Terrified - upcoming colon resection surgery

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I’ve recently left comments about my diverticulitis situation, which has resulted in my upcoming surgery on 3/22 to have the infected portion removed. I’ve never had surgery of this nature before and although I’m a 43 year old male, I’m absolutely terrified as it’s fast approaching. I’m making myself sick by thinking about all the tubes I may have to deal with. This includes the possibility of having a catheter inserted... mind is racing wondering if I will have one and if so will they insert it after I’m under or before...will it be there when I wake up afterward or removed before and if afterward, does the removal hurt. What about this ng tube thing that may be inserted in my nose down the back of my throat. Is this always done, do they do it when I’m under, will it be there when I wake up. Are there any other tubes I need to worry about. The goal is to use the robot for my surgery, but I’m still terrified...I’m afraid of how much pain I will be in when I wake up from surgery along with what I already mentioned. I try to think of the things I would tell my boy, but of course it’s not the same when it’s happening to you. Hoping they can reconnect everything so I don’t need a temp bag, which the dr said there is always that possibility, but thinks I will be okay. I’m rambling right now, but if anyone has any experience with a recent surgery similar to my upcoming one, any words of wisdom, or responses to anything I mentioned or didn’t mention that you know of will be appreciated. I can’t even sleep at night right now since I’m so nervous. The stress is causing more stomach issues as I’m having problems even going to the bathroom again with major stomach bloating and strange pressure soreness, but not so much sharp pains like before, at least not yet.  Im trying to be calm, but it’s very hard right now. Would love to hear from anyone about what to expect etc.  Thank you 

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  • Posted

    I've not had this particular surgery, but I have had a hysterectomy so I might be able to help with some of your worries. A catheter tube is tiny. I woke up with one, but have also had one inserted while awake- it's fine, just feels a bit scratchy on the way in - after that you can't tell it's there. Obviously I'm female but I think urethers are about the same size regardless. I also had a drain tube, and I was nervous about having that removed- I needn't have worried, it was absolutely fine, felt a bit weird for less than a second but didn't hurt at all.

    When you wake up you'll be quite groggy. They'll probably have given you pain relief before they even wake you up and they'll top it up when you're still in the recovery room if necessary. You may even be on a morphine pump which you can control yourself. You'll be able to ask lots of questions when they come round to do the paperwork when you first are admitted.

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  • Posted

    Good morning!

             I too am scheduled for surgery on 3/26. I am also scheduled for it robotically, however no guarantees that it won’t be open. My surgeon said the catheter and NG would be put in after I was asleep. The catheter would be in 24 hrs. It’s mildly uncomfortable and when it is removed it’s quick. You might experience mild burning for the first couple times you urinate. Make sure u drink a lot of fluids after ,that will flush your system out.  The NG would probably come out before recovery but depending  on the extent of the surgery. I too am afraid of the NG but was reassured it would come out the next day worst case.  As far as pain goes everyone is different!  I spoke to someone the night he had surgery! He had been out of bed and walked that night. He wasn’t in awful pain! Just make sure u take pain med to control the pain but not to knock you out!! Get up and walk every couple of hours and use your little breathing machine. That will reduce your chance of complication , meaning pneumonia and blood clots.

    It may seem like I’m really brave but in reality I’m scared too. I was told I could end up with a temp colostomy also. Look at it as worse case it’s temporary. Not ideal but temporary! Surgeons give all the worst case scenarios. 

    I wish you could have talked to Corey about the surgery. He was great! Very positive and pretty sure he went home on the 3 rd day after surgery.  I do know he ate fried rice after he got home and that was a mistake. So go slow with the food after.  Please post after and let us know how you are doing! Here is to a speedy recovery!

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  • Posted

    Hi

    I've had tubes down my throat both asleep and awake.  When awake I was sedated and they sprayed my throat to numb it first.  It was so quick I didn't even realise it had been done.  But I expect they won't put your tube down until you are asleep, and take it out before you wake up.  That's what happens each time I have a general anaesthetic.  You might have a bit of a sore throat for a couple of days. 

    As for your private parts, it will be done when you are asleep.  It is usually kept in for a day or so afterwards, but is just a bit uncomfortable.  You will be awake when it comes out, but it's just a couple of seconds.  My cousin said they distracted him and it was out before he even realised.  It might sting a bit when you pee afterwards, but if you've ever had a bladder infection it's no worse than that.  My mum said it was more embarrassing than painful having to lug the pee bag with you.

    Corey was on this forum a few weeks ago.  Suggest you find him by scrolling through the posts and send him a private message.  It's the little envelope under his name.  Another guy who coped amazingly well.  And he will also no doubt tell you what not to do - like eat a fried takeaway rice the day he came out.

    The fear of the unknown is always worse than the actual event and you will be offered plenty of pain relief.  Good luck.

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  • Posted

    I had an anterior resection last July.  I had a few problems and was in hospital for 16 days. The tubes go in when you are under and the catheter is no big deal just a nuisance lugging it about.  It came out quite easily aided by a cough, no pain.  I was on morphine after the op which gave me vivid technicolour dreams but had to come off it as it made my skin crawl.  I suffered from ileus after a few days, basically my bowel didn't want to get going again.  Because of the sickness I had an ng tube but this isn't the norm and  it was unpleasant but not painful.  No other tubes and I didn't need a bag.  The hospital will not let you suffer, they are very good with pain relief, but do take it,if you are feeling ok that is because the painkillers are working!  I just kept thinking about the end result and that it would all be worth it.  Eight months on my bowels are still settling down and wind is a problem but no pain!  Scan eat most things but not too much soluble fibre.  Small meals, chew well and I am doing 10,000 steps a day.  Dodgy knees stop me doing anything else.  You will be fine, just look on the positive and take one day at a time.  Good luck.

     

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  • Posted

    I forgot to tell you, my dr  rec bringing  sugar free gum to chew after surgery. It stimulates the bowel to return to normal. It has to be sugar free since the sweetener is what stimulates the bowel.  You are young odds are in your favor!! Anxiety is not good in this disease!  2 of the most stressful periods set off my diverticulitis. I also read an article that people who have low serotonin levels are more likely to have diverticulitis! Interesting!
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  • Posted

    I was also freaking out about the catheter. They put it in while you are under, and I promise there is no pain, even when they take it out. It is very useful as you may not be able to get out of bed for a day or so. Even so I counted the days after my operation (3) before they would remove it. You will be in pain from the surgery afterwards, but at least you will know it will soon be over and they should give you strong IV drugs on a pump you can hit every 10 minutes. You can just keep hitting the pump, but it only dispenses every 10 minutes ;-)

    IF the drugs make you nauseous, demand they try another, I went through 4 different ones, unfortunately all of them made me nauseous. Some people handle opioids better than others, hopefully you are one of those.

    Walking the first time after the operation (day 2) was very painful, but each time I did it it became less painful. The walking is important, it gets your lungs and blood pumping.

    If they have to do the bag, just know that it will be temporary, hoping for you they won't have to.

    Best wishes for you, this was the scariest thing I ever did, but once the operation is over you don't have to worry about that anymore, just concentrate on recovery.

    Cecil McCecil

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  • Posted

    Dear yendor

          Just wanted to say good luck today. Hopefully surgery will bring you great relief. Please share with us after! Tomorrow will be the beginning of a new and  healthier life! I’m so jealous! I was scheduled for Mon but will have to cancel. I started with an awful cold and fever since Sunday. Thought I would be better by now. 😨 I can’t even believe my luck!

    Let go of all that anxiety for one day! We can’t control everything! Speedy recovery

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    • Posted

      Hello - 

      Sorry for my delayed response, have had so much on my mind. I had my surgery this past Thursday. Arrival time was at 6am with surgery set for 7:30am. For those of you new to the surgery, here are the events that led up to it one day b4.

      I had bowel prep the day before and of course on a liquid diet up until midnight and then nothing afterward. They also gave me two types of antibiotics I took the day before surgery with each dose at 1p, 2p and the final at 11p. System seemed to be well flushed out after my last bowel movement. I also had to take a shower the night b4 and morning of surgery with a special anti bacterial soap.

      After arrival, had to wipe entire body down with special anti bacterial sponges, which were warm. Slipped into a surgery gown, which feels kind of sticky after the wipe down. They hook a hose up to it that blows warm or cooler air in the gown (u control it). They go through several basic questions including those about depression, self harm etc. I thought they gave me a couple of pills to take with one being another antibiotic. They gave me a shot of heparin. If u are not use to it, the needle in the stomach is cake, but they are not kidding about the burning feeling. The sensation goes away, but it does burn a little, but no worries, it’s not that bad. They gave me a shot of lidocaine in the area where they put my IV in since they have a difficult time getting IVs in me, which made a world of difference. 

      The anestesiologist came and saw me and gave me something in my IV to help relax me a little.  My dr. came and saw me for a minute. The nurse and anestesiologist came back in moments later. The nurse was getting ready to show my wife back to the waiting area and it was about 7:15 am. The anestesiologist said he was going to give me a little more of something to help me relax since I looked nervous still. Moments later, nurses etc. were in my room getting ready to wheel me back to the operating room and that is all I remember until after I woke up in recovery.

      Between 9-9:30am, they told my wife that I was in recovery. It took until around 12:30 for me to be recovered enough to take me to my post opt room. The anesthesia hit me a little harder and made me nauseous, but not to the point of actually puking, but felt close at times. The dr was a little concerned that I wasn’t recovering as quick as they had thought. Was really tired and felt dizzy and slept on and off the rest of the afternoon. All the tubes were removed from me in recovery b4 the took me to my post opt room with the exception of my catheter, oxygen nose tube and IV. I had a pump for pain that I could push about every 10 minutes for pain as needed. 

      During the early evening, maybe about 6pm, I was able to get out of bed and walk about 4-6 steps to the chair and sit for about an hour b4 returning back to bed. I had my puke bag with me as I was still feeling the after effects from being put under, but managed to breath through each of my episodes. Getting back to the bed was tough. I made certain the bed was raised high for the back and sat as high up to it as I could. My wife and nurse helped me to get my legs up and over. 

      They hooked back the leg compressions that filled with air etc. They said a lot of people don’t like them, but they actually helped me to relax for some reason. 

      Jumping ahead, they removed the catheter the next day, which wasn’t as bad as I thought. My biggest fear was them having to put a straight catheter in later if I couldn’t empty my bladder enough. They did three scans of my bladder after I went to the bathroom. The first time, I went 650 ml, but left 150 ml in my bladder. The next two times, I almost completely emptied my bladder. I could hardly push so my wife let the water run a little and I sat and really relaxed to empty it all which too a few minutes. After that, no more bladder scans.

      I pushed myself to walk as much as I could. First walk time was only about 8 minutes, but after that, I walked an average of 22 minutes 5x a day with a walker with the exception of the last day...no walker. It wasn’t easy, but I pushed myself. I sat upright in the chair as much as I could. 

      My wife was wonderful and stayed with me Thur, Fri and Sat. I was given the choice to stay on Sunday, but decided to get released and left at 1pm Sunday afternoon. My wife was able to help me to the restroom at night which was a blessing. She recorded all my voids for the nurses etc. and wrote them down. The only thing the nurses really wanted to verify was my first couple of bowel movements which were mostly diarrhea and coffee ground appearance from the dried blood. I had to really relax and rock back and forth to get anything to come out since I could hardly push with my stomach... wasn’t easy, but managed. 

      The surgery was suppose to be done laserscopically and was at first with 3 different incisions, however, they had to do open surgery too to get everything. They removed a little over a foot of my colon along with my appendix. What’s strange is that the open incision about 6 inches long below my belly button isn’t the one that hurts that bad. The small incision on my low right side just below my belly and next to the big one hurts bad. Feels like a hot poker on it from time to time with a tearing sensation. Hurts worse when I’m drying off from shower, but there are bandages on that one so not certain why. 

      Today is Tuesday and pain seems to be getting much better. I walked much further so far today. My advice is to take your pain meds and drink your fluids. I’m on a low fiber diet with no meat until I talk to my surgeon at my follow up on 4/10. I’m eating eggs for my protein. They did say to drink plenty of fluids when eating bread and chew it up well as it can get stuck on the sutchers inside me as it passes through.

      I left a lot out, but I’m doing well. If anyone has any questions, please ask.  

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  • Posted

    Oh wow, so glad you're on your way to recovery and the worst part seems to be behind you! I too have resection surgery scheduled for 5/11 (sigmoid and part of my descending). I will also be having my appendix removed. 

    I've also been dealing with a lot of anxiety because of my whole ordeal. It's scary, but definitely survivable. 

    The level of detail you provided really helps me better understand how mine might go so I'm a little more at ease with everything. I'll be glad when mine is behind me and I'm healthy again. Diverticular disease is a HUGE mess of drawn out pain, misery and anxiety - your life nearly comes to a hault! 

    Your story is a blessing and I for one am very glad you shared! 

    Jason

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    • Posted

      I wish you great success and hopefully it will resolve all the issues you have been having. Just be sure to do your breathing exercises and toe pushes/pulls and ankle rotations. I seldom used the spirometer for my breathing as I inhaled through my nose and out through pierced lips about 10x while awake. This actually worked better for me to keep my lungs open. Coughing was a little tough...I never produced a hard cough, but made more of a deeper cough almost as if trying to clear my throat at the same time. A pillow does help some if u need to cough or end up laughing. I did my ankle rotations and toe push/pulls about 10x every hour while awake. My breathing and overall circulation seemed to be fine. I actually started my breathing exercises days before my surgery and stayed away from anyone who was the slightest ill. I also walked 30 minutes 5x a week prior to my surgery to try to improve my overall health going in.  I wish you all the best...take care!
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    • Posted

      Wondering how you are doing now?

      Hope each day gets easier!

      I know one of my fears is the nausea and hope it will be controlled!

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    • Posted

      Hey there -

      Still doing everything I can to recover. Been doing a lot of walking and watching what I eat. The doc actually has me on a low residue plus no meat diet, which is a pain. The worse of my pain is from one of my lower right laparoscopic incisions. Feels like it’s burning or tearing every now and then. May be just the nerves that got cut from surgery. I’m going to double check at my follow up appointment on the 10th of April. Colon feels a little strange from time to time where they reconnected it; could be due to the type of food digesting. Get strange pains from time to time in my lower belly, which can be a little scary as I always think the worse, but I know it’s jyst part of the recovery process and everything fully heals.  Otherwise, all incisions including the open incision is healing good. 

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    • Posted

      Glad to hear you are doing well! As with anything else it’s a process! I hope mine can be done laparoscopically but in the long run I want what’s best for me.  I am having the sigmoid and descending colon removed. However most of my discomfort is on the right side! I hope they can get a good look around. Getting a little nervous now!
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