I really want to restart my life and get back to my career but atm I don't know when my operation is going to be since I'm on a waiting list. I don't want to waste the prime years of my life and tbh I've been waiting very long for this op. Takedown is 8-12 weeks after the colectomy and so I'd like to work very soon after my last operation, so , based on the personal experiences of the various posters here, I'd like to know how soon I can possibly start working. 

 

Clearly recovery should be my prime objective but I don't want to be sitting at home for months after my operation like a couch potato is necessary good for a persons psyche.

Original Post
I was 19 when I had my 1st surgery (colectomy, pouch creation, loop ileostomy). I had spent a month in the hospital prior on TPN and IV steroids, and nothing was putting me right, do surgery it was.

I had 4 months between that and takedown. I'd say by takedown, I was feeling pretty good.

Takedown was in May 1991. I applied and was accepted to nursing school that summer. I started that program in September, so about another 3.5-4 months. I commuted to school, and had no issues acclimating.

I know that's not everyone's experience. Some people will tell you a year. Some even more. I *was* a young woman, otherwise healthy, which may have helped me, and I didn't have the Internet to scare me into what *might* go wrong. I just plundered along and it all worked out.

But realistically speaking I'd say there's a wide range, maybe 3 months to a year is the most common, for folks to feel better.

Also, you will and should continue to see things change as your pouch ages. I'd say even up to 5 years, you might experience changes.

My pouch is 24 years old, and she surprises me periodically by doing things I never thought possible (like constipation!)

I went back to work six weeks post-op. It was an open, single-stage procedure. I could have started a bit earlier, as long as no lifting was involved. My need to get it over with was why I opted for a single-stage procedure, though most surgeons won't offer that choice today.

I had my stage I of 2 in April 1992, at a time when there was no such thing as a laparoscopic colectomy. In those days you were cut open like suckling pig from bottom of the rib cage to just above the pubic region. I had a number of complications after step one. Although I had passed the bar exams for Connecticut and New York in 1991 and had already started practicing law, I was out of work for approximately 4 months. I had a number of complications after surgery, including a postsurgical ileus, infections, vacillating sodium and potassium levels which landed me in the emergency room, blockages which landed me in the emergency room, and prednisone withdrawal which included headaches that were dull but chronic. I was back at work very shortly after take down, and since 1992, I've worked full time as an attorney. I had 2 surgical revisions of the J pouch which were done in 1998 and 2000 as outpatient procedures.

More recently I had thyroid cancer surgery, resulting in a complete thyroidectomy as well as removal of a lymph node to which the cancer had metastasized. I had the surgery on a Tuesday and showed back up at the office on a Thursday, but the senior partner at my firm sent me home and told me come back on the following Monday. I bring this up because in comparison to the colectomy, the thyroidectomy was like squeezing a pimple.

The only wildcard is that you don't know what complications might result from surgery. Everyone responds differently and has different recovery times. Good luck.

After my j-pouch surgery I was ready to go back to work after 12 weeks of recovery.  I am a critical care RN and push stretchers every day so my surgeon made me wait an additional 4 weeks rather than sending me back at the usual 8 week post op period.  I did spend 2 weeks in the hospital post-op as I developed an ileus and needed a PICC line and TPN but once that was over I recovered quickly and was itching to get back in the saddle.  I am a year and a half after j-pouch and living life to the full.  Working full-time in an ER and feeling terrific.

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