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Thread: Husband surgery for stage 3 colon cancer

  1. #1

    Husband surgery for stage 3 colon cancer

    Hello, I am new to this forum and was seeking some advise. Beginning of July my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. He is on his 4th day post op from surgery. He had surgery Wednesday came home Friday. They removed 18 in of the sigmoid colon, everything went well with surgery and colostomy bag needed. We are really confused as to how and what is normal in what he is feeling which is causing him a lot of anxiety. He went into the surgery already feeling nauseated and queasy, the doctors blamed this on the cancer diagnosis even though he started feeling this a week or two before the diagnosis but it got much worse after. Now post op, he is still having a lot of nausea and queasiness, he has not thrown up. The surgeon doesn't know why he would be feeling this. The other things we are not sure of is how his bowels and digestive tract are suppose to be right now. His stomach actually seems to be very noisy, rumbling and it hurts like a stomach ache, not sure if this is a normal thing due to having his surgery, since he has been home he has had 2 bowel movements but it's diarrhea which I'm sure is normal. I'm just wondering if nausea and queasiness is normal for all of this? Doctor doesn't seem to think so. He will be starting chemo in 4-6 weeks and we are so afraid it will be so much worse once he starts and I'm sure that's why he's so anxious right now. Plus he has other medical issues going on which doesn't make matters any better. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. thank you

  2. #2
    Moderator Top User Fourlegsgood's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Fourth day post op from surgery is really really soon after the operation. I think I was in hospital for about 10 days before I came home.

    I guess you meant to say no colostomy bag if his bowel are working. I assume the hospital gave advice about what is best to eat in the days and weeks after the operation? Just bland stuff like white rice, no green veg, etc etc. I think I had a bland home made chicken broth at home early on, not much chicken in it though. And yes, diarrhea will be the norm for a while I'm afraid until things settle down and he can eat more normal foods, but still be cautious about green veg even weeks after.

    The bottom line (excuse the pun) is that he has had a major operation - I think I was under for 8 hours - and the insides will take quite a while to settle down after the trauma of the operation. After 4 days I was still on morphine in the hospital to control the pain and it was only about 7 days post operation that I came off that.

    And as for having nausea, I was actually throwing up even at the thought of food 4 days post op so I think your husband is doing really well. My stomach rumbled like thunder for about 12 months!

    As each day goes by though he should start to feel a little better and two weeks after you probably won't believe how much he has improved.

    Having said all that, do keep an eye on him and if things take a turn for the worse then telephone for emergency help rather than brave it out.

    Hope that helps.

    Nick

    PS, I forgot to say to have a look through this thread started by Barry who has also been through it.

    https://www.cancerforums.net/threads...olon-resection
    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.

  3. #3
    Thank you Nick, I appreciate your reply. Yes I meant that he did not need a colostomy bag. His doctor really didn't go into a lot of detail about diet. In hospital first day and a half he was only to be on all liquid, then Thursday afternoon he upped to normal diet although my husband didn't have an appetite. They sent him home because he was doing well, passing gas, having bowel movements (mainly all blood). He has only really eaten mild stuff since being home but again not eating a lot. Post op instructions are healthy diet, low fiber for several weeks and add fiber gradually. We are just worried that the queasiness he's feeling is something other than the surgery as he had it going into it but I don't know. Thank you for Barry's link that has great information.

    I also wanted to know if anyone knows if taking probiotics would be good for him right now?
    Last edited by worriedwife69; 07-28-2019 at 10:35 PM.

  4. #4
    Moderator Top User Doug K's Avatar
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    WW69,

    I think Nick said it well. Time, and that can be a very slow process. Too, anxiety can add to the symptoms he's feeling. We talk a lot in my colorectal support group about our "new normal" which is anything but normal. It is, becomes a new way of living life. So, keep a watch, I would monitor his body temperature closely, for signs of infection. The body has had severe trauma, that takes some adjusting to. I recall after being in the hospital for 4 or 5 days (maybe longer, I was there seven days), eating mashed potatoes... and how good they seemed to go down.

    Good luck, keep us informed, more info can be helpful.

    doug
    MyJourney:
    August 2004 Colonoscopy Clear
    June-July 2013 Abdominal Discomfort Upper Abdomen X-ray, UltraSound, CTScan all clear
    8.23.13 Diagnosed 5cm tumor on rectum wall: adenocarcinoma @age 66
    Aug-Sept2013 Met with Surgeon,Hematologist and Radiation oncologist
    Oct.-Nov.: Xeloda concurrent with radiation: 25 doses
    November CTScan, MRI and surgeon scoped: Tumor gone, scar tissue
    1.6.14 Surgery LAR: Rectum removed, sphincter remains: Pathology: no lymph node,
    Tumor downgraded from Possible T3 to T2
    Feb. - April Chemo:5 FU and Oxilaplatin:6 infusions over 14 weeks
    9.4.14 ColonoscopyClear,CT Clear
    Dec.14 Follow up BlWk +,CEA .9
    Mar.15Follow up BlWk +,CEA .6
    June.15 Follow up BlWk +,CEA .7
    Sept2015Followup BlWk + CEA .7 CTScanClear NED
    Dec2015SurgicalHerniaRepair
    Sept2016Followup BlWk + CEA .7 CTScanClear NED
    Sept-Oct2017Followup All clear NED
    Sept-Oct2018CTScan+Clear Bldwk+
    Mar2019Bldwk+NED
    Continue ColoRectal Support Group monthly

  5. #5
    Thank you Doug, I appreciate the response. Yes he's been eating soup and mashed potatoes just not much. He seemed to have a fairly good appetite on Saturday but then it decreased not sure if it's lack of having a bowel movement. It seems over the weekend he went from one extreme to the other, diarrhea in the hospital and now since he's been home he hasn't even really had a bowel movement. We are calling the doctor today, seems odd. In the hospital they were giving him a motility drug and senna but did not send him home with a prescription for that nor did they tell us to continue the senna so we did go get some but it seems odd to go from extreme to none.
    I think what concerns us the most is this extreme nausea that he has had which started before the diagnosis. It is so bad during the night and into a good portion of the day, later afternoon it seems to be a better and can function and do things, but he is so tired of taking all these nausea pills. He's worried something else is going on. We have already revisited the gastro and had an upper endoscopy to see if anything was going on in his stomach and that all came out good. His PCP doesn't really want to explore anything for at least a couple weeks into recovery. He did schedule an MRI for his head as my husband had a calcified brain tumor at the base of his neck (benign) that was removed in 2014, however he never had the nausea symptoms when he had that. He is so discouraged feeling like they will never figure it out and he's really worried about going into chemo already feeling like garbage, he actually said he didn't know if he can do chemo feeling this way. thank you

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Top User Baz10's Avatar
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    Jumping in which frankly one should really never do, yet maybe just maybe my personal experience can be of help.

    my experience post surgery was similar to your husband for two related reasons.
    Extraordinary stomach rumblings, gas and nausea, feeling nauseous but not actually vomiting, very uncomfortable lower stomach pain.

    what I simply cannot understand is why if as you say he was passing blood or bloody stools did the hospital discharge him. I’m incredulous.

    As both Nick and Doug have provided great advice on diet and you seem to be on the ball with food type intake the possibility of the bowel adjusting to its new role per se seems normal.
    However, if he has what I had where the bowel (colon) muscles start overworking (muscle spasm) this can provide all the symptoms he is experiencing.
    My case the emergency doc prescribed 5 mg of codeine to calm the muscles, 30 minutes after the cramps, pain, nausea vanished.
    Please don’t and I mean DO NOT attempt to self prescribe with cocodomol or similar over the counter meds which can contain 8% codeine, talk to his doctors and ask their advice.
    Hoping things improve.
    Barry
    Diagnosed stage 3 March 011
    Radical resection April 011
    Restaged 2b April 011.
    12/09 Colonoscopy clear but picked up hospital infection.
    Aorta & femoral arteries occluded.
    Clot buster drugs put me in ICU with internal bleeding. 9 blood units later they got it under control.
    Aortobifemoral surgery 5th May. yughh.
    PET scan indicates clear
    DEXA bone scan clear
    13/5 CT showed "unknown" but no concern from docs.
    Inguinal lymph nodes and severe groin pain.
    Ultrasound and MRI show no nasties. Pheww
    Groin pain and enlarged lymph nodes still there.
    October -still the same pains but under semi control.
    Additional chest CT scan ordered for 11th November prior to surgery.
    Sinus surgery done and dusted.
    July 2014 PSA at 5.10. 2months of antibiotics in case of UTI, jan 2015 PSA at 7.20, 23/08 now 8.2, current 8.1
    Prostate Cancer confirmed Gleason 3+Marginal 4.
    Active surveillance continues.
    PET CT Aug 2017 indicated lung nodule changes
    CT Guided biopsy 7/09
    November 1 Vats Wedge section pathology Glomulated previous infection
    no Cancer.

    Not all's rosy in the garden, but see following.
    Stop grumbling Baz, your still alive and kicking so far.
    Age and illness doesn't define who we are, but more what we are able to do.
    Motto
    Do what I love doing, when I can until I can't.
    and dodging bullets in the meanwhile, too many bullets at moment.

  7. #7
    Feel free to jump in as I appreciate any and all advise given. We were told it is normal for there to be blood in his stool, it did start mixing with stool and since Friday he has had very little to no blood (well from last stool which was Friday). The noisy rumbling stomach that you described you had has completely stopped, nothing, no bowel movement since Saturday (well one if you would even call it a bowel movement) that is why we are worried going from one extreme to the next. We called the doctors office and they said that can be quite normal after being on the narcotics they had him on in the hospital. We were told to start miralax which is all fine and dandy but when you are so nauseated and queasy how to eat or drink anything?

    I also wanted to ask and hopefully this isn't getting to personal but he said he feels like he doesn't have that urge, or sensation to bear down like it doesn't feel normal or right to try and go??? He said he doesn't know if it's fear that he will tear something. sorry for the if that is an inappropriate question. I hope that makes sense.
    Last edited by worriedwife69; 07-29-2019 at 11:51 PM.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Top User Baz10's Avatar
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    You may wish to ask his doctor why the nausea continues and ask whether a anti nausea medication could be prescribed such as Domperidone or similar.
    In parallel ask about using a milk shake type supplement specially formulated for those with a compromised eating disorder such a Fresubin.

    Other suggestion is possibly mashing bananas or liquidising them as they provide essential potassium.
    No problem in asking anything like this, after all we have all been in a similar situation.
    The one overriding factor is constipation is not recommended following a resection so again ask his doctors about increasing fibre intake or using a mild laxative.
    doubtful he will cause damage with as you say nearing down after a week.
    Bottom line (pun intended) is after a resection for some time it’s a complete learning curve as bowel surgery affects everyone differently and there is no panacea as we are all affected differently.
    Good luck and keep us posted
    Barry
    Diagnosed stage 3 March 011
    Radical resection April 011
    Restaged 2b April 011.
    12/09 Colonoscopy clear but picked up hospital infection.
    Aorta & femoral arteries occluded.
    Clot buster drugs put me in ICU with internal bleeding. 9 blood units later they got it under control.
    Aortobifemoral surgery 5th May. yughh.
    PET scan indicates clear
    DEXA bone scan clear
    13/5 CT showed "unknown" but no concern from docs.
    Inguinal lymph nodes and severe groin pain.
    Ultrasound and MRI show no nasties. Pheww
    Groin pain and enlarged lymph nodes still there.
    October -still the same pains but under semi control.
    Additional chest CT scan ordered for 11th November prior to surgery.
    Sinus surgery done and dusted.
    July 2014 PSA at 5.10. 2months of antibiotics in case of UTI, jan 2015 PSA at 7.20, 23/08 now 8.2, current 8.1
    Prostate Cancer confirmed Gleason 3+Marginal 4.
    Active surveillance continues.
    PET CT Aug 2017 indicated lung nodule changes
    CT Guided biopsy 7/09
    November 1 Vats Wedge section pathology Glomulated previous infection
    no Cancer.

    Not all's rosy in the garden, but see following.
    Stop grumbling Baz, your still alive and kicking so far.
    Age and illness doesn't define who we are, but more what we are able to do.
    Motto
    Do what I love doing, when I can until I can't.
    and dodging bullets in the meanwhile, too many bullets at moment.

  9. #9
    Thank you, he is very afraid of getting constipated. His nausea started about just a little over a week of his colon cancer diagnosis but it was very little, he had a couple short episodes over that time period so he really brushed it off. Then he got the cancer diagnosis and it gradually started getting worse over the next couple of weeks. That is when he first went to his PCP for the nausea. He brushed it off due to nerves of finding out the cancer diagnosis. They prescribed him lorazepam. The nausea increasingly got worse and we went to the ER twice, they gave phenergan and zofran. He went back to the gastrointerologist to see if there might be something else going on so they did an upper endoscopy the Friday before his surgery, everything came back good. He is suppose to go for a motility test but he couldn't do it before the surgery due to the nausea, he couldn't eat the required food. Now that the surgery is over, his PCP is placing this back into the gastros lap, apparently he has no clue as to why he would be nauseated. It has gotten so much worse where it is constantly waking him up at night where he just feels so sick. The surgeon has no idea why and again he knew he had it beforehand. He hasn't thrown up, dry heaved before but it's mostly just nausea with a queasy stomach. I haven't heard of those products I will look into them Thanks again

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Top User Baz10's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    5,426
    Just a thought,
    Has his PCP or Gastro considered the possibility of Ileus as a cause, reason his symptoms are all too familiar.
    Could be his bowel muscle contractions have slowed, this in itself is enough to cause extreme nausea.
    This lasted 3 weeks for myself.
    Barry
    Diagnosed stage 3 March 011
    Radical resection April 011
    Restaged 2b April 011.
    12/09 Colonoscopy clear but picked up hospital infection.
    Aorta & femoral arteries occluded.
    Clot buster drugs put me in ICU with internal bleeding. 9 blood units later they got it under control.
    Aortobifemoral surgery 5th May. yughh.
    PET scan indicates clear
    DEXA bone scan clear
    13/5 CT showed "unknown" but no concern from docs.
    Inguinal lymph nodes and severe groin pain.
    Ultrasound and MRI show no nasties. Pheww
    Groin pain and enlarged lymph nodes still there.
    October -still the same pains but under semi control.
    Additional chest CT scan ordered for 11th November prior to surgery.
    Sinus surgery done and dusted.
    July 2014 PSA at 5.10. 2months of antibiotics in case of UTI, jan 2015 PSA at 7.20, 23/08 now 8.2, current 8.1
    Prostate Cancer confirmed Gleason 3+Marginal 4.
    Active surveillance continues.
    PET CT Aug 2017 indicated lung nodule changes
    CT Guided biopsy 7/09
    November 1 Vats Wedge section pathology Glomulated previous infection
    no Cancer.

    Not all's rosy in the garden, but see following.
    Stop grumbling Baz, your still alive and kicking so far.
    Age and illness doesn't define who we are, but more what we are able to do.
    Motto
    Do what I love doing, when I can until I can't.
    and dodging bullets in the meanwhile, too many bullets at moment.

 

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