Posted 2/15/2014 4:47 PM (GMT -7)
Hi GVA. Is your second surgery to reconnect everything back up (meaning you have a functioning colon) or will you have a J-pouch? I'll give you my experience because it sounds somewhat similar to yours.
I went into the hospital on May 1, 2010 with extreme stomach pain. It turns out I had a sigmoid volvulous and the colon had twisted 540 degrees, effectively shutting it off. Two attempts to "unsrew" the colon by means of a colonoscopy failed, so the alternative was to cut out 18 inches of my sigmoid colon. The surgeon gave me a temporary ileo with a promise to reconnect everything in six weeks. She felt the temp ileo was needed to give the inflammation a chance to subside and to reduce the risk of some kind of internal infection developing. The six weeks got stretched out to 10 weeks because during my recuperation from the initial surgery, I developed pneumonia as a result of aspirating some material on the NG tube into my lungs and because I was pretty woefully underweight and, more importantly, anemic. So, I got instructions to bulk up, which I did, despite being told that it's hard to gain weight with an ileo. (As an aside, it turns out not to be too difficult if you eat 3500 or 4000 calories a day and drink two or three Ensures a day to boot).
Anyway, my reconnect was scheduled for July 20, 2010 and went off without a hitch. Personally, I felt it was an easier operation than the first one, mainly because there were no new incisions made and, instead of closing the ileo incision with stitches, she preferred to let it heal from the inside, feeling that it reduced the chances of infection and (I think) the chances of an abscess developing.
I had the procedure done around 7:30 in the morning and by that afternoon I was sitting in a chair. The gas kicked in after the pain meds wore off and I'll warn you, the gas can get pretty intense. Fortunately, I'm a walker, so starting around midnight, I walked the ward.....and walked.....and walked.....until about 4AM rolled around. I was able to pass gas at that time and the nurses and I quietly celebrated. Around 7AM, I had my first bowel movement, which was cause for another celebration. Unfortunately, I got to celebrate that bowel movement about 15 more times in the next 8 to 12 hours. That's how many times my bowels moved. My surgeon was reluctant to give me anything to stop it until a nurse at around 8 or 9 that night finally convinced her that, yes, my bowels were indeed awake and not shutting down any time soon.
I was discharged after about 4 days as I recall. Recuperation was pretty fast, unlike with the initial surgery. I was back in the gym doing light workouts (treadmill and leg exercises) within three weeks and another week allowed me to start upper body weights and actually running.
One thing I found interesting was a talk I had with one of the other surgeons, someone who had actually operated on me in 2004. He asked how I was doing and I mentioned I was almost afraid to eat anything for fear of springing a leak in my newly reconnected colon. He laughed and said the bigger likelihood of a leak came the first time I drank anything.
Anyway, the important thing to remember is to walk just as soon as you can. It helps with the gas and it helps speed up your recovery.