Total colectomy with IRA

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 1/17/2011 4:49 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm happy to have found a recent thread, I have been looking for one for awhile and have only found old posts.

I am finally having my total colectomy for colonic inertia this Tuesday 1/18/11. The plan is to do an ileorectal anastomosis. I would love to hear from others who have had this surgery regarding what to expect during recovery and so forth. I had a subtotal colectomy, temporary colostomy, and colostomy take down in 2007 so I've been through something similar before. But, I don't know what life is like with NO colon; I just know life with one that doesn't work.

Can you return to a normal diet fairly quickly? My surgeon said I shouldn't have any dietary restrictions. I'm a little concerned because I've read a few posts here previously where people said they had to limit vegetables, fruit, and fiber. My diet consists of lots of nuts, whey protein shakes, meat, fish, poultry, veggies, a little fruit, plain yogurt and a little cheese. I don't eat most of the food people have said they can tolerate. Any new input will be appreciated. I'm sure everyone is different but I'm wondering if there are commonalities among those who've had this surgery.

My other concern is frequency of bowel movements. I've had to travel from Colorado to California for my surgery and the plan is to return (fly) home about 3 1/2 weeks after surgery. I'm hoping the frequency will be slowing down by then. My surgeon said I might be going about 8 times a day at first. Is that about what you all have experienced?

How soon have those of you who work returned to work? I bounced back quickly after my previous surgeries but want to return to work ASAP. (I've got a lot medical bills to pay off!) Did any of you walk a lot while in the hospital or during recovery at home? I walked a lot while in the hospital previously and when I got back home, I think that sped up recovery. I was even up walking within hours after my surgeries. That is my goal again this time.

Any and all replies are greatly appreciated!


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 213
   Posted 1/17/2011 3:28 PM (GMT 0)   
I had my total colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis on October 26, 2009. I had a complication three weeks later and had to have emergency surgery for infection where the anastomosis site leaked. It was a long recovery for me due to having two major surgeries within three weeks.

Once everything returned to "normal" I was going to the bathroom 4-6 times a day. I would say that 8-10 times a day was typical within first few months. When things are going good for me now I am going 3-6 times a day with complete control. However I have developed slow motility in my small intestine which is causing a lot of problems now.

As far as diet my doctor said I should be able to eat anything I wanted also.....don't do it! I can tell you that nuts, seeds, raw vegetables, especially lettuce does NOT digest through your small intestine and will come out the way it went in. Now some people still eat those things and have no problems. I just mainly choose to stick to a low residue diet due to the fear of obstructions since I have slow motility. I have already been recently hospitalized for a partial obstruction and ileus so you have to be careful.

As far was walking I walked a lot in the hospital and at home I think it helps I just had the unfortunate happen with the infection.

Good luck and remember everyone reacts differently to the surgery. Even though I have had complications I would do it again to get rid of a colon that did not function at all.


New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 1/17/2011 4:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the reply Jen. Do you know if the slow motility that has developed in your small intestine is related at all to the total colectomy?

It's good to know you would do it all again. It's no fun living with a colon that doesn't function at all. I've been living like that for over 3 1/2 years plus 30 years before that of chronic constipation.

My surgeon said I will feel a lot better after 3 months and that the small intestine should be adapting and absorbing more water by then.


Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 833
   Posted 1/21/2011 12:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Lesley,  I am one of those people your talking about that cant eat fruit or veggies, salad.  I stick to chick and turkey most of the time.  You will be eating a tiny bit before you leave the hospital.  Yes your bm's get less often as you get further out from surgery.  For me I have had problems ever since my total colectomy that most people dont have, many do really great.  I just have no luck and spent every month in the hospital last year, for just sometimes days or one time for 8 days.  I get illisus a lot, but for the last 2 months have not had a NG Tube in the hospital, for that I was happy cuz every other time I had them.
I have had my surgery sit connection had narrowed at both sides and had to have a dilation surgery.  So mondy I get scoped to see if things are good and to see if I have a problem further get to drink the crud on Sunday..yuck.
I wish you well on your surgery and recovery..
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