To surgery or not to surgery

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First onset of DD was 2016. Since then, I've had about 2 flare ups per year that I know are due to diet. I'm not a natural water drinker, nor do I enjoy a high fiber diet. I'm now reformed. I drink at least 65 oz water/day and am very mindful of fiber to avoid constipation. I know to avoid high fiber when I'm having a flare up. Over my lifetime, I've had multiple instances of severe constipation which I'm now convinced have damaged my colon. I wonder if I'll ever be normal, even with a high fluid/high fiber diet, or if surgery is the way to go.

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  • Posted

    good morning - i would stay in close contact your gastro specialist. you don't want a perforation/rupture like i had. whats your surgeon say?

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    • Posted

      My GI doc is pro-surgery. I went to 2 colorectal surgeons, both of whom said I am on the borderline of needing robotic laparoscopic surgery to correct sigmoid diverticulitis. I've had more than one CT scan. I'm not running a temperature, not on antibiotics, but definitely have an overall feeling of something not being right. What do you think caused your perforation/rupture, or did it just happen on its own?

      Thanks for your input.

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  • Posted

    I also had frequent flare ups beginning in October of 2016..after trying to manage the condition with diet, supplements and exercise I decided to take my GI doc's advise and have surgery done. It is coming up on 7 weeks after my surgery and I am convinced I still need a few more weeks to heal although the pain/discomfort and bowel function is slowly improving. I still and experiencing flare up type symptoms such as spasms and diarrhea and I am not sure why. I have had healthy bowel movements as well so it may be I just need to be more aware of what and how much I eat or drink? When I had the surgery it was supposed to be laparoscopic only but apparently it was necessary to make a 4" incision below my belly button to accommodate removal of affected portion of my colon. The gentleman next to me was having a colostomy reversal which was the end of a 7 month ordeal for him due to a ruptured colon and emergency surgery it required. My advise would be to educate yourself as much as possible about the surgery and take your time in selecting a proper surgeon..find someone who takes the time to explain and listen to your concerns but be careful to avoid a situation where a rupture may cause a need for any emergency surgery. In the meantime, eat well with proper portions, hydrate as needed, supplement with a good probiotic and exercise..walking is great. I also found peace in prayer and reading the Word of God..May God bless you and keep you well.

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    • Posted

      Thanks, Anthony. I'm having a hard time defining what defines a flare up. I thought a flare up was when the patient is running a temperature, indicating an infection. I'm not running a temperature, but I still have overall discomfort, not major, but still there. When you said you had frequent flare ups, what were they like?

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    • Posted

      Most of my flareups did not include a fever, but mostly cramping, irritable bowl and nausea. There are stories of those who can seem to manage the problem well..I think it may be a matter of the severity of the disease.

      I was able to resolve milder symptoms with a liquid diet for a day or two then easing back into a 'normal' but sensible diet. I think stress has a lot in this as well..walking or hiking helped me to recover or maintain my health and I can't say enough for my faith in Jesus, time spent in prayer and God's Word. Anxiety can be an issue and there is peace, hope and salvation in Jesus.

      'do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.'

      Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 ESV

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  • Posted

    A lot depends upon your situation. Anthony replied beautifully. I definitely did my research, the pros and cons of surgery. Unfortunately in my case it was taken out of my hands, it was either surgery or not make it through another attack. I did notice immediately the non ending nausea was gone (a blessing). The recovery was long and am still in the process but I'm so glad I had it. Yes, the rules still apply, watch what you eat and how much, drink lots of water, etc. I have a hard time trying to explain the disease to people who don't understand my restrictions. The surgery only removed the damaged tissue, but the disease remains.

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    • Posted

      Very well put, Glenda. I've noticed so many folks mention nausea. I've never had any nausea nor any pain; my symptoms are associated with an overall feeling of discomfort similar to what one feels when coming down with the flu plus a slight bloated feeling in the abdomen. When you say it was either surgery or not make it through another attack, does that mean a CT scan showed pre-perforation, or were your attacks so frequent that you had no other choice despite diet and lifestyle changes? So glad to hear you're recovering, albeit slower than you thought.

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    • Posted

      Hello Glenda, I am curious how long you have been in recovery and whether your surgery was completely laparoscopic or it required any incision beyond those needed? Thank you.

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    • Posted

      Oh yes....the nausea. It was like having the severe stomach flu 24/7. I'm the lucky one that's written to you before. I had 14+ attacks (refuse to refer to them as flare) in less than 18 months. Based on my so called colonoscopy doctor I had among the diverticulitis pockets a small hemorrhoid......wrong! If he had just gone a little further with his camera he would have seen massive scar tissue and holes in my colon. This was early on in my journey of pain. I began to swell up all over my body, was in constant pain, barely eating. During the 18 months I had 4 close calls, 1 I flatlined. I am very lucky and definitely had Angel's on my shoulders. Because of the holes, it caused sepsis which came close to my heart. That is why I had no choice but surgery. I'm consistently losing weight, about 2-4 lbs a month, swelling and bloating has decreased significantly, nausea gone. But as I wrote earlier, surgery only removed the damaged tissue, you will still have to follow the diverticulitis rules.

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    • Posted

      Hi Anthony. From what I understand the doctors will decide which surgery is best for you, depending upon your severity, medical history, etc. My doctor opted for open cut because of the amount of attacks I had in a short time period and I have colon cancer in my family. Because I had developed sepsis it's going to take me a full year or more to completely heal. I had my surgery last May. Like I told Pecan, the surgery only removed the damaged tissue, not the disease. I am able to eat a more variety of foods I couldn't before, but since my stomach took a beating from the antibiotics and sepsis I have to watch acidic, spicy, greasy food intake.

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    • Posted

      Glenda, sincere thanks for your insight. I continue to be amazed at the variety of symptoms people go through with this terrible condition. You have been through hell. I hope it's your turn for a brighter, healthier future!

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    • Posted

      My usual routine is to take my allergy, blood pressure, and milk of magnesium first, then eat a bowl of cream of wheat and drink a small Gatorade (excellent for electrolytes). Then I take a probiotic. I have finally been able to eat salads, red meat and some spicy (mild) foods, and a normal regular breakfast but only twice a week , spaced out and in moderation. Definitely stay away from corn, nuts,tomatoes, gassy vegetables....all the no no food. I tried 1 brussel sprouts and blew up like a balloon...lol. Supposedly I'm supposed to be able to eat more veggies but keep monitoring my body's reaction.

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    • Posted

      Glenda, re: gassy veggies, aren't those the ones w/ high fiber content? Brussels, cabbage, broccoli, etc.? So, how do you get your fiber, Metamucil? Beans? I just recently found out that the fresh veg. cocktails I've been drinking for the past 2 years aren't really doing a lot of good because most of the fiber is extracted out of them in the process.

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    • Posted

      Yes, I do drink Metamucil every other day, plus take a powerful multivitamin (liquid) that also has fiber. I have trouble digesting a lot of stuff because of the sepsis and antibiotics inflamed my stomach so bad. It takes a full year to recover from that.

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