Need Info/Advice on SUBTOTAL COLECTOMY! Just found out I'm having this done...

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SubColectomyHereICome
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 1/17/2008 8:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi All- I am a 25-year-old female who has dealt with severe constipation my entire life, and yesterday I was told that I will need to have a subtotal colectomy. I am a bit nervous about this, not so much about the risks (because its sounds like its not TOO common and my surgeon is outstanding), but because they won't know if they will do laparoscopic or open surgery until the surgery day when they find out where my colon actually is. Also, they want to give me an epidural and implant some kind of anesthesia under my collar bones, which will leave small scars. The most devastating thing to me, (as a woman, maybe some of you ladies can relate) is... the scar(s) that will be left on my tummy, because I plan to get pregnant within the next year to two years. I don't want to have an ugly scar on my belly. Lastly, I will be student teaching this semester and need to find time to do it if I plan to be out for 2-3 weeks. Unfortunately, I must either postpone student teaching a semester (which puts of my career) and do the surgery soon which means I will finally have a normal life, or continue with student teaching and be in pain/discomfort for another semester. Not sure what to do.

I know this surgery is worth it, but I am nervous. I am looking for information and advice from people who have had this done... they are removing 3/4 of my colon and attaching it to my rectum. Do you know if the scar(s) will fade much? Is the surgery extremely painful? What should I expect? Has anyone had an epidural with this procedure? Does it hurt? Anything will help! Thanks so much!

Keriamon
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Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 1/17/2008 4:52 PM (GMT -7)   
There's an Ostomies forum here on HealingWell where most of the people that have had any kind of colon surgery or resectioning hang out.  I don't think there's but one or two people on here who have had any sort of colon surgery done.
 
You plan on getting pregnant and are worried about scars beforehand?  Wait until you get stretch marks!  And even if you have open sugery now, it will probably leave less scarring than if you have to have a C-section.  Don't worry; most mothers bear scars from having had children; what's a few beforehand?  tongue
 
I have laproscopic scars from two sugeries and they're not bad really.  Of course, I don't wear a biniki either, but they don't bother me personally.  And now they have OTC stuff that helps reduce scarring.  Before they came out with that, though, my mother used to say to keep a wound moist with Neosporone all the time to make it scar less.  I think that works because it takes longer to heal if it's kept moist all the time and that's what helps with the scars; scars come from the skin healing too fast and not putting itself back quite correctly.  But check with your surgeon on the doctoring of any wounds you have before you fool with them.  Most surgeons want you to keep the wound covered with gauze constantly for the first week and not do anything with it (although, I must confess, my bandages always fall off before then). 

SubColectomyHereICome
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 1/17/2008 5:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Keriamon, Haha. You're right... I'm sure I'll get those lovely stretch marks! Although having scars for the rest of my life stinks, I think I'm more bothered about having a huge one under my belly button when I'm pregnant. Everyone will be looking RIGHT THERE at my big belly! And no one wants to stare at a big scar. But your post has provided me with some hope. I'm glad it can fade and I'll be sure to buy that OTC stuff. I guess in the end, it is worth it- even with scars!

Mom2sophia
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 262
   Posted 1/17/2008 7:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello subcolectomy!  I am so glad you found this board...and check out the ostomies board....there is a topic called total colectomy that you should check out.  I am scheduled for a TC (leaving sigmoid) on March 27th.  I am 26, already have a beautiful baby girl (not a single stretch yeah ).  I am in college right now and we are in the process of building a house and it is all but finished.  My advice to you, don't worry about the scar so much as your recovery and career plans.  My surgeon told me the scar will be pretty much were they do a section.  I not to worried about the port scars.  I did do some research on some healing/scar cream...wow, there are so many to choose from. 
 
I know exactly what you are going through, so you are not alone.  On the TC board you will see some people have had pretty rough recoveries...some pretty scary I must admit. 
 
Do you mind me asking when/why your constipation started?  Did you have a Sitz Marker study done?  If so, where were the rings left?  What is your regimen now for going to the bathroom?  What do you eat...fiber? 
 
I have so many questions for you b/c we are close in age and kind of in the same boat.  I am concerned about our next child not getting enough nutrients and the baby pressing on what intestines I have left after surgery. 

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 1/18/2008 8:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Actually, my laproscopic scar is IN my belly button, with a few small ones here and there on the sides.

While you're pregnant, your skin will stretch and probably appear to fade your scars (also make them appear larger, although lighter in color). Many women's belly buttons pop way out when they are pregnant, so I don't think a scar would be noticable, lol.

If I was pregnant, I'd be much more concerned with everyone in the known world coming through my room and staring at my woo-hoo. Look at my scars all you want, but show that part a little privacy, please!

SubColectomyHereICome
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 1/18/2008 12:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Mom2Sophia, I must admit it's nice to know that there is another person in the same boat, especially another female around the same age (and in school). That must be a lot for you to juggle... Especially while building a house (Congrats!). Now that I am reading that these scars do fade and they are where (or around) the C-section scar will be, I feel a bit better about it. I admit too that it is a bit scary to read other's accounts of their surgeries- I'm surprised to read that so many people have had complications. (My Dr. said that the risk rate is in the low %). It sounds like the recovery is a bit more painful than I thought too. You'll have to keep me posted on how everything goes! I'm sure you'll be fine.

To answer your questions, I have been battling constipation for as long as I can remember. It was difficult even at potty-training age. It's gotten dramatically worse as I have gotten older, especially over the last two years or so. I've been diagnosed with IBS, of course, and know that I have a redundant colon. Basically, my colon is extra long, so it just takes forever for food to pass. I go now maybe once a week. I have had the Sitz Marker done, and all (24 or 25?) markers were in there at the third day.

In addition to the constipation, the gas has gotten to be a big problem. (So embarrassing to say...) It has definitely inhibited my daily life. Is this a problem for you? Also, not to mention the bloating and 24-7 "uncomfortable" feeling. It seems as if I am sick off and on, too- either feeling achy, fatigued, nauseous. Everything else as far as I am concerned is normal- I wonder if it's related to having toxins sitting in my intestines for a week at a time. Have you (or has anyone else out there?) encountered this?

To answer your other question, I believe that I live a healthy lifestyle- I eat organic food, a lot of fiber (veggies, whole grain bread, fruit, etc.), drink tons of water, maybe 1-2 glasses of wine a month and I am cutting down on coffee (I can't have it much anymore because it kills my stomach). I also do cardio on a regular basis. Something else that concerns me about the operation is that I naturally am a petite girl- I'm 5-foot and 98 pounds. The doctor told me that he is going to remove about 5-8 feet of colon, so considering that and that I won't be eating food for a while, I know I am going to lose A LOT of weight, and I can't afford to lose much. I guess I've got to beef up as much as possible before the surgery! I too am worried about any possible risks my future baby might have because of this operation, but the doctor said that there won't be any because the colon, the part that they are removing, just absorbs water.

What about you? What's your story?

spasman
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 361
   Posted 1/18/2008 1:31 PM (GMT -7)   
There is a minor surgery done mostly in Spain(you may need Firefox to see the left side icon):
 
 
I know it has help some people.I'm thinking about getting it but i have no place in America so far.


-IBS induced by NSAID
-IBS-A,C with meteorism(trapped gas) and pubic burning-
 

Post Edited (spasman) : 1/18/2008 1:34:43 PM (GMT-7)


Mom2sophia
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 262
   Posted 1/18/2008 2:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Do you think you will ask for the plastic close like Amey mentioned? 
 
My story..always had constipation.  Around 14 it got really bad...diagnosed with IBS, GERD, and slow emptying stomach.  I've tried citrucel, zelnorm, miralax, etc.  Now I can't go on my own at all!!! I have to take laxatives or give myself warm water bag enemas..4 to be exact.  I feel nauseous, fatigue and just plain crappy most of the time.  I am 5'1" and 94 lbs.  I was down to 90 a few months ago. 
 
I have to admit that I am addicted to feeling empty...after I relieve myself...that is the best feeling in the world!!
 
GAS....oh, boy do I know what that is about!!! Sometimes it smells so toxic I can't stand to be around myself, lol!  It is truly embarrasing and painful.  I don't know if it is from the fiber or what.  My Sitz Marker (after the 7th day) showed 3 rings were passed (that is only b/c I manually removed the poop).  Do you know where the rings were?  Mine were primarly in the sigmoid. 
 
I am so scared that I am going to end up putting my schooling and community involvement on hold for a while...wishful thinking...but I am hoping b/c I am young and relatively healthy, that I will bounce right back without any serious complications.
 
The weight loss...I am worried about...my body can't handle that.  I already get chest pains sometimes and leg cramps from the constant use of laxatives.
 
If you want to email me off list...don't know if I can give you my email on this message board though...
 
Where do you live?  I live in PA...my surgeon is in MD...he is awesome and confident...sounds just like yours.

Sarita
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 1/18/2008 6:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Mom2sophia, I worry that with your weight loss, leg cramps, and chest pains that you might have a potassium deficiency, especially with your use of laxatives. Have you had a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP - a blood test) done lately?
Co-moderator - IBS Forum


Mom2sophia
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 262
   Posted 1/19/2008 2:09 PM (GMT -7)   
No I haven't.  I am going to the doc this week and will ask him to run one. 

SubColectomyHereICome
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 1/21/2008 9:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Mom2Sophia, That test might be a good idea. Have you also checked your thyroid just to be safe? Your condition sounds terrible though... If this surgery is what you need, then I'm sure putting life on hold will be WELL worth it.

We are on other sides of the US! I am in San Diego. I am not too sure how to use this thing, but I will try to email you. If there isn't a way to email you, then I might need to send you a "private message" to get it.

SubColectomyHereICome
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 1/21/2008 10:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Hmm... I guess there isn't a PM function. I would display my email, but that doesn't make my too comfortable to put it on here. I'm trying to figure out a way to email within the forums.

Mom2sophia
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 262
   Posted 1/21/2008 11:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Yeah, I don't feel comfortable putting email up either.
 
I did have postpartum thyroiditis...basically I was in the hyperthyroid stage.  I have a multinodular goiter...although you can't really see it if you are just looking at me.  I had my thyroid checked a few weeks ago and everything is back to normal.
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