I went through the same pain with Crohn's fistulas and put off surgery for 7 years, but I've got to tell you, life is so much better now! I truly wish I would have known how great I would feel, because I would have done it years earlier. Plus, the pouch is so easy, and nobody can tell that I have one.
The surgery I had was a proctocolectomy (they removed my colon and rectum), and it was done as an
open surgery (not laproscopic). The initial post surgery pain was intense, but I had a morphine pain pump, which became my best friend! LOL
I was only in the hospital for 4 days, and the incision was sore for a few weeks, but it wasn't so painful that a few pain pills didn't take care of it. I was out driving and grocery shopping two weeks after surgery, so it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. I took two months off work, just because I wanted to, not because I had to!
The best part was knowing the day after surgery that the disease was gone. It was the best feeling in the world! Plus, you will get your energy back and will get to feel like a 25 year old is supposed to feel like. I felt 80 before surgery, which I had when I was 35, and now I feel 25 again!
The other good part is no more fistulas, or medications, or even doctor visits (once you get through your initial surgery ones). You can be healthy again and get on with your life!
I hope that helped answer some of your questions. If you have any others, just ask. We're all here to help!
Dx'd Crohn's in '99 at age 28. Proctocolectomy and permanent ileostomy in '06.
Disease-free and medicine-free since surgery and very thankful to be healthy again.