Bowel cancer treatment and side effects

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jan67

Surgery

I now need to make a decision about open or keyhole surgery.
My consultant can only do open surgery, so if I elect for keyhole I’ll need to go to the Christie. I’d like some advice from anyone who has had open or keyhole surgery for low rectal cancer (ie rectum and anus removed). How did you cope after surgery and which healed best?
Thank you 🙏

Liz Blakelands

@jan67 Hi I haven't had the type of surgery you are going to have but keyhole is always considered to be better than open surgery. With keyhole surgery less muscles and nerves are cut so recovery is a lot faster.

The Christie is a centre of excellency for bowel cancer treatment. If I ever had an option for treatment there I would take it.

I'm sure someone will be in touch who has been treatmed at Christie.

All the best
Liz :x::x:

jan67

Thank you 🙏 I really don’t want to have the surgery at all 🤣🤣 so your advice is invaluable to me and I think I’m going for the keyhole surgery at the Christie :x::x:

Lirio345

Hi @jan67, I just wanted to point out that if you are able to have keyhole surgery at the Christie it is very likely that you will be asked to consent to open surgery as well. Occasionally surgeons have to change their minds about the best way forward for an operation. I am only mentioning this so you are not caught out and in fact you can ask the surgeon about this possibility in advance. Take very good care, Kim :x::x:

aliturn

Yes @Lirio345, I've opted for keyhole as been told recovery can be quicker but have also had to consent to open surgery should the need arise.

Mark McC

Hi @jan67

I had keyhole in March 2021 for a LAR, but as @Lirio345 says I had to consent to open, in case things emerge once they get in there.

I have a 6 to 7 inch scar laterally across my pubic area (to actually get the tumour out) plus what I’d call ‘bullet hole’ scars dotted around. They are all pretty faint now.

I was up and walking about the next day and discharged after 4 days. I had no real pain, more aches which paracetamol ( and a couple of early shots of morphine ) managed.

I certainly didn’t fancy what one of the surgeons referred to as “the full zipper” that open surgery would have meant. Definitely think recovery was quicker keyhole.

Good luck to you whichever option you choose.

jan67

Thanks Mark, that’s really helpful.
Can I ask how you find the stoma? 🙏

Mark McC

Hi @jan67

I had the stoma for 8 months until my reversal last November. I certainly had challenges with changing it, getting it to fit, leaks, farty noises, rustling in bed and how to position it under clothing.

The stoma nurses were really helpful and I’m so lucky that my wife’s a nurse so was a huge help in changing it. I was incredibly self conscious of it for months, but for a lot of the time I was going through adjuvant chemo so wasn’t out much. After a while it does become second nature that it’s there. It did bleed a bit around the wound but my platelets were In the gutter cos of the chemo.

I was pleased to see the back of it, but there are then new challenges in getting your bowel back up and running after being asleep for so long.

Good luck

Quote from @jan67:
Thanks Mark, that’s really helpful.
Can I ask how you find the stoma? 🙏

jan67

Thanks Mark, unfortunately I can’t have a reversal, so I’ll have to learn to live with it! 🤣

Wegwe

@jan67 my surgery was different from yours, so I don’t think I can be of much help. Do you know how often your surgeon does the operation you will have?
To me, it sounds slightly unusual, a surgeon who only does open bowel surgery. It could be a coincidence that I have only heard of surgeons who are trained to do both, but with a surgeon who only does open surgery I think I would double check it’s something they do regularly.

Leaguefan

@jan67
FWIW
I started off with keyhole surgery but to get to the right part eventually, due to its location, the surgeon had to open me up.
Ok healing took a little longer but I now live a very full life with only a few changes to my toilet habits because of losing most of my rectum.
In the 18 months since surgery I have only had one “accident”.
I still get stomach ache but that actually helps me.
Hope this is of some help.

bettyb1987

Hi @jan67 i wish you the best of luck with your treatment and whatever route you decide. I had keyhole surgery in mid May and I found the recovery very doable. I also have a stoma (albeit temporary) and apart from a couple of hiccups at the beginning, I've found the right products and appliance for me with the help of my stoma nurse, and it's definitely doable too. Feel free to message me if you have any questions. I have an ileostomy.

Best of luck
:x::x::x:

jan67

Thank you, glad you’re managing ok :x::x:

jan67

Thanks for your reply, yes, he does keyhole surgery to and has a very good record and reputation but chooses only to do the op I need as open surgery. I think I’m going to try for keyhole at the Christie. Thanks for advice 👍

Quote from @Wegwe:
@jan67 my surgery was different from yours, so I don’t think I can be of much help. Do you know how often your surgeon does the operation you will have?
To me, it sounds slightly unusual, a surgeon who only does open bowel surgery. It could be a coincidence that I have only heard of surgeons who are trained to do both, but with a surgeon who only does open surgery I think I would double check it’s something they do regularly.
Quote from @Wegwe:
@jan67 my surgery was different from yours, so I don’t think I can be of much help. Do you know how often your surgeon does the operation you will have?
To me, it sounds slightly unusual, a surgeon who only does open bowel surgery. It could be a coincidence that I have only heard of surgeons who are trained to do both, but with a surgeon who only does open surgery I think I would double check it’s something they do regularly.

jan67

Thank you for sharing, I’m preparing myself mentally incase it has to be open surgery. I think I’ll opt for the Christie and keyhole and hope for the best 👍quote]Quote from @Leaguefan:
@jan67
FWIW
I started off with keyhole surgery but to get to the right part eventually, due to its location, the surgeon had to open me up.
Ok healing took a little longer but I now live a very full life with only a few changes to my toilet habits because of losing most of my rectum.
In the 18 months since surgery I have only had one “accident”.
I still get stomach ache but that actually helps me.
Hope this is of some help.[/quote]

skyetripper

Hi @jan67 . I recently had surgery for a blocked bowel resulting in a temporary stoma. The surgeon originally planned for laparoscopic surgery but they ended up doing ‘the full zipper’ as someone put it. Obviously I can’t compare the two and my recovery was plagued by ileus and a heart rhythm problem which meant for a two week stay in the hospital.

However, there’s no way of knowing whether the complications were caused by the open surgery 🤷‍♂️. As for the surgery itself, the scar has healed well and it’s now six weeks post op and I feel pretty good. I still would have preferred laparoscopic surgery, but the surgeon made it quite clear that changing to laparotomy was absolutely necessary.

Hope all goes well for you regardless of where and how the surgery is completed 👍🏻👍🏻

jan67

Thank you for sharing. Now the long wait for surgery 😳:x::x:

Peter Crowe

@jan67 Hi I had the same surgery in February this year with the removal of the Anal cannel as well. The surgeon was going to try keyhole surgery but I had too many adhesions from my previous 2 operations.
He opened me up down the scar that I had from my original Hartmans in the front and a new entry at the rear.
The operation was more complex than anticipated as instead of removing a lymph node he discovered new cancer and had to remove that and associated lymph nodes.
Recover was straight forward and I did not have a dressing on either scar to worry about.
I wish you the best possible outcome whichever way you go,

jan67

Thank you 🙏 Hope you’re recovering well