I've been on a low residue diet for almost 11 years now.
I am missing 90% of my sigmoid (where my cancer was located) and about
15 inches of the my colon above this spot. I virtually have nowhere inside my tract to allow stool to back up, collect, solidify and then be released as it used to be (one or two dumps a day, pre-cancer days). Soooooo, once my new colon surgeon showed me a glossy diagram of a normal GI tract and then drew my new tract, putting the two side by side, I didn't realize why I do have this much trouble! As long as I continue to eat solids, I will have bm's. They just come, all day long. BUT, by eating low residue foods and avoiding the ones that do mess me up (whole wheat products, fresh produce such as pineapple, all berries, the baby greens type salads, etc.) I can keep the stool formed and not D in consistency. While I do occasionally have bad days - my body seems to go thru a natural purge of its own, I have a near clean out (similar to a bowel prep but without D), I experience one bm after another when this happens and it can last for an hour or more - by eating plain foods on this diet, I truly can control my situation. I also skip meals for outings, for example my husband I went out last night to celebrate a friend's BD. I had a small turkey sub for lunch (I work part time and get home from work by 1), then a plain yogurt by 4. Then no more solids so I could go out by 9. It worked. No bm's. But I should add that I accepted long ago, after seeing what the new me looks like inside, that I will experience multiple bm's per day, for the rest of my life. My goal now is to keep the bm's as formed as possible, so I can use any bathroom, anywhere, to release them. And I have gone just about
everywhere too! Even a portalet once.....
So for me, it's a combination of the low residue diet, keeping my stress level as low as possible (I have perfected how to say no to requests!), making sure I do have several foods per day my body seems to need (the Brown Cow vanilla flavored yogurt, a banana, a plain english muffin for breakfast, plain white rice, etc.), a low dose of stool softener (I prefer 50 mg Colace), a probiotic pill for good measure (can't hurt!), etc.
I joke I am a walking, talking, breathing human puzzle. If one of my important pieces are missing, I am a mess. So I don't have great days on a consistent basis but rather, good days, enough to be able to have a part time job.
My husband jokingly refers to my diet as the white diet because so many of the foods on it are all white. LOL!
One final comment, a food diary is vital to keep in the beginning if you're going to consider a LRD. Record every single thing you eat, drink, if you take meds (pain relievers, antibiotics, antihistamines, etc.), under an undue amount of stress, etc.). Later you will see a pattern begin to form of what does agree with YOUR gut. We're all different. What works for me or one of us, may not work for another. But by reading what others have gone thru, have tried, what has worked for them, etc. - it's all very invaluable IMHO. More helpful than what a doctor will tell you. We are the folks who have walked this oh so fun GI tract out of whack walk - not!
Good luck! Feel free to ask me anything. Anything at all, I an absolutely no longer embarrassed to discuss the GI tract (that phase lasted only months!).
- Rectal CA 4/29/99, Stage I, 90% sigmoid/15" of colon/GB removed, temporary colostomy, reversed 6-26-99
- Chronic IBS/D symptoms, multiple bm's, on low residue diet
- Colace 50 mg each evening
Post Edited (Marsky) : 4/10/2010 7:51:43 AM (GMT-6)