Bowel Surgery for localised Colon Cancer. Has anyone had this, what can we expect?

My husband is scheduled for bowel surgery this week for localised Colon cancer.

I'm just reaching out to anyone who has experienced this procedure & what, as his carer, can I expect after his operation.

  • Is it Keyhole? Is your husband generally fit and well?

    I was down for Keyhole but the tumour was more 'twisted around' when they went in so ended up being opened up fully. In terms of recovery, I have to say it was the hardest thing i've done. First week and a half I was on a cocktail of drugs and completely out of it. To be honest, after that I was more in control and on enough drugs to manage the pain. It took my another week or so to be able to stomach food and I was glad to get rid of the NG tube. Once that was out, it was much better although I picked up a kidney infection thing which set me back a few days.

    I think mine was worse due to the full open surgery to be honest. In terms of my bowel, once it has 'woke up' for me, it was best to east little and often, starting off very little and easting when necessary. I needed a lot of rest to aid recovery. I did also have to have a temporary stoma which took a couple of weeks to get used and I really didn't want one before I had surgery but to be honest, I soon got used to. Having had it reversed, I initially found it I almost 'missed' it but have now adapted to life without it and a slightly shorter bowel!

    Just speaking with my wife who was my carer afterwards and she says to expect 'a lot of time at the hospital' but that was down to the open surgery. Somebody bought me a bell to ring which my wife and kids soon hid :D  Once I was home my recovery accelerated. Easting every couple of hours just a small snack really helped build energy. Initially I borrowed a wheel chair for longer walks but then I started walking the dogs, getting further and further each time.

    Reading back, it sounds quite extreme, but as I say, that was down to the open surgery. If your husband doesn't need that, I expect he'll be out of hospital with a week, all things being equal. From there, eat small and often and get used to bowel movements again. As a carer, encourage this and small walks if possible. Whatever happens, don't rush or put any pressure on yourselves. Each case is different and age, lifestyle and general well being will have an impact.

    I'm now 2 years clear and 3 years from diagnosis, having survived chemo & radiotherapy, open surgery, more chemo, stoma reversal, and two transatlantic holidays (one with the kids!). I'd say mine was an extreme case in terms of recovery and I'd expect for a majority, it will be much easier and quicker. Always happy to chat if I can share any experience though.

  • I had keyhole surgery it took six plus hours never had any pain at any time during or after the operation , it takes it out of you but a couple of months you start to feel better mind you mine was longer operation than normal, the surgeons were brilliant 

  • Hi Geeker.

    Yes he is generally fit & healthy.

    He had a terps operation on his prostate in February after 7 years of problems, but it has been a complete success & he was back to his old self until this bombshell hit us . The surgeon is confident he get it all out plus several polyps. He is scheduled for keyhole surgery, fingers crossed

    They haven't said anything about chemo or radiotherapy yet.

    It's reassuring to hear of your recovery & we will be following your tips .

    We always cook everything from scratch. Pasta & bread all home made, so I'm hoping the post op diet will help get him back to full strength.

    It's a bit of a rollercoaster ATM.

  • Fingers crossed it'll be a quick recovery then. I think my expectations were a little high to start with but with the change to open surgery it was longer than I'd hoped. I'm impatient! I can't imagine how hard it must be for the 'carer' - I often feel I had the easier part, at least emotionally. Good luck for it all, and if I can answer any questions, I'd be happy to :)

  • Thank you Geeker.

    Will keep updated. Take care.

  • Hi Gordgrc.

    He is scheduled for keyhole also. And is impatient ! After his prostate operation he thought he could do more & ended up having to take it a lot easier than he thought. This time he has to be patient & do as he's told. It's encouraging to hear you had minimal pain as I know,from experience, it makes the recovery harder. I really don't want to see him in a lot of pain. Thank you, will keep you updated after his operation this Thursday.

  • Yeah i had nil pain , i was totally surprised, my shoulder ached because of the anaesthetic occasionally thats all. 

  • Hi . Update

     My husband had his op on Thursday morning. Had an epidural & Oxycodone for the pain. Didn't need a stoma at all. Today, all the tubes & catheter removed. The physio has had him up and walking. He is eating a bit, mostly liquid diet. He is in a fair bit of pain now that the epidural is wearing off . But considering it's only 24 hrs post op, he's doing really well. The consultant is happy with his progress.  We are waiting for the results of biopsies on his lymph nodes.

    Fingers crossed for no nasty surprises xxx

  • Fantastic news! Being up and about after 24 hours is great. Make sure he gets the pain relief he needs and take it very slowly on the diet. But all in all sounds very positive!