bowel section recovery, need some support!!

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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 12/2/2007 10:32 AM (GMT -7)   
I have been living with crohns for 11 years now, diagnosed when I was nine. I usually have great periods of remission where I am completely free from the disease. However, last May I had a terrible flare and have been fighting it since then until now. I had an awful summer full of pain, nausea, tests, and treatments, ultimately leading me to a surgery I had done last Wednesday. My question is if there is anyone out there who had the same type surgery and what it was like post surgery. I had a small bowel resection in which they took out about 9 cm (the terminal ileum) and had it reconnected. It was laparascopic assisted so I have 3 small incisions and one at my bikini line about 4 inches. Surgery went well, I am still in the hospital recovering. My concern is where I should be at in terms of pain and what not. I have pain at the incision sites but also have pain on the inside too. I also have diarrhea. Plus my stomach is very tender and tight and tense at one of the incisions. They say its common but I always worry that they are just trying to get me out of here quicker than I should. They say I can go on a regular diet but I do not think that is wise since I just had surgery a few days ago. I think it is best to let my intestines rest. From what I read most people are on clear liquids for days and here I am just 4 days after surgery and am already being offered a regular diet. Plus I read about all of these complications so I have this constant worry that something is going to pop or get messed up. Any similar experiences that you can share would be greatly appreciated!! I have never had surgery before so this was a big step for me. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 1986
   Posted 12/2/2007 10:56 AM (GMT -7)   
I've had a lot of surgeries, never had the laparoscopic like you, but many bowel resections. I was surprised when my surgeon put me on full foods a couple days after my last surgery (July 2007). For all my previous surgeries they started me on clear liquids, then full liquids, then soft foods until I felt I could tolerate anything, then all foods. There must be some new evidence out there saying go ahead and let them eat as long as things are moving (bowel movements).

Unfortunatley for me, I had a setback (probably due to a surgical infection) my bowels stopped working after I'd eaten and had to have an NG tube placed for a few days, and I had to start all over, so it wasn't a great experience for me.

I say if you trust your doctor, listen to him. You don't have to eat the full meal they bring you, you can pick at it, eat what you feel comfortable with.

As far as where you should be for pain, that's extremely personal and dependent on your overall health, the extent of the surgery, and your pain tolerance at this time. I've had post operative periods where I was off all pain meds in a few days, and some where I was still on them when I went home from the hospital. You do what works best for you. Remember, if you are in pain, it's harder to be active, and the more active you are the quicker you can go home ;0)

If you have one area that seems more sore, make sure you have your nurses and surgeon keep an eye on it. Usually if there's infection brewing it will also be red and swollen. It's possible to have one incision hurt more than the others depending on the location, how it was sewn back up, which incision they did more work through, etc.

Good luck on your recovery, keep us posted. I wish you a long, long remission.
Crohn's Disease   

gemini kiwi
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1136
   Posted 12/2/2007 11:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Here's wishing you a speedy recovery and to be home soon.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4527
   Posted 12/2/2007 3:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Have not had resection but wishing you all the best for a speedy recovery and I am glad you have it over before Xmas . I am sure others will be here to tell you there experience. lol gail

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 2527
   Posted 12/2/2007 3:51 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been Dx with CD for 20 years now.  I was Dx at age 8 and actually was in the hospital 2 days before Christmas that year and was in til February...that was my last year believeing in santa etc.  I was in remission for a year starting in Sept of 2005 then one day in 2006 in sept I awoke with D and all the pain.  My GI at the time didnt believe that I was flaring since I was having D and most of my flares in the more recent years were C only when I was Dx had I flared with D.  Even after tests proving I was flaring he decided to keep me on the same regiment I had  been on while in remission 1 pentasa a day (250mg) and remicade every 8 weeks.  prior to remission I was on Imuran, remicade everyy 6 weeks, and 16 of the 250 mg pentasa a day.   Oh yeah he placed me on entocort.  They would give me short spurts of pred and once off pred for a week or 2 the symptoms returned.  I had  ct enterography in Jan of 2007 which showed in more detail about my flare and he still insisted that I was "claiming" to have a flare.  One month later my ileum perforated.  I had emergency resection Feb 12 2007.  they put me on clears and before I had a BM they put me on a low residue diet (dumb residents).  My colon didnt wake up so on Feb 19 2007 I had to be opened up again (none of my surgeries in my life CD related or not have never been laproscopic).  I had a partial colectomy and temp ileostomy done.  Another moron of a resident got feces in my incision 2 times I asked that she flush the area with sterile saline to rid it of the feces she proceeded to dab the poo away with gauze and said that is fine it doesnt have to be flushed.  Well after I informed my doc about that and she was no longer allowed in my room and I ended up with a wound vac from February til may/june.  I had more compliactions with that surgery.
I had the vac as stated above, the stoma never healed right so I had feces leaking under my skin feeding an abscess so I had a pig tail drain in my belly too.  after 4 months they decided to do my reversal since the abscess was not going away.  I had the reversal june 20 2007. that Sx was to remove more of my colon, a little more of the small intestine, remove the abscess, there were many adhesions to cut through and they had to scrape my abd walls since it was all infected as well.  I was on 75mcg/hr Fentanyl patches from april til the end of August...well in late july I cut down to 50 mcg/hr and 2 weeks later I cut down to 25 mcg/hr then off 2 weeks after that. I also have dilaudid 4mg for breakthrough pain.  I started with the patches because the oxycontin was coming out whole...and I know it was not just the shell it is time release and in my ostomy bag you could read the words on the pill with no problem.  After my reversal I was in lots of pain since it was more complex than anticipated so I ended up on an epidural as well as the fentanyl.  then they slowly weaned me off of the epidural and onto the dilaudid.  They tried the oxy again but the same results occured. 
I now have an enterocutaneous fistula that I am going to need Sx to fix sine we have exhausted all other methods of trying to close it.  I have to have a few more tests before the Sx can be scheduled.  I have my colonoscopy set for december 20 and my surgeon is going to get back to me about a fistulagram date.
I hope that since the surgery i need will have to be next year in 08 I figure maybe ill have better luck than everything that has gone on this year.
hope you get better soon
Dx with Crohn's 1987, symptoms as early as 1984.
Temp iliostomy February 2007, reversed June 2007, Ovarian cysts, migraines, allergies (incl food allergies) , oral allergy syndrome (diff than true food allergies), Asthma, Gall Bladder removed 1999, Inguenal hernia 1987

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 532
   Posted 12/2/2007 11:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi! On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have had 3 open sm. bowel resections with absolutely no complications at all. 1st one I was perforated and was also much sicker. I have had D since before the first surgery. (40 yrs ago). Now in retrospect alot of it is probably diet related, but it is so hard to do an elimination diet. Incision lines usually always get redder and harder during the healing process, but you do need to watch for other signs like swelling fever and drainage. The doc will always wait for bowel sounds to return before starting cl liq, even ice chips sometimes. I would advise to progress very slowly, just so you dont overtax the healing gut, and nothing gas forming like soda that they try to get you to drink. I found gatorade to be the mildest thing for me.Walking is the best thing, and I wathched the food channel for hours to stimulate the bowel sounds, I was out of the hosp in four days. I also was getting ?toredol IM every 6 hrs around the clock for scheduled pain med and only required about 4 hits off the morphine pump post-op. That stuff can slow down your GI tract big time. Good luck and speedy recovery.
Diagnosed at age 19 with CD.
3 small bowel resections, 1 for perforation, 2 for strictures 

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 9448
   Posted 12/3/2007 10:07 AM (GMT -7)   
I had been on IV fluids for 6 weeks prior to my resection. And was still on IVs when they offered me the liquid diet after surgery. The fluids were pretty much just saline and glucose. Yep, salt and sugar. So what was my liquid diet? Jello that tasted like melted sugar and boullion that tasted like brine. Both of which made me naseous. I BEGGED and PLEADED for some plain ole scrambled eggs, no salt, no pepper, no seasoning of any kind, just plain ole scrambled eggs. I gotta tell you, I LOVE a good tender medium rare steak more than any food in the world - but those first scambled eggs tasted even better!!!! Lawdy but they were delicious!

Get up and get walking!!! Grab a pillow and hold it to your tummy for comfort but get up and get walking. That walking is THE best thing you can do for recovery!!! The second day after surgery I was so desperate to go home that I was walking one full city block three times a day!!! I was no speed demon, pushing my little ole IV pole w/one hand and hugging a pillow to my tummy w/the other but I was motivating and that was what counted!
Some people are like Slinkies... Not really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 12/3/2007 3:26 PM (GMT -7)   
I had a very similar surgery less than 3 months ago, and they had me eating 4 days into it too. I didn't eat much, just picked at it, but I followed the nurse's suggestion and ordered mashed potatoes. If they think you can eat, than go ahead and try, just don't push it. I was tired alot more during recovery than I thought I would be, but now I'm finally getting my energy back, and I definitly feel better. It was worth it.
diagnosed 11/06, solving the mystery of years of on/off abdominal pain. No more "it's just a virus". 33f with 2 boys, a lovable dog, and a wonderful husband. 150 mg Imuran, Vicodin for pain, trying 9 mg Entocort again

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 559
   Posted 12/3/2007 6:22 PM (GMT -7)   
I didn't have the laparoscopic surgery, just the old fashioned kind. Couldn't imagine eating regular so soon! I had to go on very overcooked white rice with an egg thrown in, that's all I could tolerate for almost two weeks. Oatmeal may be OK too. The idea was to keep the food soft, no spices. Eventually, some tuna (well mashed) mixed in with the rice, then some chicken, slowly back to a normal diet. Had lots of diarrhea during the recovery. It was definitely not a picnic.

The advice you've been given to start walking - definitely do it! That will help you more than anything.

best regards,
Crohn's since 1988
3 resections

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 12/3/2007 9:35 PM (GMT -7)   
I had a terminal ileum resection in 1999, but not the laparascopic kind. I had a stapled incision from belly button to pubes--and all I can tell you is that once they took me off the painkiller drip (Day 5 post-surgery), it hurt a lot. The worst thing was when my sister (who'd come to take care of me) kept making me laugh. They told me it would take four weeks to heal enough to feel relatively normal, and they were right. . . . They wouldn't let me have anything to eat or drink (no ice chips or anything) until they knew my digestive system was working (i.e., until I pooped)--after which they took me off the drip, gave me a standard-issue hospital meal (which I couldn't eat), and sent me home. Before the surgery, I'd been on a liquid diet for four weeks, and I found myself unable to eat anything post-surgery. I'd sort of forgotten how to eat. I'd sit around in bed, thinking for hours about what I might be able to eat, what seemed like a good idea. I did a little tapioca. I did a little plain bread and cheese. I did a little thin sliced turkey (even though I'm a vegetarian--the craving came and went). It took me a long, long time to eat normally. And I've had diarrhea virtually nonstop ever since. So I don't know what to tell you.

It's different for everybody, though, and maybe it will be easier for you. Warm baths help a lot, as they seem to do with everything. Sleeping propped up helps, too, at the beginning.
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