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Hi everyone, Boy it has been a LONG time since I have been here!!!! I come to you all now with another question. Has anyone here had a subtotal colectomy? I have had chronic constipation since i was a child (I'm 46 now) and am starting a transit study test tomorrow. My Dr. thinks I will need a colectomy as i have tried everything under the sun to help restore bowel function with no luck. Needless to say I am scared out of my mind! Thanks for you help, Jody
Hi Jody I had a colectomy three years ago, for recurring diverticulitis and peritonitis. I think we chatted about it back then.
I'm not sure what a "subtotal" colectomy would be - are you meaning hemicolectomy, or left colectomy, or ??? Mine was supposed to be a left colectomy (removal of the descending colon on my left side) but ended up to be removal of that plus the transverse colon as well, for a total of about 3-1/2 feet or so (average total length of the colon is around 5 feet). So, it wasn't a total colectomy, but I've never heard it called "subtotal" either.
I would encourage you to get a second, and even third, opinion on having a colectomy. For me it was a huge big deal in terms of the recovery. It took me a full year to feel like myself again, and it does permanently change the way your digestive system works. You (or at least I) can live without it, but differently. For example, I can't eat a huge salad for a meal, and I can't have salad at dinner, or I'll be in the bathroom all night long I still take stool softeners and fiber every single day. But, in my DR's opinion, it saved my life, so I'm glad I had it done.
Hi Linda, thank you so much for your reply. I do remember you and I talking about this a few years ago. I also had a colon resection at the same time you had yours. A subtotal colectomy is where they remove your entire large colon and attach the small intestine to the rectum. I have been diagnosed with colonic inertia or "paralized colon" and nothing, I mean nothing, helps me go to the bathroom anymore. So do you have a lot of diareaha now if you eat certain foods, or why do you still have to take stool softners? I am doing the transit study test right now,, the one where you swallow the pill with 24 little rings in it and then they take 3 rays... well my markers are all stuck in one place and wont move. I have never been more miserable in my life and i have 3 days to go yet of this test. I only had 8 inches of my sigmoid colon removed and i wish they would have taken the whole thing at that time. Are you still glad you did it? Thanks, jody
(((Jody))), strangely enough... I remember being told before the surgery that I should expect to always have diarrhea afterwards because I would not be reabsorbing as much water as I previously did. However, that has not turned out to be the case at all. I don't ever get diarrhea and still sometimes can be constipated. My DR has me take the stool softeners and fiber to try to avoid constipation, so I don't cause my repairs to fail.
The problem I have with salad (or lots of veggies in general) is that if I eat a large amount of something like that, it tends to pass through the little bit of colon I have rather quickly, so I end up having frequent bowel movements for hours afterwards.
In fact, in general, regardless of what I eat, I now have several smaller bowel movements per day rather than one larger one. I assume this is because I don't have a sigmoid colon for it to sit and collect in until there is enough for a single bowel movement.
My DD had that surgery when she was two days old. What has happened to her is that the end of the small bowel that was pulled through to the rectum has turned into a vertical "collecting structure." It doesn't have normal motility, and she tends to a bit of constipation, only going about every three days (although it is massive when she does go). We've tried Miralax with her to improve the transit time, but it didn't make any difference. She does have some abdominal pain (probably due to adhesions that they've found on subsequent surgeries) when that structure is full, and she has a bit of trouble with continence since some of the nerves were damaged in the process.
But for the most part she eats quite normally. I do try to push the yogurt to keep the probiotics going, and it seems to help with the constipation more than anything else. Fiber didn't help her much, just slowed things down even more.
I'm sure her system is different simply because she had the surgery when she was so young, but she is a normal weight and has developed a pattern that is normal for her...and like (((Linda))) , the surgery was necessary to save her life .
Good luck with the rest of the motility test. I had to do something similar about a year ago, and they told me that I'd had some nerve damage that slowed things down for me too. Fiber doesn't help that much, even if I do a lot of water with it. Like Linda, though, salads seem to be magic, particularly if I don't peel the tomatoes !
Audrey, Its so hard to watch our kids go through anything like this isnt it? Does she have slow motility of the small intestine too? Was she born with Hirshprungs? I swear I was born with Hirshprungs and they just havent figured it out yet! It will be really interesting to see the x-ray tomorrow and see if the rings are all in the same place. I just hope they do something for me FAST, because im about ready to rip my colon out myself. It's been 2 weeks since I've gone and this is just unbearable. Thank you both for your help and support it helps so much to have someone to talk to! jody
Her initial surgery was because of lack of oxygen at birth and too-early feeding with a formula that she turned out to be allergic to. So, no, she doesn't have Hirschsprung's, exactly...but the "collecting structure" I referred to doesn't seem to have much in the way of nerves there to move things along. When she was in the NICU, there was a baby there with Hirschsprung's and he had multiple surgeries, poor thing.
I wouldn't be surprised if you are dealing with that, but it's so hard to test for. You could do multiple biopsies, but if you missed the areas without enervation, it's a hard diagnosis to make. My DD does have slower transit through the small intestine, but we've believed it's her body's way of adapting and absorbing nutrients, which does not seem to be a problem for her.
I sure hope you get some answers...and relief...soon!