Recovery From Reattachment Surgery After Colon Cancer

Again I came to in a fog from the second operation.  However, this time I knew what I should expect my condition to be.  Artificial support consisted of
    o IV for nourishment, hydration, pain medication and other meds
    o catheter for urine drainage
    o that's it!

Just like the first time, the IV was controlled by a pump that regulated the speed of the various drips.  It also provided a "happy button" for the patient to add a shot of morphine at any time up to every 10 minutes as required for pain.

The catheter was a tube that led to a plastic bag and was gravity-operated.

I learned that the colon had been reattached to the rectum, the colostomy had been closed, and a port had been implanted for later chemotherapy.  The operation had been a success and was completed in less than two hours.

Basic longer term directions to me were to do everything possible to regain my strength so that I could begin chemotherapy.  Immediate directions were to pass gas through the new attachment, then loose material, and finally solid formed material.

The catheter was very quickly removed and the urinary system immediately returned to normal.

I was allowed nothing by mouth for a short time after the surgery.  The IV supplied nourishment, hydration, and medication.  In quick steps, a clear liquid diet, full liquid diet and finally a normal diet were introduced and the IV was removed.

The day after the operation I was up and walking.  From that day on I was up walking every day.  The incentive for activity was to get the bowel working again.  I don't remember the day, I think it was three days after the surgery, but the time was 3:58p.  I felt an urge and made a noise from a place that had missed that action for more than three months.  I called my local angel with a report of the report and the word went out far and wide.

Now it became necessary to get food in the stomach to exercise the rest of the function.  A normal diet came fairly soon and before I left the hospital I had passed unformed, loose stool and six days after my return home my #1 solid formed #2 occurred.  Although I do have a picture, I decided to spare you that thrill.  Initial "formed" stool had an interesting cross section, somewhat like Saturn, a circle with two horns.  Eventually the cross section became more oval or circular.  Interesting stuff, huh?

I had a thick protective covering over the entry wound and the colostomy closure immediately after the operation.  When the surgeon came in the day after, that covering was removed and not replaced.  The next day the entry wound was drying up nicely, but there was significant drainage from the closure.  It was necessary to keep gauze and a bandage on that wound.

I was released from hospital on the seventh day.  By that time I was on a regular diet, I was passing gas and unformed loose stool, the entry wound was dry and fine but the closure was draining, I had found a way to wiggle myself out of bed, but I was using regular pain relief.  My son Stuart had arrived.  He brought me home from the hospital and provided the help required until I was able to drive and take over again.

Stitches and staples were removed ten days after the operation.  The drainage from the closure was due to an infection.  The surgeon reopened one side of the wound, cleaned it out and packed it with gauze.  Nurses taught me how to maintain the packing and that was an uncomfortable chore.  It only lasted a few days though.  Fresh flesh filled in the hole at a remarkable rate!

Since then I have continued to regain strength and flexibility.  I'd like to think that improvement is still going on, but it's hard to distinguish between leftover operation issues and new chemotherapy side effects issues.  I guess I'll know if I've recovered from the second operation when the chemo is done.  Chemotherapy started just 31 days after the reattachment surgery.