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Not feeling like much of a Princess now ... Not feeling like much of a Princess now ...

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Unread 02-21-2003, 05:58 PM
Not feeling like much of a Princess now ...

Actually, I feel like a ... and am appreciating that "the waiting is the worst part".

The surgery is scheduled for March 27th at 7:30am (I wanted to be first!). They can't do it sooner because the colon is still all irritated and spasming... it's got to be settled down first.

This surgeon, it turns out, is chief of surgery at the castle 5 minutes from my house. He has a kind manner and is willing to answer questions but also has an attitude of self confidence (we want that in a surgeon!). He sprung a surprise rectal exam on me, but the good news was that he said my rectocele repair is holding up well and there is no rectal abscess or internal hemmorhoids to worry about.

He showed me my films from all the tests last year and assured me that I have no choice, it's operate now and have a chance of keeping the field clean and avoiding a colostomy, or operate later on an emergency basis and risk a colostomy (at best) or death from all the infection. He said 'later' could be anywhere from a few months to a couple of years, but probably not longer.

I'm having a left colectomy... they will remove a little over a foot of my colon, the part that goes down the left side and over to the sigmoid, including the diverticular area and the nasty corkscrew. Then they have to cut the transverse colon loose from its 'moorings' and bring the cut end down diagonally to attach it to the sigmoid. Even though this surgeon has a lot of experience with lap procedures, he said that because the area being worked on is pretty extensive, I'm not a candidate for a lap. Shucks! So there will be a vertical incision, probably breastbone to belly button.

The surgeon said adhesion barriers are not used in this procedure because of the big area involved and (according to him) much lower incidence of adhesions higher up in the abdomen than down in the pelvic area. He said he can't promise (of course) that I won't get them but he will do everything he can to avoid doing things that might cause them.

There is a 2 day prep involving that lovely Fleet Phospho Soda and a diet of clear liquids (oh well, been there, done that before) and lots and lots of antibiotics. The surgery is about 2 1/2 hours long. I'll have an NG tube for the first 24 hours after the surgery; a foley for 2 to 3 days (well, at least I've got a lot of experience with that ) and will be in the castle about 5 days or so, barring any complications (which I am trying not to think about). There will be about a zillion staples which will come out at 10 days post op, and the usual no heavy lifting restriction for a long time (I'm careful about that anyway after the investment I made in the A&P repairs).

The little ray of sunshine in all this is that as of about 2 months post op, I will once again be able to eat nuts, seeds, and basically anything else I want! Woo-hoo!

Oh, and I found out while I was there that because of all the Cipro and Flagyl I've taken for this latest outbreak, despite taking probiotics every day I now have thrush (although no sign of vaginal yeast infection). So he wrote a script for a diflucan to take tonight, and another one to take the day before the surgery.

I guess it went about as well as it could. I wish I could have found out that I didn't need the surgery after all, but it wasn't to be. I've just broken the news to DBF, who of course is scared and all "don't worry, I'll take care of things, my mom will help out" etc., etc.... yeah, well we'll see what happens when he sees me with that tube hanging out of my nose and a zipper up my belly.

Now I wish I could just get it over with.

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Unread 02-21-2003, 09:00 PM
Not feeling like much of a Princess now ...

(((((Linda)))))))) I'm so sorry you've got to face another surgery... and one that sounds just as extensive as the hyst I do admire your positive attitude And you sure are in the right place for support and info.

Hopefully, March 27th won't seem like it's too far away.
Unread 02-22-2003, 12:59 AM
pain management

Gee, all that and I forgot to ask my question... when we discussed pain management, the surgeon proposed giving me a slug of Fentanyl in Recovery, and then using injections of Toradol (yay!) combined with a PCA pump... when I told him that morphine doesn't touch the pain for me, he suggested we put Dilaudid in the pump. I've never used Dilaudid before. Is it more effective for pain relief than morphine? Morphine just makes me woozy and angry because it doesn't affect the pain.

He told me I could use Toradol for a maximum of 5 days, which is probably how long I'll be in the castle. He is hopeful that I can get off the narcotics by the time I go home, but there are no guarantees. He did mention that this surgery tends to be rather painful If I still need something at home, what are the options that are NOT constipating, other than toradol? Keeping in mind that I'm not a "cheap date" ?

For example, after my hyst, the first week at home I took 2 Vicodin ES every 3 hours plus 800mg ibuprofen every 12 hours, and that just dulled the pain. After that I switched to Darvocet which did almost nothing, even combined with the ibuprofen. Is there an oral pain med out there that is more effective than Vicodin and less constipating?

Any ideas ladies?

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Unread 02-22-2003, 01:27 AM
Not feeling like much of a Princess now ...

i just wanted to send you this huge and let you know i will be thinking of you as you undergo yet another surgery, you give so much support to everyone here that i just wanted to let you know we will all be here rooting for you hon.
Unread 02-22-2003, 03:59 AM
Not feeling like much of a Princess now ...


On one hand I'm sorry you have to have such an invasive surgery again....but on the other....Whooo hoooo!!!! I'm glad you got a date and just might be able to eat all those things you enjoy again!!!

I feel smart here for a change as I can help with the med questions!!'s pretty heavy duty. It will REALLY knock you out and be very much more potent than the morphine drip. I had it with my second surgery and even tho it really worked great on the pain, I asked to get off of it within 48 hours as it just made me Soooooo loopy that I couldn't even talk. After that is when I was given the Toradol thru the IV.

Toradol.....hmmmm what can I say...I LOVED IT. I was given Toradol with my surgery in April and ASKED for it with the surgery in NOV. It causes no drowseyness (sp)....didn't make me sick at all, Wasn't constipating, and let me function. They say your not supposed to be on it for more than five days after the IV therapy due to the damage it can cause your liver and Kidneys. I did some research on toradol after someone mentioned to me about the five day limit....and I had been on it for almost 6 months!!! ( but that's another post and maybe why my kidneys are acting up now?)

I can't think of any pain meds that didn't constipate me except the NSAID drugs. Naproxen Sodium perscription strength worked well and I was able to take two if I needed them. (still do at times) Ultracet might be an option but It didn't seem to last long.

I'll go check my basket....( yes a basket, I got so many pain pills instead of answers I had to start one a long time ago as I wouldn't take a lot of them) I'll remnind myself what I had and what they did and see if I can shed some more light sweetie...

huge 's Linda....

Unread 02-22-2003, 07:10 AM
Not feeling like much of a Princess now ...


I'm glad to hear that the appointment went well and that you have confidence in this doc. At the same time, I'm really so sorry to hear that you will have to go through this major surgery. It sounds like there are no good alternatives...

You seldom complain here, but you must be in agony much of the time. I don't know how you have managed to hang in there as long as you have.

Can't help you in the pain med department, but Dawn seems to have some good ideas. I truly hope your doc will be able to find some solutions that will bring relief without creating new bowel problems.

March 27th seems far away right now, but you know it will be here soon enough. Ahhh, the waiting game! Bet you didn't expect to be back in this situation again so soon.

We love you, Linda. Please lean on us as you approach March 27th. You've given so much to so many. Now it's our turn to support you ...

Unread 02-22-2003, 11:04 AM
Not feeling like much of a Princess now ...


I'm sooo glad you got a date for your surgery, as you said, the waiting is the worst part!

Hang in there and we'll be here to support you just like you have helped so many of us!

Unread 02-22-2003, 11:25 AM

I am so very sorry you need to have this surgery...but I am very pleased to hear what you have to say about your surgeon! He does sound amazing!!!!

Hun, we will all be supporting you...and hopefully that wil help with the 'waiting' part. You are such a special friend to all of us...and it's time we gave some of that back to you.

I wish I could snap my fingers and come visit you for a while. You some girly things like shopping...pass the time etc. Just remember to come here when you need us.

We Love you Linda....S
Unread 02-22-2003, 11:42 AM
Not feeling like much of a Princess now ...

Linda, it sounds like you're taking this all in stride. I admire that about you! I hope the waiting goes quickly and you'll be on the other side of March 27 with terrific results and a complete recovery.
Unread 02-22-2003, 12:01 PM
Not feeling like much of a Princess now ...


I love what Jude says about the shopping -- hasn't she learned about the Wal-Mart monster???

In all seriousness, though, I'm ing that this is your final stop on this journey. When we met this last year at the Berman and Berman show, you told me that this day might be coming, but I know you hoped for a long time that you could dodge this particular bullet. At least you'll have the confidence that this diverticulosis is over , once and for all!

I know that you and I have discussed this privately, but for the benefit of anyone else who might need this sort of surgery, I would like to share here that two of the people closest to me have had colectomies: my DD (who is now 7 1/2) had her entire colon removed when she was just two days old, and my father for colon cancer 12 years ago. In my father's case, they removed about the same amount of intestine as you're anticipating.

They both function completely normally now -- you look at my DD, and, aside from the scars on her belly, you would never have any clue externally that she has no large intestine at all! And my father seems to have no residual ill effects -- he was warned about some speeding up of the transit time and diarrhea-like symptoms, but that never materialized for him!

It's such good news, too, that you'd be getting rid of that "corkscrew" as that can only be troublesome in the future. And it is excellent news that no colostomy is necessary!

Dawn has given you some excellent advice on the pain med front: Dilaudid ought to stick around even in the face of that super-efficient liver of yours, at least for the first day or two! And, having had the abdominal incision, it's not horrible. Hopefully they will have you up and moving in the first 24 hours with your pain meds.

You know if I can I'll come up there for a couple of days, just say the word and I'll be checking the airfares. You've had this hanging over your head for so long now, it must be a relief to finally have that off-ramp in sight! I realize that the off-ramp will look a little closer to you once you've gone through the surgery itself (we'll keep reminding you of that princess training!). And you know you've got a world of support here -- your generosity to your sisters here guarantees that...


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