The reason that drs try to leave a few inches of your colon (thus a subtotal) is because even a small amount of your colon will help to controll your bms after your surgery. There are some people that have uncontrollable bms following surgery so if they can leave a little bit, then they do.
I understand your apprehension but I had all of my markers left (50 of them) after 250 hours (my dr does a different sitz marker test)and I was let to use my laxatives the whole time I was doing the test and some of them were still high in the small intestine. So I too was apprehensive about leaving some of my colon, but I've had great success so far and even if eventually they have to remove the other couple of inches, I know that things have worked well out very well for awhile.
As for questions to ask:
1) Will it be open or lap?
2) How long will it take?
3) How long will you be in the hospital?
4) Will he put in an NG tube? If so when? and for how long)
5) Does he use an epidural after surgery for pain control? What does he use?
6) Will you have any drainage tubes? For about how long?
7) What is he protocol for starting up the bowels? Does he let them start up on their own; does he give you something to start them like MOM, etc?
8) What will your diet be after surgery and for how long?
9) What are your restrictions after surgery and for how long?
10) What do you have to worry about after surgery; hernias?, blockages?, etc.
11)When can you go back to work?
I'm sure there are many more questions that others will list for you but I thought this is a good list to start with. Don't be afraid to ask all of these questions; I know it seems like a lot of them but this is a major surgery and it will take your body a very long time to heal. You have every right to know all of this information before you go into this surgery. I didn't know anything about my surgery before I went in and didn't really even know about this site which was probably a good thing because I might have been scared to death. But, I was determined to get the surgery, come home and for once follow the 'rules' and not clean and so forth so that I would be able to go back to work by 6 weeks and that determination paid off.
Know matter what the dr decides to do, total or subtotal, look at it as he is the professional and he knows at this point what is best for my body; if you aren't comfortable with it, go to someone else.
I truly wish you the very best and will continue to answer any more questions if I can. You are in my thoughts and prayers,
spleen/appendix/gall bladder-removed/endometriosis/complete hysterectomy at 29/sinus surgery/numerous allergies & asthma/chronic kidney stones/ pancreatitis 3x's/2 knee surgeries-now need replacement/bunion & 2 neuroma surgeries/shoulder surgery w/ pins-which also froze following surgery/severe adhesions & scar tissue-stomach to chest-liver to ribs-colon to pelvis/severe IBS w/ constipation/subtotal colectomy 7/08/ c difficile/many kidney surgeries 5/09 through next summer
There's AWAYS HOPE, there's a doctor out there that WILL help you and things WILL get better :):):):):)