I had the takedown surgery! In this post, I tell you my tips for recovery (at very bottom) and how my hospital stay went. I’m writing this on my second full day home and feel pretty decent already :). Everything in bold tells how I am doing now too!
Last Sunday, I said goodbye to my loop stoma with a piece of toast and a fried egg.
I had surgery the following day, Monday, but first I participated in a research study studying whether a nerve block placed on the side the stoma is on decreases pain after the takedown surgery. I am subject 039! It’s been going on for 2 years and I am the 39th person to say yes…They need 100. I still do not know if I was given the placebo, a saline injection, or the real nerve block numbing injection.
The study staff sedated me for the study and then afterwards I barely remember getting strolled into the O.R.
Awaking from surgery with an abdominal incision is never something I enjoy, but I tried my best to focus on my breathing and got through it.
I was given Dilaudid through a “pain button” that I pushed every 10 minutes. I had my dosage increased the next day, Tuesday, to cover pain caused from (normal) internal swelling and was emotional. I did not want to go through with recovery or be in the hospital. By Wednesday, the pain medicine was making me too nauseous to do anything but sleep, so I took action and stopped pushing the pain button. I thankfully only had to take two Tylenol every 6 hours to deal with the (gas) discomfort since then. Even though all the staff offered me oxycodone every 3 hours (I accepted twice, one being for my ride home). During discharge I was prescribed Hydrocodone-Tylenol tablets and I take only one tablet before I sleep along with two Tylenol at 9am and 3pm.
Waiting for my bowels to wake-up is the worst part of recovery for me every time. I am anxious to when it’s going to happen and how it’s going to feel. More so, I had gas buildup on Tuesday and through most of Wednesday.
By Wednesday evening I had passed my first stool, bile liquid and then another one about two hours later. My doctor told me it was going to pickup now. I was in the bathroom about every two hours Wednesday night through Friday afternoon.
Food makes a big difference for the better! Wednesday evening I had a Popsicle and apple juice (clear liquids). Thursday morning I had the same thing (clear liquids), for lunch I had a pudding (full liquid), and for dinner I had cream of rice and strained chicken noodle soup (full liquids). Friday morning I got news I could go home if the mechanical soft, low fiber diet went well. I had a yogurt for breakfast and then my Dad showed up and I wanted to eat some mashed potatoes and a little cottage before we left. On Friday with each meal I drank a 8oz cup of juice with a serving of Metamucil and boy will it be your best friend! Ever since then I make sure to eat three small meals around 9am, 1pm, and 5pm. Following these meals, I drink a 12oz cup of juice or water mixed with 1 and half Tbs of Metamucil.
Metamucil helps bulk up the stool, it looks like “recovery diarrhea” and it helps get the gas out! Gas is the culprit for my discomfort, but it has lessened with each meal as the days go by in my recovery. And you are probably wondering if I can fart…I can pass gas sometimes without sitting on the toilet. Gas feels more rumbly in my system; it is a different pressure than a “I got to go crap” feeling.
More good news is that I don’t crap myself at night! Yes, I did in the hospital twice, but with wearing my depend it wasn’t even gross. Also while you’re in the hospital it is a confusing time, because everything feels new, but I swear the Metamucil helps you decipher what is what :).
Overall, I am so happy with how this week has gone. I now go to the bathroom closer to every 2-3 hours (like once when I wake-up, once after breakfast, once after lunch, once after dinner, and twice before bed time and once during the night– which my body wakes me up for, plus a couple more times when I feel like I should go).
And for those wondering about my incision, it is a bit bigger than the size of my loop stoma was but not much, about an inch and a half. It is a simple line, completely shut– no gaping hole in the middle like I imagined (I just have to slightly wash it daily and can only take showers and lift 10lbs for six weeks). I’m not sure how my surgeon got it to close so nicely. My three small staples get removed on Wednesday, Dec 18th at my follow-up appointment.
Tips: Patience. Baby Wipes and Calmoseptine Cream applied after every bathroom use (I don’t have butt burn!). Wear a Depend for your peace of mind in the beginning. Do not push, just move around to get things moving inside (I’m buying a stool called the “squatty potty”). Eat slow and small meals. Stop eating before 6pm (if you go to bed at 10 or 11 like I do). Eat meals roughly around the same time every day, so your digestive system knows when it will have to work. Take the pain medication that works for you and on a schedule. Stick to the diet prescribed to you (mine is mechanical soft, low fiber with caution to acidic foods). Give yourself time to heal and breathe through the trying times of learning your new body. Stay hydrated.