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Thread: Bowel re-training

  1. #1
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    Bowel re-training

    Just want to share my experiences, both successes and failures, and hope to get some comments to see how I am fairing with others out there.

    It has been two years since my temp ileostomy bag was removed and I had my recision. I had the bag for six months. For the first two, I could barely eat while recovering from a very invasive surgery. Toward the end of those two months, I had a craving for pickles and olives of any kind. Perhaps it was the vinegar that helped, but one day within a 12 hour period, I went from barely able to get a quarter of a sandwich down all day and having the darkest thoughts of my life to a ravenous pig. I just woke up after crying myself to sleep and went to the kitchen for juice. Eggs would be good, I thought. And in the middle of scrambling them, I realized it was the first time I had cooked anything in months (I love cooking). Milk would be good...and some toast, yeah. Felt rejuventated, so I showered, changed my bag, dressed and went out Christmas shopping. I picked up a large pizza (with everything) along the way and sat it in the front seat of my car. I would have a slice between trips to the next store. Finished it before I got home and the first thing I said to my wife when I got back was "What's for dinner?" This didn't stop until I forced myself to after my bag was removed months later. I may be wrong, but I owe it to the pickles to move my appetite.

    After the bag was removed, I had to be more careful, of course. I expected things to be kind of sloppy at first, and they were. I was put on a FODMAP diet and told to take probiotics. Things weren't great. I laid off the probiotics which seemed to inflame things. A little improvement, not much. Not recommending here that anyone ignore probiotics, which you will see below. The primary problem, which still persists, is that I could not fully evacuate. My stools were very dense, and it was painful effort to push out what I could. And, naturally, it always felt like I needed to go -- like always -- because I did. My ass was raw from 20 times a day. Also finally got hemmoroids.

    The glorious episode came with a strong stomach cramp. I hadn't had one in a very long time -- pre-op, even. The result was evacuating what I swear to have been 5-7 pounds. It was as painful as it was joyous. Maybe the closest I will understand giving birth. This happens every 3-6 weeks and I wish I knew how to induce it (tried beans for a little gas -- bad move). I really feel great for a couple of days afterwards.

    The doctor told me the density was lack of fiber and had me taking Metamucil. That does help. Gave some Anusol suppositories for the 'roids. Also helped. Prescribed Calmoseptine (over the counter) for my raging inferno of an ass. A godsend. So I got back to almost human. But I could not see going through all of that despite not having garlic and onions, so I ditched the FODMAP diet -- kinda. Basically, my doctor is treating me for IBS. I'm focusing on gluten now, but hard to get away from bread and pasta. Still not evacuating like I should (?) be - want to be.

    Something else that helped, I think, is my fondness for Crunch Raisin Bran mixed in with Greek vanilla yogurt. I try to have it at least every couple of days. Was told the probiotics in yogurt are good for digestion. You probably hear this, too. Been doing it for several months.

    But this is big....at least for me: I was googling around and ran across something called "kefir". Like liquid yogurt. But what interested me was that it was suppose to contain WAY more probiotics. So, I bought some. Was warned to ease into it, so I tried about a half cup for a few days. It is tasty and you will want to drink more, but I don't recommend it at first. Immediate improvement in my overall situation. But it is expensive -- $3-4 a quart -- to use regularly. I would definitely pay it! But, after reading more about it, IT TURNS OUT THAT IT'S SO FEAKIN' EASY AND CHEAP TO MAKE!. Lots of YouTube vids, but you only need to see one to get it. I haven't done this yet because obtaining the culture is the trickiest part. I will update.

    If you've had similar experiences, please share. Got tips? Need them.
    I remember how forums like these really helped me through some scary times. Still do, really. Just hoping to contribute in kind.

    First symptom: Blood in stool May 2015
    Diagnosis; Stage T3 as stigmoid junction June 2015
    Surgery October 2015
    Result: Temporary ileostomy bag, bladder complications (tumor had pressed against bladder)
    Treatment
    Capacetibine and daily radiation beginning Jan. 2016
    Radiation completed April 2016
    Stoma prolapsed, capacetabine temporarily halted for recision operation May 2016
    Capacetabine resumed June until end of July 2016
    House burned down August 3, 2016. After everything, this was just another tricky day.
    Colonoscopy October 2016 -- all clear.
    Complete reconstructon of home finished (gorgeous) Nov. 2017

  2. #2
    Moderator Top User Fourlegsgood's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
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    Thanks for sharing your post op experience. I agree it is not easy and although I didn’t have a temporary bag it took months and months for my bowel to settle down. Initially I couldn’t stray more than about 20 yds from a we but gradually thanks have come back to normal although I had half my bowel taken out and do rely on loperamide.

    For regular bowel movements if you are having a problem the. Diet is the first thing to look at but also regular exercise is very good for the bowel. Brisk walking say for 1/2 hr each day. A side effect is that it can dramatically increase the chances of the cancer not coming back.

    I am glad you like kefir. My sister in law swears by it but I must say I got no benefit at all when I tried it. Also I didn’t like the taste (it was home made) so stopped. I prefer the exercise and a normal balanced diet.

    Nick
    Age 1/2 way to 120 plus 1. Symptom of blood in stools May 2011. Colonoscopy June 2011 confirmed rectal cancer. CT scan June 2011 showed no spread to other organs. Anterior resection July 2011 plus 50% bowel removed due to thickening observed during operation. Biopsy confirmed stage 2 in rectum only. Completed 8 cycles of precautionary capecitabine (4600mg Xeloda). Returned to horse riding 6 weeks post op, jumping 2weeks later and first competition 2 weeks after that. July 2012 - CT scan clear. June 2014 - CT scan clear. December 2014 - Colonoscopy clear. July 2017 - 6 year CT scan clear.

 

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