regrets about opting for surgery and now, 2 years down the line, am living a painfree, normal life able to eat almost anything in moderation.

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  • Posted

    Good for you! I'm about 18 months past open cut sigmoid colectomy surgery. The main thing to remember is the surgery itself only took out the damaged tissue, not the disease. Always be aware of what you eat and how much. Definitely eating more healthy (now that I can eat salads, vegetables, etc.). Excercise and lots of water is key for the recuperation and for the rest of your life. I still have issues with my scar tissue, was told to expect it. I did have another attack brought on by UTI last June which is common with this disease. Not many people know that UTI'S and diverticulitis walk hand in hand. I was actually pleasantly surprised how mild the attack was compared to the ones I had (19+) before my surgery.

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  • Posted

    i was just diagnosed in late May 2019. Had a colonoscopy a month ago which found no scar tissue or any other issues. I feel like I am walking on thin ice every day. The constant fear of ending up in the bathroom after eating is insane. It is hard not to be depressed. I am eating heathy and have not had any issues for a few months but the recovery from my last episode has not been easy. Constant discomfort in my midsection seems to be the new normal for me. I have done my research online because my doctors refuse to call me back when i reach out for help. Does anybody here know of a good dist to follow for this condition?

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  • Posted

    I had this surgery last July..So I'm a year in and very much agree with you..I got to the point where I was just marginally or very sick a lot of the time..It starts to effect your attitude in life..state of mind..I am working on my relationship with food and health now more than ever and I'm no longer sick and tired..It makes a difference..Not that I am saying I got myself into Diver, but I am genetically prone to it and also emotionally involved with food..So the surgery gave me a jumping off point to start to get to know my body and eat for life, health, and I also exercise now..I'm just paying more attention to my response and relationship with food.

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  • Posted

    Thank you for sharing your story, my sympathy and empathy is with you. I was just told this week I am a candidate for this procedure. I am also in the USA. Perhaps speaking through a private message may be better? I would love to hear more about your experience.

    Any input is MUCH appreciated,

    ALBERT

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    • Posted

      Always keep in mind that everyone is different. If they ask you if you want a "block ", say yes, it really helps with the pain level. I had open cut which has a longer healing time. Follow exactly what your doctors tell you. Remember, it takes at least 6 weeks for your stomach and colon to heal, so stay on the soft diet until then. Also what goes in has to come out so be kind to yourself. The antibiotics do a number on your stomach so take it easy on the fried, acidic foods, and spicy food.

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  • Posted

    Hey Daniel - many thanks for this - its super informative and very candid. May I ask what decade you are in? I'm in my 50's and it would be good to know when the chances of a successful outcome start deteriorating. I totally appreciate the risk/reward calculation! Also I'd be interested in where you elected to have the surgery.

    Best regards

    James

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    • Posted

      I know you asked Daniel, but I'm in my late 50's and had the open cut surgery. Alot depends upon how active you are. You have to walk a lot and drink plenty of water and Gatorade to help the healing process. Also watch your diet in the beginning, mainly soft foods before you venture out into the normal world of food. Everyone is different and their disease is in different phases.

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  • Posted

    I feel like a walking time bomb. I spent 3 days in the hospital last month. IV antibiotics and then home with antibiotics for 10 days. My doctor told me it didn't matter what i ate that i was one of 10% that have it this bad. I've decided to have surgery but Doc wants to wait 3 months to give my colon time to heal. last week i began to gave pain again went for CT and not Div. but my colon was inflamed. guess what, i have C DIFF. i probably picked up from my hospital stay. I've missed more work this year than i have total in the past 21 years. i also have huge medical bills. I WISH I could have the surgery today and get my life back.

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    • Posted

      Hang in there Linda. Have you tried anti-inflammatory agents like aloe vera puree and or licorce extract? My daily routine involved drinking the aloe vera and licorce root before i ate or drank anything. After that i would have a hot cup of peppermint or chamomille tea. my diet after that consisted of things that i knew would not inflame me. In my case, chicken noodle or chicken rice soup, eggs, turkey lunch meat, peanutbutter sandwiches. It was monotonous as hell but it kept me afloat for months while i waited for my surgery. Hit me up if you need any pointers!

      Daniel

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  • Posted

    Hi Daniel,

    I am new to this forum. I had my second episode of Diverticulitis this past July. My first one was two years ago and was treated with antibiotics at home. This episode was much different. Long story started with one abscess ended with 4 abscesses and a rectal ulcer. In the hospital twice for a total of 17 days and lastly sent home with 2 antibiotics (total of 5 used) on Aug 18 to get better.

    Well decided to check in with the Gi doctor who got me through last time. New scan shows no improvement and stated most complicated case ever seen. So now as much as I tried to avoid surgery have to have it.

    I have been told I need to let bowels rest and so giving me a descending colostomy and going to staple off the lower part. Come back in 6 months and cut out infected part and remove bag.

    Is this similar to your surgery or have you heard of this approach? So afraid of dealing with colostomy bag and the stapling sounds scary too.

    Think I have a good surgeon but who knows... Would like to go to Mayo but need to get done asap.

    Any thoughts or advise appreciated.

    Rhonda

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