open sigmoid colectomy surgery

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I'm a 57 year old woman  who was diagnosed with chronic Diverticulitis in 2016. For years I had experienced symptoms of DD but never had a clue until July 2016 I was rushed to the ER. That was the first time I ever heard of the disease.  From July 2016 to February 2018 I suffered over 14 + attacks.  I literally had no other recourse than to have a sigmoid  colectomy.  The surgery was excruciating but it literally saved my life. I'm just a week out of surgery and already the ongoing DD symptoms are going away. I am still leery of food even though my surgeon said I could eat anything I wanted. I'm sticking to the soft diet until I actually feel my body can handle normal food. I was fortunate that the Diverticulitis pockets were condensed in my sigmoid colon so he was able to catch everything.  If I had not fought for the surgery I would have been dead within months. There is no reason why anyone would want to live a practically life with Diverticulitis. 

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  • Posted

    I agree with you.  If I had much less than 14 I would have been pulling my hair out!  I’ve been getting two attacks a year and he says no surgery right now. It is a constant worry  🙏😘

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    • Posted

      1 attack a year is too much. Apparently the rule of thumb is after 3 attacks surgery is the next step.  There is no quality of life living with Diverticulitis.  I was constantly on flagyl and cipro which was also a concern due to the damage they could do to your liver and kidneys . My food list was very slim and frankly not healthy but I couldn't eat hardly anything else.  Thankfully my friend hooked me up with a liquid vitamins packed with all the "power" foods which at least ensured I was retaining the vitamins and nutrients my body needed. I am so glad I finally got my surgery.  A week out and most of the Diverticulitis symptoms are gone. No more constant nausea and pain after eating.  I still have a great fear of food and in a few weeks will start slowly venturing out but not until I've healed more. If you can don't wait for the surgery, get it done.  The surgery is definitely no picnic but definitely worth it. 

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  • Posted

    I too have had several attacks in 2 yrs and the effects would last for months.

    I had surgery in April and am 6 wks post op. I feel much better but still have right sided pain on and off. Glad I had it done!

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    • Posted

      I too am so glad I finally had my surgery. It was a battle to get it approved because I'm on Medi Cal. After my last attack in February I literally told my doctor I wouldn't make it through the next attack.  Turned out I was right. He pushed the referral through and I got it approved.  The surgery was excruciating but worth it knowing I wouldn’t have the constant nausea, etc. worrying when would the next attack hit. One week out and the nausea is practically gone. I'm still careful of my diet even though my surgeon said I could eat anything I wanted. The food fear is still there which is okay. Of all things my biggest craving is a spinach salad..lol That will wait until I feel safe to eat it though. The hardest part right now is resting. 

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  • Posted

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I am getting ready for surgery and am wondering realistically how long the recovery is and when I will be able to travel. How bad is it? I've had 5 attacks since February and finished 10 days in IDAP two weeks ago. Still twinging but my doctor says my inflammation markers are normal so it's time to meet with the surgeon.

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    • Posted

      The surgery is definitely not a walk in the park but considering the alternative it is worth the excruciating pain. I went in on a Friday and was released the following Wednesday. Take advantage of the pain meds because you will definitely need them.  I highly recommend the pain blocker the anesthesialogist offers. I only wanted my boyfriend there because I knew I would be so out of it with pain. They will have you walking hours after the surgery.  Walk as much as you can. I usually went after eating then took the pain meds. Rest,  drink plenty of water, eat as much as you can and walk. It is a serious operation that will take weeks to recover.  You will notice the Diverticulitis symptoms will slowly dissapate like the nausea,  muscle spasms,  etc. I was told I could eat anything I wanted from now on but I still have a fear of food  so sticking with the soft foods diet until I feel safe and confident. The healing process is about six weeks.  I'm a week out of the hospital,  eat small meals, drink plenty of fluids and walk. I'm allowed to make the bed and do dishes which tires me out. Still have spasms and pain which they give you medication for. You will have some drainage  so have a box of gauze at home. I have big pieces that I cut in half and my underwear holds it in place. It is normal for the drainage, but keep a close eye on it.  If you develop a fever and it's excessive /smelly go to your doctor asap. Keep the binder they give you. I'm getting to the point where I can take it off a few hours a day but wear it at night or when you lay down.  Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Hi Susan,

         Just wanted to tell you about my surgery.  Mine was done robotically/laparoscopically. I have 5  ,1 inch incisions and 1 ,4 inch incision. They were all closed with glue!  For anesthesia I had a abdominal block which was a injection on both sides of the abdomen before they wheel u into surgery and also general anesthesia . I highly recommend you have that nerve block ! It takes about 72 hrs for it to wear off. So you need very little pain meds. In fact I took two pills the night of surgery and one on day two! My surgeon has a strict protocol that also includes Lyrica. I had slight incisional pain. I did have bowel pain  but I think that was a combo of healing and trying to return to normal. I had surgery on Monday and went home on Weds! Honestly my most painful part was I had a reaction to the adhesive from a bandaid that resulted in itching and a blister! I agree with Glenda make sure you are walking. I walked around the block 3-4x a day rain or shine, drink a lot of water, take a probiotic and no lifting. I am 60 yo and fatigue was a problem which I had not been  used to!! So nap when you can! Keep a food diary again! Recovery is a process finding out what causes diarrhea vs constipation. 5 wks I could start a fiber supplement.

      FYI you may have blood in the stool the first couple bowel movements. Had someone not told me that I would have freaked out!

      I have found recovery to be more difficult than surgery😊

      Kate

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    • Posted

      I forgot to tell you I didn’t have a colostomy. I also didn’t have an NG tube after surgery!! I did have a catheter for 24 hrs and No problem urinating after the catheter was removed.
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    • Posted

      Thank you Glenda and Kate for your advice! I feel much better about all of this. I had a very good meeting with my surgeon today. I go in next Wednesday and he plans to keep me until Sunday. Does not expect a colostomy. I'm 49 and he told me my colon looks more like a 75 year old on cat scan so I know I am doing the right thing and look forward to life on the other side of recovery.

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    • Posted

      Ru having your surgery open or laparoscopically??

      Make sure to keep us updated!

      Please feel free to ask any questions!

      I had the entire sigmoid and 2/3 descending colon removed since I had so many diverticuli! Good luck my advice is be patient with your recovery and rest!

      Kate

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    • Posted

      Laproscopic.  Removing 1 foot of sigmoid. I will keep you posted. It’s so hard to find first hand accounts! THank you again!
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    • Posted

      Glad you're going to get it done! You will feel so much better. Yes there is pain but nothing like the constant Diverticulitis pain. Get the nerve blocker because you will definitely need it. Not having a great day today,  pain in my incision but I wouldn't trade it for the world because it means I'm healing.  Diverticulitis is nothing to mess with and no way to live your life.  It cannot be cured. Keep us updated. 

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