Crohns surgery recovery questions

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/31/2017 1:43 PM (GMT -7)   
So I have crohns, diagnosed Feb 2016, having surgery in October.
My surgeon says I have several spots that will need strictureplasty as well as a resection of my 27ish cm stricture in ileum and probably part of my colon removed.
My question is when returning to work what is reasonable to expect me to be able to do and not? I work a manual labor job (even as a 120lb 5'3 woman I keep up with the boys and work my ass off each day ) and I know I'll have to work in another department when I come back but what could I do? Should I be able to sit at a desk and answer phones and walk every hour, can I do a sewing job where I lean over for hours on end? Is there certain office tasks that are too rough after abdominal surgery ? How much could I lift? My surgeon was pretty vague and I'm curious what other people could actually do to try and prepare myself.

I am 28, was told 2 weeks off then 4 weeks "desk to light duty". What does that mean ???

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 7/31/2017 2:10 PM (GMT -7)   
I had a similar surgery about 2 months ago, except I did not have a strictureolasty. I work full time prior to the surgery and returned to work full time about 5 weeks after the operation. My job is limited to office work but even then I struggled for the first week back to work because of urgency issues. I was going to the bathroom about 3 to 4 times a day. This was extremely annoying when I was in a meeting with coworkers.

In terms of abdominal pain, I was instructed to not lift anything over 5 pounds. While my job does not involve physical labor, I had subtle abdominal pain but it was manageable with Tyenlol. Today, I feel much better, but my biggest issue is bowel movements. It's gotten better, but still not same as before. I suppose it's much better than the pain from a stricture.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 4391
   Posted 8/1/2017 6:25 AM (GMT -7)   
My guess is that you are going to need more than 4 weeks before you do any heavy lifting. By two weeks you shouldn't be in too much pain and certainly will be able to sit at a desk and walk around, but you might still be having significant diarrhea, which will make returning to work after only two weeks really difficult. Can your doc let you stay home longer if needed? I hope so. Good luck with the surgery and let us know how it all goes.
58 yr. old female, diagnosed with Crohn's in terminal ileum Sept-Oct. 2007. Dx. with c.difficile 1/12, 10/14, 11/15, 1/16. Fecal transplant on 2/24/16, and so far, no more c.diff!

5/20/14: Ileo-colic resection surgery after stricturing and partial bowel obstruction.
Not currently on any Crohn's meds and in remission, but struggling with bad IBS.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15325
   Posted 8/1/2017 8:43 AM (GMT -7)   
I think the time frame you have been given is a little too short for healing & getting back on your feet. My thoughts are 6 weeks off before returning & at least 1 week of sedentary work or light duty. Is your surgery going to be an open surgery or laproscopic. An open surgery takes longer to heal from. My resection was an open surgery. Diarrhea was a big issue for me after the surgery. With this in mind, lifting something heavy that soon may bring a surprise you don't want. If you end up with diarrhea like many of us, take extra clothing with you & wipes when you return to work.

I had what I call a unique situation with my surgery. Six weeks prior to the resection I had my gallbladder out. Went on vacation out of the country & on day 2, I became very sick. They called a dr to come out to see me & he thought it was a change of diet, blah, blah, blah. By day 4, I had really gone downhill & was not able to keep any of the meds down that he gave me. I went by ambulance to the closest hospital & they decided it was my appendix. They found a surgeon & had surgery 10-12 hours later. My appendix was fine, so he opened me up further down & found a complete blockage & abscess. That surgeon saved my life according to my gi.

I suggest that you get a job description from human resources & make sure your dr understands the full extent of your job duties. Do not let this dr be vague or blow you off about the return to work issue. If this cat doesn't have the time to talk to you about this, then find another surgeon that will make the time. Explain to him that once you return to work, you need to keep working. You should do ok if they let you do some office work at first.

Take care.
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/1/2017 9:21 AM (GMT -7)   
I have only had my consultation with my surgeon and without a new CT scan she can only give me what she called "textbook answers". I have a CT in September scheduled and she said after seeing it she should have a better idea of what will all need to come out and how many structure repairs I will need. But that she really won't know the extent until she opens me up. She's a new doc to me but my GI specialist is a God among doctors. He sent me to this surgeon because of her extensive training with laproscopic surgery. My job said they really don't need a timeline of what I'm cleaned to do until even right before I return but I know it's easier for them to have it planned out ahead of time because it's a small business. I asked my surgeon for clarification and she's on vacation until mid August. I can't even afford to take the minimum requirement 2 weeks. I've burned through all my paid sick and vacation time with doc appointments and colonoscopy and testing and consultations. My job doesn't offer disability under 6 months and I don't qualify for state disability because it's until 3 months. And I have disability under aflac but because it's a preexisiting condition I cannot use it until next February. They wanted to do surgery in August but I got them to push it to October purely so I could try and save money for the weeks I'll be gone. I have to go back to work as soon as possible. I rather wear a diaper than not be able to pay rent. I'm getting a little help from family but mostly just trying to figure out how to get back to work asap. I'm hoping being only 28 I'll heal faster and won't need an is ostomy bag (on prednisone). Thank you for all the info and I'll keep you'll updated. smile

Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 10095
   Posted 8/1/2017 11:04 AM (GMT -7)   
Well that sucks you can't take the time off when you need to. Absolutely ridiculous, it's not like anyone chooses to get Crohn's or any other illness.

Meanwhile, sitting at desks and answering phones should be fine 2 weeks after surgery. Sewing *should* be okay; I don't think there's anything wrong with bending forwards, even for hours at a time. It's pulling/pushing heavy stuff which is really bad: you might be okay for manual labour after 6 weeks but if it was me I'd want to give it 8 weeks minimum - maybe even 12 weeks.

I'm probably being too cautious with 12 weeks though.

Are there limits on what I can lift? — Lifting heavy objects can increase stress on the healing tissues. Most patients are asked to avoid lifting heavy objects (≥13 pounds) from the floor; if the object cannot be lifted with one hand, you should ask for help. Restrictions on lifting are generally recommended for six weeks after a major abdominal or vaginal surgery (eg, hysterectomy), and for one or two weeks after smaller procedures (eg, laparoscopy).

Post Edited (NiceCupOfTea) : 8/1/2017 12:11:55 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/3/2017 6:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi fellow sufferers! Because that's what we are. I've had Crohns since high school (now 44yo) and I have suffered my whole life with this b*stard of a disease, and it continues to kick my butt. Had multiple open exploratories where I've been wheelchair-bound in my mid thirties, appendectomy (just for good measure), sygmoidectomy in 2012, complete hysterectomy in 2013, and most recently an open right hemicolectomy on 7/10/17. I've bee home with a walker a bi-weekly nurse visits since discharged 7/15. Was inpatient with severe vomiting and complete bowel shutdown from 6/24/17-7/10/17 when they said enough's enough. Lost 25lbs and had to be fed by tubes into my jugular for about 10 days. Ok, so what tips can I give after being home and RUNNING OUT OF PAIN MEDS? Get out of bed and sit in chairs, make a small meal for yourself in the kitchen, go to the bathroom and repeat this cycle daily for at least 6 weeks. Got my staples out 3 days ago and I went home and tried to empty the dishwasher when I tore open about a 1/2" of my incision. Had to have it flushed and re-steri stripped again yesterday. Cannot sleep anymore due to incisional and severe low back pain. When you're in this kind of condition week after week, you can psychologically start to lose it. That's where I'm at. I'm actually going to a Master Reiki healer tomorrow because this last surgery has literally taken a toll on my soul. I pray for my fellow Crohns sufferers that you will be better off than how I am. If you have a lap surgery done, I think 2-3 weeks but otherwise a good 6-8 weeks before returning to sedentary. Good luck to everyone!
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