Hi Nancy 1,
I have Crohns, and had my colon removed in '97. I finally bit the bullet and had the rectum removed last July.
I found it to be a tougher recovery than the colectomy. My healing has been slow, but is fairly typical of Crohn's patients. UC patients should heal faster, no doubt. I was off work for 10 weeks this time, but had a few complications that set me back a bit. 6-8 weeks off is about normal.
The thing that threw me about this surgery is that I went from being very well to feeling like crap again. The colectomy situation was the reverse, which I've decided I prefer. :)
My surgery involved two incisions, one in the belly, and the other in the backside. There may be surgeons doing it laproscopically ? Not sure on that one. Some leave the rectal incision open and pack it while healing, others close it, like my doc.
My main advice for you guys would be to ask lots of questions of your surgeon. I found out about stuff after the surgery, which can sometimes add to the stress of recovery. My surgeon is very good, but like many doctors, won't offer more than the basics unless asked. :)
All the best on the surgery, it'll be good to get it "behind" you, so to speak.