It has been almost two months since my bowel resection. My intentions were to record my thoughts post surgery to upload to the blog for further insight into recovery.. but being on a bunch of medications that leave you in a haze smashed those plans. So I will recall what I can.
My surgery was on May 18, 2016 the day before World IBD Day.. how fitting. The surgery was a Laparoscopic Ileocolic Resection. I had 10 cm of small and large bowel removed as well as my appendix the bowel was put back together in a side by side reconstruction using titanium ‘O’ staples.
The first 24 hours I had to stay in the bed with compression wraps on my legs and I doubt I could have moved even if I wanted to. I recall being in pain and feeling very thirsty. Unfortunately it was two days before I felt I had my pain under control which required a switch from Morphine to Dilaudid. The first week passed and recovery seemed to be progressing well, with the exception that I had not passed anything through my bowels.Toward the end of the first week I developed a fluid pocket in my lower pelvis that required a second smaller surgery to insert a drain as I was unable to pass urine easily at this point. This complication led to an extra week in hospital and was not easy to deal with emotionally. I was in the hospital for a total of 21 days. I was on pain medication for the majority of my stay and was ‘in and out of it’ with the exception of the last 3-4 days when I started to cut back the dosage amounts. I have an amazing support group where I was visited daily and brought delicious food which helped distract me from how lonely, scary, and boring hospital life can be. Despite the drugs and comfort of my friends and family I did have a couple days where the pain, set backs, and hospital environment left me completely depressed. With Crohn’s disease you have moments where you feel you might never be well, and if you are well, you never know when it can strike again, and these moments usually strike in the silence of your hospital room.
The day I was discharged I went home and laid on the couch in a huge duvet and spent most of the next two weeks in that spot. It wasn’t long before those comforts that I craved while in the hospital became boring and I wanted more. I had lost 13 pounds in the hospital, although I was eating well the weight was still taking time to come back and I felt very weak. I started by taking small walks around the block. Doing the stairs in the house was a 10 minute adventure the first time that tired me out for the rest of the day, but each day I was a bit stronger and could go a little farther. I was back at work on June 27th part-time for two weeks and am working full time.
Overall there is minimal pain and I have gained all the weight back. Sitting at a desk all day does leave me sore at the end of the day, but it will take a few weeks for my muscles to adapt again. Luckily I have been able to eat most foods with no problems and only slight discomfort at the surgery site. I learned in the hospital that I have built up anti-bodies to my Remicade. So I have started Humira and hope to have the same results but for a longer time. I lasted 3 years on Remicade and it has had be in clinical remission for most of that time. The chances of needing surgery again in my life is high which is scary, however, I am grateful for how far the medical field has come in treatment of my disease and I hope one day there will be a cure. Until then just more recovery until I am well enough to hit the road and go on another adventure.. a bit more fun though.