Hi everyone,

I just had my takedown surgery yesterday and now am officially bag free. Would anyone be able to share their experiences in initial recovery from this surgery? I'm trying to understand how long it may take to be able to start resuming my normal life again (work, working out, hiking, boxing etc)  I am an in-state 23 year old Male if that helps add some context. 

Any input would greatly appreciated!

- alex 

Original Post

More information would be greatly appreciated, what kind of surgery did you have? Open, laproscopic? 2 stage, 3? How healthy were you before surgery etc.

Recovery changes drastically between us all, some are much faster, others much longer. I was in a relatively good position before surgery health wise. My recovery from my 2 stage, open surgery went well. First surgery was Feb 6, reversal was mid May, I started back in construction on the second week in July. I saw my surgeon before I started back to work, just a regular check up to make sure everything was healed. They gave me the go ahead to start work so I did the next day, lightly for the first while. Otherwise it didn't take me long to get used to the pouch, certainly takes time getting use to the feeling of the pouch and feeling comfortable with holding a BM whilst working.

Good luck and take it easy at first.

Hi, Alex. You've come through two really tough, major surgeries and on your way to recovery. Everyone is different, some have more problems along the way, some recover fairly quickly, so take it slowly and know that every day could bring a new issue to address and overcome. My surgery was four years ago and it took me almost a year to really feel strong and resume normal activities. 

The two things that helped me was a plastic bidet bottle with nozzle for keeping the area clean, and to keep ahead of the inevitable Butt Burn. The first few days you won't feel much burn, you might not have any issues, but the increased and acidic frequency of BMs (sometimes 15 a day or more) will bring burning to your anal skin. You might also develop fissures from the frequency. Fissures will feel like you have sharp pieces of glass coming out. It's not unusual, but it's very painful, not trying to scare you, just want you to know what fissures feel like so you're not overwhelmed. Your doctor can give you a prescription for fissure cream. Also, a small sitz basin or the bidet bottle used with very warm water will help heal your skin and soothe the burning. Don't wipe with toilet paper. Use your bidet every time to rinse and clean the area, (carry it with you, or carry unscented baby wipes) then gently dab and pat dry. Apply Zincofax or Calmoseptine if necessary.

A good healthy diet from day one of non processed foods, such as fresh fish (try to avoid frozen and battered in a box) baked chicken, roasted zucchini, peeled, in the first few months, steamed spinach, tofu. I ate one cooked egg per day for the B12 and protein. Lots of protein because your tissues have been really injured and protein is important for healing those tissues. Lots of clear broths, maybe with chicken or soft vegetables (such as spinach) thrown in and simmered to help your hydration. Loss of your colon, which used to absorb and hold water, means you'll need to careful to avoid dehydration every day, for life.

You might need to use Metamucil or Imodium or psyllium to slow down and / or make BMs a bit more solid to prevent leakage. I used Metamucil/ Imodium for a few weeks and was able to stop and rely mainly on food choices. It took awhile but I now eat anything and everything, but I avoid nuts, barley, raw vegetables. Chew everything really well so your pouch receives pulverized food for easy exiting. Your pouch needs time to get used to its new life as your new "colon" so go easy on it and be patient. I hope everything goes well for you.

Congratulations Alex!  You may heal faster than I did, since you have youth on your side. 

I think the first thing you want to go with is walking...I walked 1/2 mile the day I came home, then a mile...adding a little at a time until I got up to three/four miles a day.   Then after my surgical follow-up I added some easy jogging/walking.  (But then, I ran with the ostomy too).   So you will probably get back to hiking over the course of a few weeks.  But do be prepared to deal with urgency issues while you are outside - at first I did my walking and running in a loop that never went more than 1/3 mile from my house, or on a treadmill at the gym.   Within a couple of months I was able to run 5+ miles again.  

We just had a thread about going back to weightlifting, go find it.  My surgeon was not against a return to lifting.  I did start very, very light (20% of my prior) with high repetitions, and worked back up slowly.  (I lifted light with the ostomy too).  

I was working from home within a week after coming home, but did not make it back to the actual office for several weeks.  Same pattern as between the other surgeries.  I have a desk job, but did need to be able to make the drive without having an accident.  Plus fatigue was an issue.  I would have loved a few more weeks at home - I had to come home and immediately nap for a while.  

Be super patient with your recovery.  Winterberry said it took a year - my surgeon said to expect to continue to make improvements for a full year.  

 

 

 

Thanks everyone for the helpful info! I had my surgeries in 3 stages, with over a year in between my colon removal and jpouch creation so I had plenty of time to fully recover.  I have very minimal scar tissue and no adhesions and the take down was successful and starting to feel better already. I'm hoping that all of these things work to my advantage with recovering.  Surgeon said 4 weeks I can start working out again so hoping I can resume as soon as then 

Hi Alex,

We have very similar stories, I am also a 23 year-old male and had over a year between colon removal and the j-pouch takedown. I am almost 5 months out of takedown surgery and doing pretty well. Back to work, working out, biking, running, skiing, ect. Tons of good advice on this site, I will try to add some suggestions based on my experience:

Take an active role in your recovery but be smart about it. Everyday I tried to do something to get my body moving and promote recovery. For you right now that's probably not much more than a walk around the block or some light stretching. I waited 6 weeks to get back in the gym and even longer before doing workouts explicitly working the core. After everything you've gone through there is no use in setting yourself back with a hernia because you tried too much too fast. Even now that I'm 5 months out I lift differently, I always aim for higher reps at lower weights and try not to strain near my maximum. I have no personal experience with boxing but I would be careful with that one for awhile.

Get serious about the foods you are putting in your body. Your body is fighting to recover every single day so the best thing you can do is give it an abundance of vitamins and nutrients to maximize that potential. This is certainly not easy to do but I have found that I feel 100x better when I ensure I am getting quality nutrition everyday. Everyone reacts to things differently, but I have found awesome effects from cutting out gluten and processed sugars and limiting dairy as much as possible.

Finally, and most importantly in my opinion, keep a healthy mindset. This disease sucks and what happens sucks. But I promise that you WILL get better. What feels impossible today will be a breeze next month, there is a whole life ahead us beyond that damned diseased colon! It certainly isn't easy and it isn't always fun but I have found that if you embrace a "fighter mentality" and approach your goals knowing that you will have to be more disciplined and focused than most people our age to achieve them, you will be back up and moving in no time. I struggle with these things everyday, so I am not trying to stand up here preaching, just hoping to pass along a mindset that has really helped me over the last 18 months. 

Feel free to reach out if you have any other additional questions. Wishing you a quick recovery and a lot more time out enjoying your life this year than doctor's appointments and hospital beds.

Cheers,

Marc

 

jpoucher21 posted:

Hi Alex,

We have very similar stories, I am also a 23 year-old male and had over a year between colon removal and the j-pouch takedown. I am almost 5 months out of takedown surgery and doing pretty well. Back to work, working out, biking, running, skiing, ect. Tons of good advice on this site, I will try to add some suggestions based on my experience:

Take an active role in your recovery but be smart about it. Everyday I tried to do something to get my body moving and promote recovery. For you right now that's probably not much more than a walk around the block or some light stretching. I waited 6 weeks to get back in the gym and even longer before doing workouts explicitly working the core. After everything you've gone through there is no use in setting yourself back with a hernia because you tried too much too fast. Even now that I'm 5 months out I lift differently, I always aim for higher reps at lower weights and try not to strain near my maximum. I have no personal experience with boxing but I would be careful with that one for awhile.

Get serious about the foods you are putting in your body. Your body is fighting to recover every single day so the best thing you can do is give it an abundance of vitamins and nutrients to maximize that potential. This is certainly not easy to do but I have found that I feel 100x better when I ensure I am getting quality nutrition everyday. Everyone reacts to things differently, but I have found awesome effects from cutting out gluten and processed sugars and limiting dairy as much as possible.

Finally, and most importantly in my opinion, keep a healthy mindset. This disease sucks and what happens sucks. But I promise that you WILL get better. What feels impossible today will be a breeze next month, there is a whole life ahead us beyond that damned diseased colon! It certainly isn't easy and it isn't always fun but I have found that if you embrace a "fighter mentality" and approach your goals knowing that you will have to be more disciplined and focused than most people our age to achieve them, you will be back up and moving in no time. I struggle with these things everyday, so I am not trying to stand up here preaching, just hoping to pass along a mindset that has really helped me over the last 18 months. 

Feel free to reach out if you have any other additional questions. Wishing you a quick recovery and a lot more time out enjoying your life this year than doctor's appointments and hospital beds.

Cheers,

Marc

 

Thanks for the great info Marc! Seems like we are very similar in everything weve been through and our activity levels.  I also follow that exact same mindset. Sometimes its tough to stick to but it has also helped me a ton. Glad to hear everythings been goin well for you  hope my recovery continues to go well!

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