Janie, my surgeon tried doing laproscopic surgery with me but it turned into open surgery. I had too much scar tissue from another surgery, so lap didn't work. I have a scar from about 2 inches above my belly button to my pubic area. At first it was very red, but now it's really faded and I can't see part of it. I've been putting cocoa butter lotion on it and it really helps.
After my colectomy, I was off from work from August 8 until October 1, and then I went back to work part time for another 2 weeks. The recovery was difficult and long. The surgery is difficult and takes awhile for other parts of your body to start working together and taking on new roles. After my colectomy, my surgeon required me to walk and walk some more. Since I had colonic inertia (motility disorder) and constipation, my surgeon said that I need to walk as much as I can for the rest of my life. So I do. Also, my recovery was during the hottest months and walking outside in the Florida heat was overwelming. My husband drove me to the mall alot so that I could walk (with my pillow hugging my chest).
A colectomy is a major surgery and I know that you're scared. I think that we all are because there's not much literature about it and it changes your life. I would travel to Cleveland Clinic again if I had to ever have surgery again. Those doctors are wonderful! Dr. Wexner, my surgeon, heads a colorectal association group and is over 6,000 other colorectal surgeons. He has credentials to be able to perform surgeries in numerous countries, so he's good.
Actually, I didn't know much about Cleveland Clinic in the beginning. Two years ago, my gynocologist did a rectocele surgery on me and something happened that shouldn't have and afterwards I became constipated and it got worse from there. My gynocologist and health insurance director said that the best colorectal surgeon around was at Cleveland Clinic. Even though it's out of my insurance company's normal area and contracts, because it was a surgical error on their part (they didn't want me to sue them) they sent me to Cleveland Clinic for help and have paid for everything. I had to pay out of pocket for hotels and travel though, but hotels around the hospital have reduced rates for patients.
A blockage is a scare to me. Before surgery, the nurse told me that after surgery I would need to chew my food carefully forever. They suggest putting some food in your mouth, put your eating utensil down, chew, pick your utensil up and get more food, put utensil down, and chew some more.......... Otherwise, you could get a blockage and it may mean another surgery. I chew good. It could still happen, but I will try to prevent it as much as I can. I've spoken with my surgery about this, because frankly, I do not trust the emergency room or doctor's where I live for the surgery that I've had. Most of them don't even know what a colectomy is without me explaining it to them.. You'd never believe how many. Anyhow, my surgeon has told me that if I ever suspect that I have a blockage, to go to my hospital emergency room and have them medivac me immediately to Cleveland Clinic.
Weight? (Best part of my having the surgery)... Believe it or not, before surgery (10 months ago) I weighed 215 pounds and was a size 18. Now, I'm a size 4-6 and weigh 131 pounds and am loving being able to have a new wardrobe. I'm not starving, either. I've just changed most of my eating habits. No more chocolate (just small pieces of sugar free) or I'll have runny stools. No fried foods or red meats either. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables now. I eat lots of baked potatoes, rice, and pasta. And.... I eat lots of chicken, fish, and turkey. I love my bagels or oatmeal for breakfast, too. The nutritionist says that 6 small meals a day would be best after the surgery and that's what I've done. She's right! And, try to have some protein every meal. I'm healthier than I've ever been and I eat just as much as before.. My meals are just smaller and healthier than before, and more often. My husband and friends all say that I look wonderful and I feel so, too!! The first month after surgery, I only lost 10 pounds and that's with them taking 5 and a 1/2 feet of my colon taken out..
If you ever have any questions, please ask. I was terrified, but am very thankful now. Everyone's experience isn't alike, but maybe mine will help. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want.