Bowel cancer treatment and side effects

You can find lots of useful information about bowel cancer treatment on our website. You can also get information and support from our Ask the nurse service.

Lizsa

Recovering from low anterior resection

Hi all. Just thought I'd update that my surgery went well on Friday and they managed to do it without a stoma. My gosh I had not quite anticipated major surgery and the 1st day recovery was very rough. But I quickly improved. I am now day 3 post surgery and they want to send me home if my bloods come back OK. I am delighted to be able to go home, but I am also terrified. I can barely walk any distance or stand for long due to the pain. I can hardly eat anything and feel bloated and nausea. I'm a bit of a hypochondriac and worry I'll get some kind of complication at home! But I DO want to go home. I plan to day with my parents for a few days to properly rest and be looked after. I dont think I could cope with thr kids just yet even though I miss them dearly. Any advise on what to expect or what to ask before I'm discharged? Also, for those of you who didn't have a stoma, any advise on that first poo? I've passed wind so far so surgeon happy with that.
Thanks all :x::x:

Hhill

Hi @lisza. I had my op (same as yours) on Thursday last week and came home yesterday. Felt quite nervous about that but it is nice to be back in my own bed. I still feel tender and am eating small amounts of bland food just trying to build myself up gradually. I have managed to open my bowels - again I was nervous in case it hurt (but it didn’t). Certainly not like before the op but just relieved something is coming out the right way. My insides sound like a drain now so I know when things are moving! Hope you get out of hospital soon. Heather. :x::x:

Yorky77

@Lizsa Glad to hear your op has gone well. Yes, stay with parents and recover. I went home to my 3 year old and caught her cold straight away. It was also hard as she is full of energy and wants her mummy to be with her all the time. I get very stressed trying to balance my childcare and chemo recovery, so take the breaks from the kids when you can. As for poo I was farting for about 4 days and then managed a small poo. It was bit like waiting for the first poo after child birth. It did not hurt and was relief when it happened. Wishing you a speedy recovery 💐

Lizsa

Thanks@Yorky77 yes I remember waiting for that first poo after childbirth!! I was so worried! Pleased to hear it wasn't too bad! Yes managing small children when we are unwell is very hard I hope you're getting some support. I will def enjoy the rest at my parents. The children always want mummy to do everything! :x::x:

crispie

@Yorky77 @Lizsa I admire you two I am 55 and just started my chemo the thought of going through this with children to look after - total respect ✊ I know it’s a case of needs must, and I would have done the same 25 years ago, take any help offered to you and look after yourselves 😍

Lizsa

Hi @Hhill . So you are 1 day ahead of me. I didnt realise you.were having your op Thursday. I came home today. Still haven't opened my bowels, hopefully it'll happen tomorrow. Pleased to hear the experience of opening bowels was OK for you. How are you getting on with your recovery? It improves a lot each day doesn't it? But the pain when the painkillers start to wear off is still quite bad when moving. I also feel slight nausea a lot of the time. I can walk for about 5mins max and it hurts too much. My appetite came back a bit today and I managed to eat a bit more. Also having quite bland low fibre food. But wondering if I ought to have some fibre seeing as I haven't been for a poo yet.
Keep me posted on how you're doing :x::x:

Amanda Sandham

Glad you have had it done. A few things to think about going forward - it takes 6 to 8 weeks to get over the hospital stay and you may feel worse before you feel better, sometimes the implications of what you've been through hit later than you expect - like going to pieces once the emergency is over, remember that you have a great team working on your behalf and the are able to answer questions and put your mind at rest, other people telling you how strong you are is extremely annoying but you can just smile and change the subject. Wishing you well for the future :x::x:

hev

This forum is great for hearing everyone’s different experiences and we are all different and our C are also all different but we share that one thing in common- I am in my 6thweek after operation and def first few weeks I described as being hit by bus- I find each day I want walk further but please everyone listen to your body as we often try and do more than we should-for be simple thing such as reaching for my cuppa can cause discomfort
Very true what @Mark McC says your body is different now and needs heal
I can feel where resection done but I also find I have heavy feeling in groin area on right side which I’m told is normal after operation-anyone else had that heavy feeling?
Wishing everyone out there whether just diagnosed/ having treatment/ operation or recovery all the very best
:x:

Lizsa

@hev I get that heavy feeling when standing or walking for more than 5 minutes. It's like a heavy tight pulling feeling and pain in my lower abdomen. I related to feeling like I've been hit by a bus!

@Amanda Sandham, its so annoying when people say how brave and strong I am! I'm like "well I didnt have a choice"! I think it will catch up with me psychologically when the emergency is over.

Mapledog

Hi all
I was not allowed to leave hospital until I had pooped, when I did get home it hit me as how much I couldn’t do, yes staying with your parents is a really smart idea. I walked every day just a bit more each day which helped me to stand up straight, move any trapped wind about and stop me holding my stomach like it was going to fall off or something…..good luck with your leaving hospital

Lizsa

Thanks @Mapledog . I did a little walk yesterday and was also ended up hunched forward gripping my stomach!! Standing up straight is so hard when in pain! I'm trying to stay on top of the painkillers so I can walk more easily. Staying at my parents was definitely a good idea!
:x::x:

hev

@Amanda Sandham hey there
“You’re strong or you’re the strongest person I know “ I’ve had said to me so often in last 6/7 months- !!!! Same as I’ve said this so often to others in past( I
Won’t be saying it to anyone in the future)
I say exactly same - you have no choice when dealt the C blow but we do all have one thing in common in that we are all so very strong and deal with what’s ahead which is not known and so so hard but we can all do it and we cope/deal/endure/keep going the best we can.
Wishing everyone out there a good day :x:

sara42

@Lizsa I feel like your stalker but your posts and this thread has been very comforting and useful. Thank you to you all. I am now day 5 post op and hoping (and scared) to be leaving the hospital today. The thing I'm struggling most with are headaches. They appear when I'm up and walking around but they are migraine level. Once I've laid down again and slept they ease up, but start again once I'm sat or standing. I think they are also causing me nausea. The painkillers they are giving me dont seem to be helping much. Anyone else had this? Any tips? (Sorry for jumping on your thread!)

momentbymonent

@Lizsa so pleased to hear the surgery went well, but can totally relate to how big a shock post op was - especially days 1 and 2. I had open so was in for 7 days which was probably ok and I felt ok to be with kids at home (although they were 8 and 10 so had a good grasp on what was going on and not to jump on Mummy), although they were quite freaked out by how frail and hunched I was. My recovery speeded up significantly once I was home although I remained quite anxious about coming undone or getting a blockage.

I was allowed to leave hospital until I had had a poo and could eat solid-ish foods. Apparently my best friend had a WhatsApp group of my friends and was giving them daily updates on my poo sitch. First one freaked me out a bit and there was blood but it was ok. And probably weirdly less bad that first one post birth.... Good luck with recovery. You've done amazingly.

@sara42 so sorry to hear about the headaches. I didn't have this but have heard of others who have post GA and epidurals. Don't have any advice sorry but just sending love as it sounds rough. Hope they fade soon

Lizsa

@hev yes you're right there!

Hi @sara42 I'm pleased to hear my posts have been helpful and all the useful advice from the lovely people on here. We are in similar places in our journey so feel free to message me any time. I am day 7 now and recovering well at home. I have also heard about headaches post epidural. I'm no expert but as it happens when you sit and stand it makes me wonder if it's tk do with a job in blood pressure. I think that if they are migraine level a doctor needs to assess. Have you seen a doctor on the ward about it? Our bodies have been through major surgery and its not surprising to get some of these symptoms, but good to get it checked.

Thanks @momentbymonent. I'm definitely improving each day at home. It's so nice to see the improvement. Day 1 and 2 were just the worst right?!! :x::x:

Lizsa

Oh and another question. Anyone got any tips on the fragmin injection because I'm finding it so painful!!! I've been told I can do it in tummy or thigh and both hurt so bad!

momentbymonent

@Lizsa they were awful. I hallucinated that the burses were having a kids tea party in the room opposite with balloon and streamers and everything..

I did my fragmin in my thighs as couldn't bear to put anything near my tummy. No tips apart from making sure the needle went in 90 degrees...

Lizsa

That was prob the morphine @momentbymonent I didn't like the morphine at all. But it did help the pain.

Yorky77

@Lizsa I couldn’t inject in my stomach as it felt too weird. I always did a different thigh each night. I really had to psyche myself up each time as I am not a fan of injections. It at times left bruises. The only thing I can say is get a good chunk of upper thigh and go in at 45 degree angle. I then hopped around after as it did sting sometimes. Other times it was fine.

Hhill

Hi @Lizsa. I hope your post-op recovery is going well. I’m still eating a very plain diet. Going to the loo is still erratic from once a day to several times, but I guess it’s early days. Trying to move about regularly but I’m still quite tired and lethargic. Anyway, taking one day at a time. :x:

Lizsa

Ah @Yorky77 I hate the injections so much!!

Hi @Hhill. Pleased to hear your recovery is going OK. I ended up really constipated last week and got an anal fissure. So the colorectal nurse said to add fibre. My surgeon actually said I could eat what I like and never mentioned low fibre. But I was worried about irritating my bowel so started off bland and low fibre. Anyway it was just too painful with the fissure to pass the stools last Thursday so I started eating lots of prunes and some other fruit. Since then I've eaten whatever I fancy really except haven't had spicy yet. My appetite has returned so I'm earing fairly decent amounts (not as much as pre surgery though). I'm now finding I'm going to the toilet a lot of times a day but it's not loose stools, just softer and easier to pass so not hurting my bum anymore (which is a huge relief!). I have control 100%. Hopefully it'll all settle down soon.
I'm still getting pain from the surgery but it's improving each day. Like you I am also very tired and fatigued. Also trying a short walk each day but it does start to hurt and get quite uncomfortable after about 10mins :x::x: